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On 11 August, 1973, the ticket price for the first ever hip hop gig would have set you back the princely sum of 50 cents (25 for all the ladies). In was then, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, between the hours of 9pm and 4am, that DJ Kool Herc played his very first gig, and where turntablism took its very first shaky steps.
Adopting the two decks and a mixer set-up style from the downtown Disco scene, Herc played his first party. The location was the common room in the tower block his family lived in, and the occasion was a ‘back to school jam’ fundraiser for his little sister. Rather than the Disco of the day, Herc dug deeper into the hard Soul of James Brown and the funkier side of Rock of bands like Babe Ruth, which would go on to be the backbone taste of early B-Boy get-togethers.
It’s at parties like these that he began to hone his famous ‘Merry-Go-Round’ technique - snatching and doubling the hypest sections of these beats for maximum carnage by using two copies of the same record.
Every genre has its creation myth - this is the Genesis of turntablism: The hip hop way of DJing.
Check out “The first hero of the hip hop groove” here as he takes his speakers for a spin around the Bronx…