How NY Nightclubs and an African Cameroon national football team Soccer Anthem launch acceptance for Disco, Salsa and Hip Hop in the Seventies.
Disco is a genre of music that was popular in the 1970s, though it has since enjoyed brief resurgences including the present day. Its initial audiences were club-goers from the African American, GLBTQ [Gay], Italian American, Latino, and psychedelic communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Disco also was a reaction against both the domination of rock music and the stigmatization of dance music by the counterculture during this period. Women embraced disco as well and the music eventually expanded to several other popular groups of the time. In what is considered a forerunner to disco-style clubs, New York City DJ David Mancuso opened “The Loft” a members-only private dance club set in his own home in February 1970.
The Cheetah Club is widely cited as the birthplace of Salsa music or at least the launch of the popular use of the term “Salsa” to denote pan-Latin music brewing in New York City. On Thursday, August 26, 1971, the Fania All-Stars headlined the club and drew an overflowing and excited crowd that was later captured on film as Our Latin Thing. The Fania All-Stars brought together the leading lights in Latin music styles (descarga, mambo, boogaloo, merengue, folkloric) and presented a single concert drawing from these diverse influences. Although the term “Salsa” had been used in songs, album titles, and “coros” (choruses) for example, “Salsa y Bembé” (from Joe Cuba Sextet’s LP Steppin’ Out ’62 on Seeco), Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta (Ritmo Caliente Edward Palmieri II/A. Santiago 1962) Alegre, Pupi Legarreta’s 1962 debut LP Salsa Nova (New Spice) on Tico and Charlie Palmieri’s LP Salsa Na’ Ma’, Vol. 3 ’63 on Alegre, all made in NYC-the modern combination of styles presented at the Cheetah Club by The Fania All Stars began to become popularly known under the umbrella term “Salsa”.
Manu Dibango’s Disco hit “Soul Makossa” (1972) paves the way for Hip Hop and Salsa to be embraced by Latino, African American and White Teens. “Soul Makossa” is a song released as a single in February 1972 by Cameroon saxophonist and songwriter, Manu Dibango. It is often cited as one the first disco records. In 1972, DJ David Mancuso found a copy in a Brooklyn West Indian record store and often played it at his “Loft” club parties. The response was so positive that the few copies of “Soul Makossa” in New York City were quickly purchased. The song was subsequently played heavily by Frankie Crocker, who deejayed at WBLS, then New York’s most popular black radio station. Since the original release was so obscure, at least 23 groups quickly released cover versions to capitalize on the demand for the record including the collaboration appearance with the Fania All Stars in 1973 (released on the LP “Latin- Soul-Rock” 1974.)
Like any style of music, hip hop has roots in other forms, and its evolution was shaped by many different artists, but there’s a case to be made that it came to life August 11, 1973, at a birthday party in the recreation room of an apartment building in the west Bronx, New York City. The location of that birthplace was 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, and the man who presided over that historic party was the birthday girl’s brother, Clive Campbell—better known to history as DJ Kool Herc, founding father of hip hop.
Born and raised to the age of 10 in Kingston, Jamaica, DJ Kool Herc began spinning records at parties and between sets his father’s band played while he was a teenager in the Bronx in the early 1970s. Herc often emulated the style of Jamaican “selectors” (DJs) by “toasting” (i.e., talking) over the records he spun, but his historical significance has nothing to do with rapping. Kool Herc’s contribution to hip hop was even more fundamental.
DJ Kool Herc’s signature innovation came from observing how the crowds would react to different parts of whatever record he happened to be playing: “I was noticing people used to wait for particular parts of the record to dance, maybe [to] do their specialty move.” Those moments tended to occur at the drum breaks—the moments in a record when the vocals and other instruments would drop out completely for a measure or two of pure rhythm. What Kool Herc decided to do was to use the two turntables in a typical DJ setup not as a way to make a smooth transition between two records, but as a way to switch back and forth repeatedly between two copies of the same record, extending the short drum break that the crowd most wanted to hear (see “Soul Makossa”). He called his trick the Merry Go- Round. Today, it is known as the “break beat.”
By the summer of 1973, DJ Kool Herc had been using and refining his break-beat style for the better part of a year. His sister’s party on August 11, however, put him before his biggest crowd ever and with the most powerful sound system he’d ever worked. It was the success of that party that would begin a grassroots musical revolution, fully six years before the term “hip hop” even entered the popular vocabulary.
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