A journey through the ultimate breaks and beats that formed the early years of Hip Hop
featuring artists like
Bob James • Fred Wesley • Cymande • The New Birth • Barrabas • James Brown • Curtis Mayfield • Rufus Thomas
about this playlist
Taking a trip back to 1970’s New York, the history of the early years of Hip Hop are well recorded but not the history of the collectors and record dealers that brought us the music.
The history of the Rap part of Hip Hop can be traced back through the radio jocks, Soul and Jazz artists and in generally the culture of African American use of wordplay in the street culture, but I want to introduce you to the breakbeat, this is really where the culture really started.
The breakbeat or break is the portion of the record where the percussion or drum solo kicks in, the early DJ’s at the block party’s realised it was at this point the dancers would get more excited, before even the idea of Hip Hop as a culture, dancers were pulling off complicated moves similar to what would later be regarded as breakdance and as ever it was the DJ’s job to musically give them what they wanted, so these breaks would be repeated using two turntables, instead of Grandmaster Flash, it’s the Hoof on the ones and twos, well kind of.
The DJ’s needed the records that had them special breaks and the sound systems would compete with each other to find the best records first and keep secret what they had and where they got it from for as long as they could to make their block parties the best.
So the Breakdancers later B Boys, DJs and record producers would hunt down early rare funk, rock and soul songs that for some had long been forgotten and probably would have been if it wasn’t for three record labels and the work by the legendary Lenny ‘Godfather of the breaks’ Roberts and Louis ‘Breakbeat Lou’ Flores.
Here are the records on these seminal releases, the list won’t be updated as this is the history, it can’t be rewritten.