The Evolution of Turntablism
South Bronx 1970’s, the Bronx is in ruins. The entire burrow was riddled with evidence of arson and poverty. Buildings, abandoned and burnt to a crisp. Some buildings, however, were still occupied by tenants but were dirty and terribly maintained, which were most likely the results of slumlords, who would raise the rent until the tenets can no longer afford to pay. In which case they would hire thugs to burn it down, and the slumlord would collect on the insurance money (Chang, 2005). Due to an economic downfall, the unemployment rate was on a rise. The streets ran wild with drugs, crime, and violence (Chang, 2005). Because of this the police would rarely visit this area. With no police or protection the people of the Bronx had to protect themselves. They formed gangs to keep out drugs and any further arsons from occurring. These gangs consisted of mostly youth and would use any means necessary to keep their streets safe. Because of the violent nature of these street gangs, disco clubs and dance halls would not allow the youth of the Bronx access to these places (Chang, 2005). In need of a place to socialize, the young people of the Bronx would organize their own house and block-parties (Chang, 2005). It was at these parties where the evolution began.
Throughout time, since the phonograph was made there has been the disk jockey, the person who plays the records. It was not until the 70’s that someone decided to manipulate the records and or turntable to play whatever they so desired. At first it was only to extend a portion of the song; however, later it would be to make music as an instrumentalist. A Disk Jockey, or “DJ,” is a person who simply plays music for an audience. A turntablist, however, is a musician. A musician who uses the turntable as an instrument to create unique sounds by manipulating the record back and forth with their hand, as well as cross mixing between two or more different tracks. In this essay I will show the Inventors and innovators of both hip hop and turntablism.
Kool DJ Herc, also known as Clive Campbell, was born in Kingston, Jamaica in 1995. He immigrated with his family to the South Bronx in 1967 (Chin, 2004). It was there that he sparked the fuel to the fire of the next generation of music: Hip Hop. Once the youth of America knew they could be heard through expressive rap and dance, they turned their backs on what corporate America said was "cool.” They began to express themselves in the form of Hip Hop. Kool Herc received his name “Hercules” from a graffiti crew he associated with which is one of the reasons Hip Hop is synonymous with graffiti art (Bush, All Music, 2013). There are three main aspects of Hip Hop: music, art, and dance (Chin, 2004). All of which Kool Herc had a hand in developing through his fundamental, groundbreaking turntable skills. Kool Herc's evolutionary new style began at a house party in 1973 (Chang, 2005). To allow the people to dance...