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A documentary that reveals how a forgotten record by the Incredible Bongo Band helped cement the foundation of hip hop when DJ Herc extended its percussion by playing them back to back, creating an anthem on the streets of the Bronx.
Hip-hop was my life growing up, as it was the life of so many around me. My earliest memories were Run DMC, Kurtis Blow and the Beastie Boys. In fact, I remember trying to "scratch" on my mom's record player because of hip-hop. So to see this four part tribute to its origins was just magnificent.
The team that put this together went back to the genesis: Bronx, New York. They started with the underground parties of Kool Herc and progressed through the timeline from there stopping at the contributions of Afrika Bambata, The Furious Five, The Sugarhill Gang, Run DMC and others.
What cannot be overlooked is the contribution of Grandmaster Flash. What he did for hip-hop was nothing short of wizardry. He was a scientist when it came to mixing and spinning two turntables. I was floored to hear about how he started and what he started with. It was amazing to hear about a music style that blossomed in the 80's but can really be traced to a time period well before that.
I think anyone that has a serious interest in hip-hop should watch this documentary. It was somewhat nostalgic for me because many of the artists mentioned and interviewed were artists I enjoyed as a kid. I was slightly disappointed that some--what I consider pioneers--were not mentioned. Those like KRS One, Fat Boys, Doug E Fresh, Whodini, Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick and more. I also would have liked to see hip-hop's first entry into movies as I remember Krush Groove, Breakin' and Beat Street.
Even with those absences I was impressed. There's only so much you can cover anyway and I know they tried to hit the highlights. It is still a seminal work that has paved the way for even broader endeavors. This was an essential lesson in hip-hop 101 that has no substitute at this time.
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