Sunday, February 12, 2006
Oldschool Hip-Hop: NYC Tourism
In today's NY Times, we learn that Hush Tours is offering hip-hop sightseeing tours of the Bronx and Harlem. Tour guides include such old-school luminaries as Grandmaster Caz (pictured above), Curtis Blow, and DJ Red Alert.
The author, Jody Rosen, recounts the tour (only $70) she took with Grandmaster Caz, who gave his own account of the mostly forgotten history of rap's origin. Among the tidbits: "[Caz] described how the looting of hi-fi stores during the 1977 New York City blackout propelled D.J. culture. ('It was like Christmas for black people" he said. "The next day there were a thousand new D.J.'s.')"
And I learned from Rosen that "underground or 'backpacker' rappers, who position themselves as the true heirs to the old school, carrying the spirit and politics of hip-hop's 'golden era' into a debased age of bling and chart-topping gangstas." (I didn't know the explicit connection of backpacker rap to old school.)