While Hip-Hop’s ‘First-Family’ celebrated 36 years of uniting people globally last month, the culture they established, Hip-Hop, also observed its 35th anniversary. Although the Universal Zulu Nation (UZN) was established by Afrika Bambaataa in the Bronx during November of 1973, its message of “Peace, Unity, Love & Havin’ Fun!” has since circulated the entire Earth, rocking the planet.
Its initial principles primarily originated from various Bronx street organizations like; the Black Spades, the Savage Skulls & Savage Nomads. They united under one groove as the UZN, and would go on to incorporate ideologies and members which were previously affiliated with other ways of life as well. Instead of physically fighting and killing one another they began battlin’… True-Skool style… in any of Hip-Hop’s 5 ‘Elements: DJ-in’, MC-in’, B-Boyin’/B-Girlin’/Break Dancin’, Aerosol Art/Graffiti and the 5th – Knowledge, Wisdom & Overstandin’.
A few of those primary individuals elaborated on the climate during the origin of the urban conceptualized culture which is now a world-wide phenomenon. Giving Hip-Hop Wired a True Skool lesson, we learned:
“Some of y’all only heard about us being a so-called gang. Right now I want to eradicate that stigma. The only thing that is going to set us free is the truth! In order to understand the Black Spades you have to understand the times,” clarified Cappy – an original Black Spade. “We came out of the ‘Black Power’ movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. We were struggling against racism. They always talk about what was going on in the South, in reference to Civil Rights, but they ain’t never gonna tell you what was going on up here in the North!”
He continued, “What they were doing to us had nothing to do with racism, [what] it had more to do with is evil. That’s what made Elijah Muhammad call them ‘devils!’ It’s not to make mockery of people or put them down. It’s pure truth! You can lie in English and in Spanish, but you can’t lie in mathematics, because one plus one is always going to be 2. When you see the statistics in reference to certain communities dying of A.I.D.S., I look at it like we’re casualties of war!!”
Coming together for Hip-Hop History month in November, the Zulu celebration included a 3-day ‘Throwback’ weekend, as both – aficionados & pioneers paid their respects to the Amen-Ra of Hip-Hop culture, Afrika Bambaataa & other pioneers. Various ‘firsts’ in their respective categories were present throughout the throwback weekend. They provided their presence and also shared their experiences, some even schooled others on the actual facts surrounding the urban culture’s infancy.
Grand Wizard Theodore, the inventor of the ‘scratch’ displayed his talents for all to see. Also present were, Grandmixer DST., the first Hip-Hop artist to earn a Grammy, for his synchronized scratches on Herbie Hancock’s “Rockin’ It” (1983), & Grandmaster Melle Mel, the first MC to earn a Grammy for Chaka Khan’s – ‘I Feel For You!” (1984). The legendary DJ Jazzy Jay, who appeared on Def Jam recordings first release: T La Rock’s – ‘It’s Yourz! was also in the house.
Also paying homage were the likes of KRS-One and Immortal Technique as well as legitimate ‘True-Skool’ Hip-Hop pioneers, Grandmasters Caz & Melle Mel displayed their lyrical talents from a time when MCs moved the crowd with their mic skills.
The timeless Cold Crush Brothers also displayed their tag-team style of rhymin’, followed by the Force MDs, who paid homage to Mr. Magic.
As Hip-Hop continues to live on and takes on all different new aspects, be sure to catch more history lessons and tune in to New York’s 90.3FM Tuesday nights 8PM-12AM to listen to DJ Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Yoda & Dr. Shaka Zulu on their True-Skool radio-show, as they spin classic cuts.