Afrika Bambaataa

Sean Wilson 2004, Afrika Bambaataa, Tokyo

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In 1982, an artist by the name of Afrika Bambaataa created a song by the name of Planet Rock. Soul Sonic Force is the name of the group featured in this song which consisted of Afrika Bambaataa, Jazzy Jay, Mr. Biggs, G.L.O.B.E., Whiz Kid and Pow Wow. This is a classic hip-hop song, mainly created for break dancing. This song is very inspirational to the hip hop culture as well as this specific style of dancing. I really like this song because of the message it gives to its listeners, the connections it gives trough African culture, and the positive influence it gave on the hip-hop culture.

Afrika Bambaataa is known as the godfather of hip-hop. He formed the group called Zulu Nation, which was his crew originally called “The Organization.” At first the group consisted of a break dance crew, but eventually there were emcees, DJs, and graffiti artists included.

Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force. Download now

Image by jakelevine via Flickr

This song is more than just something to dance to. This song was for people to come together and have fun and create peace. In this video, there were many people of different races break dancing together. This shows how this song helped focus on dance and not color of skin. All these different people having fun dancing, break dancing, and battling, show a sense of diversity. Another reason this song is so diverse is because of the clothing the artists wear. They wear African clothing and colors and Native American feathers. This shows the connection with their African culture and understanding of Native American history.

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Classic Hip Hop Albums – A Tribe Called Quest

A Tribe Called Quest

“People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm”

People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of ...

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This album is the debut album from A Tribe Called Quest.  The album hit shelves in 1990, at the beginning of the golden age of hip hop.  The album shows a variety of different topics in a humorous way.  This being the first time the group hit the scene left them able to experiment on different styles and bring a new form of hip hop to the scene.  The album covers many different samples from different genres of the past.  This shows the connection the group has with the past as well as an appreciation.  The singles from this album include; “Can I Kick It?” “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo” “Bonita Applebum”.  This classic album earned 5 mics in The Source in 1990, and was added to The Source’s 100 Best Rap Albums.

“The Low End Theory”

Cover of

Cover of The Low End Theory

This album was the groups second album released in 1991.  The album shows a strong connection between jazz.  The album shows a distinct connection between the two different forms of Black music, hip hop and jazz.  The album lyrically shows a strong social conscience over the smooth mellow sound of jazz.  Jarobi left the group and Phife had discovered he had diabetes, so this led the group to step up their game and make these intellectual topics to the tracks.  The album featured these popular singles; “Check The Rhime” “Jazz (We’ve Got)” and “Scenerio.”  Rolling Stone listed it as #154 under The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

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A Tribe Called Quest

Who is A Tribe Called Quest?

The Lost Tribes (album)

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This hip hop group titled A Tribe Called Quest consists of 4 members; Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi.  This group used their individuality and creativity to make hip hop songs and lyrics.  This group formed in their high school days in their hometown of New York in the 80’s and gained their popularity in the early 90’s.

Q-Tip and Phife Dawg were childhood friends and met Jarobi and Ali in high school.  Q-Tip and Phife Dawg are the MC’s who perform the lyrics, while Ali Shaheed DJ’s.  Jarobi was considered in the group because he was always with them.  He goes with them on tour and sings along with the group and is responsible for the voices in the background of some their songs, but he was more of a close friend to the group.

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The Golden Age of Hip-Hop

The Golden Age

Hip hop in The Golden Ages is by far the best period in time for hip hop.  Most people would agree with me and say that the 90’s was the peak of hip hop.  Hip hop was truly diverse in this point of time.  You had hip hop music covering things from gangster rap to party music and many other content basis for hip hop emerged during this time.  There were artists from all over the U.S. making hit songs.  Southern artists, west coast artists, and east coast artists all had an impact on the culture.

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Hip-Hop & Sampling


In music, the term sampling is the act of taking a portion, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a different sound recording of a song or piece.  This can be done from a machine called a sampler.

In the early 90’s, sampling was essential to the culture of hip hop.  If you listen to hip hop tracks from this time period, most beats are sampled from old school tracks.  You might hear songs from many different genres in different songs or even combined in one track.

Some tracks are played exactly how it was made in the past, and some are cut and pasted from pieces or parts of the old school track’s instrumental.


One group who essentially and consistently included jazz in their songs was – A Tribe Called Quest.

Here’s a song from their debut album The Low End Theory.  The song is called Jazz (We’ve Got).

  • The drums in this track is actually a sample from Five Stairsteps – Don’t Change Your Love – (1968).
  • The Jazz track that is sampled in this song is Lucky Thompson – Green Dolphin Street – (1972).

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Hip Hop – Old School vs. New School

A Change in Hip-Hop

Mainstream Hip Hop music has changed over time. Mainstream refers to the music, songs and artists that are normally played on the radio and or television.

Some might say that hip-hop changed for the better, and some (like me) might disagree.  Everyone has their own opinion, but no one can argue against the fact that it has definitely changed.

It not only has changed, but constantly changes as time goes by.  A new style, vibe, feel, and sound to hip-hop comes along almost every decade.  The changes might not necessarily be the most obvious, but comparing old to new always gives one a better understanding.

The messages and meanings in the present hip-hop industry are also among the certain aspects that may differ from hip-hop from the past.

In the present mainstream hip-hop music that’s being played on the radio and music television channels, some artists aim for more of a party/club type song to dance to.  These type of songs are popular in today’s generation of hip-hop.  They aren’t necessarily popular because of the lyrics, but more so the some-what fast paced tempo and the dance style they display.

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Introducing Old-School Music

What is music?

The official definition of music is the art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

What is Old-School Music?

Now that you have the understanding of what music is, let’s talk about Old-School music. There isn’t an official definition for old school music but this term refers to the music from the past. It can range anywhere before the past decade. Old-School music might also relate to the type of style one organizes, performs, and plays a specific genre of music. Even instruments can be used in a way that was very popular in the music industry in the past giving it an Old-School sound.

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