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Universal Zulu Nation

Hip-Hop Culture Celebrates 36 Years of Peace, Unity, Love & Havin’ Fun!

The Bronx-born & bred way-of-life, which is now a world-wide phenomena, evolved from the street associations which controlled their communities in the concrete jungle during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

This past weekend, the organization which brought them all together, as the Universal Zulu Nation, acknowledged 37 years of manifesting the truth to the youth, and the 36th anniversary of the culture it established now known as Hip-Hop.

Last Thursday-Sunday, at various locations in The South Bronx and Harlem, all ‘5 Elements of Hip-Hop’ – DJ-ing, MC-ing, B-Boying/B-Girling, Graffiti & ‘Knowledge, Culture & Overstanding’ – were on display by some of the legendary pioneers who perfected their art while uniting their ‘hoods.

“We started to unite all the Black and Latino gangs in The Bronx that were fighting and killing one another, by bringing forth this new form of culture that Herc, myself and Flash were starting, called ‘Hip-Hop’, to wake up brothers and sisters to be warriors for their communities and stop them from being violent towards each other,” reflected U.Z.N. founder Afrika Bambaataa.

Instead of combating with clenched fists, knives and guns many beefs were dealt with by challenging each other, in warrior dance-offs or rapping competitions, in order to see who would move the crowd the most.  Eventually this became the norm as many people became acquainted with each other as a result of their artistic abilities, rather than their savage ways, while establishing the First Family of Hip-Hop at the same time.

“We invited everybody to come back and celebrate 4 days of ‘Peace, Unity, Love & Havin’ Fun’,” announced Zulu War Chief – Dr. Shaka Zulu.

This year’s U.Z.N. Anniversary was dedicated to the pioneers who have made their transitions on to becoming Hip-Hop ancestors, as well as the on-going efforts for historical appreciation.

“People should recognize November as… ‘Hip-Hop History Month’, to show how our culture has pulled more people around the world – more so than politicians and religions –  together,” proclaimed Bambaataa.

Festivities kicked-off on Thursday up in The Bronx at Gauchos Gym (478 Gerard Ave. & 149th Sts.) with a B-Boy/B-Girl battle, and returns Friday night with performances by Chubb Rock [“Treat’em Right,”  “Just The 2 Of Us,” “Chubbster”] and throwback pioneer Jimmy Spicer [“Adventures Of  Super Rhymes,” “Dollar Bill Y’all,”  “Bubble Bunch”].

Pioneering DJs, Grandwizard Theodore – the creator of ‘the scratch’ -, Cutmaster LG [Positive K] and DJ Jazzy Jay [T La Rock’s It’s Yours] spun break-beats on the turntables reminiscent of the days when those sounds were only heard in the parks and block parties.

Then on Saturday night at the Hip-Hop Cultural Center in Harlem, the homegrown Crash Crew [“We Are Known As MCs,” “High Powered Rap,” “On The Radio”] and The Ultramagnetic MCs [“Ego Trippin’,” “Ease Back,” “Poppa Large”] graced the stage prior to  legendary wordsmith Big Daddy Kane [“Raw,” “Ain’t No Half Steppin’,” “Word To The Mother(land)”] teaming up with the almighty Cold Crush Brothers [“Fresh, Fly, Wild & Bold;” “Heartbreakers”] along with Grandmaster Caz [original writer of Rappers Delight], as they took the audience down memory lane, treating them to their classic cuts from a couple decades ago when clever word-play was a must.

Afrika Bambaata & The Soulsonic Force [“Planet Rock,” “Lookin’ For The Perfect Beat”] also displayed their techno-funk style of the urban art-form which they took around the world prior to Hip-Hop becoming a part of everyday life for the recent generation.

The following day, an afternoon ‘Meeting-Of-The-Minds’ town-hall seminar was conducted where the original concept of uniting the different aspects of the Hip-Hop culture were again united as original members of The Black Spades street organization delivered a history lesson as to the U.Z.N.s formative years.

Finally, later on Sunday night at Club S.O.B.s in lower-Manhattan, Just Ice thanked Bambaataa for helping to establish the Hip-Hop culture before reciting his rhymes to “‘Cold Getting’ Dumb,”  “Latoya’” and his homage to the True-School era “Goin’ Way Back”.

Wise Intelligent reflected on rhymes from Poor Righteous Teachers’ classic debut ‘Holy Intellect’ – “Shakiyla,” “Rock Dis Funky Joint;” as well as other recordings from their follow-up albums and his solo efforts.  Keith Murray followed with ‘The Most Beautifullest Thing In The World” and versus from his callobos with Mya and the hit Squad.

The mighty X Clan [“Heed The Words Of The Brother,” “Xodus, Fawk The Police”] celebrated 20 years of uncompromising, thought-provoking, motivational messages through their art.  First, they paid their respects to original members – Professor X and Sugar Shaft – who both made their transition to the realm of Hip-Hop ancestors, and to the Republic Of Brooklyn warrior Abubadika Sonny Carson, before Brother J and Paradise worked the audience into Hip-Hop hysteria.

It was a classic showcase of Hip-Hop essence.

For more info:

DJ Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Yoda & Dr. Shaka Zulu, along with many prominent UZN affiliates can be heard during the ‘True-Skool Radio Show’ every Tuesday evening (8PM-midnight) on Harlem’s own 90.3FM WHCR.