Break Beats in the Bronx: Rediscovering Hip-Hop's Early Years

Joseph C. Ewoodzie
Hip-hop is now America’s most popular music genre, supplanting rock. In a discussion of his new book, Davidson College sociologist Joseph Ewoodzie examines its roots, going back to hip-hop’s creation by Clive Campbell – DJ Kool Herc – at a birthday party in New York’s West Bronx in 1973.
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
6:30 pm

What Clive Campbell¬soon to be known as DJ Kool Herc¬started at a sister’s birthday party in New York’s West Bronx in 1973 is now the most popular music genre in America. Hip-hop last year moved past rock in “total consumption,” including album sales and streaming, according to Nielsen analysis.

In a discussion of his new book Break Beats in the Bronx, sociologist Joseph Ewoodzie looks at an art form born of the culture of young, urban, working-class African Americans and rooted in African oral tradition. The likes of Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa also emerged as pioneers and, as hip-hop grew more popular, it was commercialized and appropriated by the mainstream music industry.

Ewoodzie is an assistant professor in the sociology department at Davidson College.