Perfect Sound Forever

KOOL HERC


Herc and Slick Rick, live at the Apollo July 2017, © Jason Gross, 2021

When did he make hip hop history
and first perform his Merry-Go-Round?
Part 3 by J. Vognsen
(August 2021)


See Part I and Part II of the Kool Herc article



REFERENCES

AGYEKUM, Seba Kwesi Damani: "A History of Hip Hop in Perspective"; https://www.academia.edu/12545353/A_History_of_Hip_Hop_in_Perspective

AXELROD, Alan: The Disruptors - 50 People Who Changed The World (Sterling, 2018)

BANDINI: "DJ Kool Herc OPENS UP & His Top 5 MCs & DJs Will ASTONISH You (Audio)," Ambrosia For Heads, April 13th, 2015; https://ambrosiaforheads.com/2015/04/dj-kool-herc-opens-up-his-top-5-mcs-djs-will-astonish-you-audio/

BANKS, Alec: "The Anatomy Of The 1973 Party," Rock The Bells; https://www.rockthebells.com/blogs/articles/dj-kool-herc-rec-room-party

BATEY, Angus: "DJ Kool Herc DJs his first block party (his sister's birthday) at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York," The Guardian, June 13th, 2011; https://www.theguardian.com/music/2011/jun/13/dj-kool-herc-block-party

BREWSTER, Bill & BROUGHTON, Frank: The Record Players - The Story of Dance Music Told By History's Greatest DJs (Virgin Books, 2012; orig. 2010)

BREWSTER, Bill & BROUGHTON, Frank: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life - The History of the Disc Jockey (Headline, 1999)

BROUGHTON, Frank: "Interview - DJ Kool Herc," Red Bull Music Academy Daily; http://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2018/01/kool-herc-interview

CAMPION, James: "1520 Sedgwick Avenue - The Back-To-School Party That Became the Birthplace of Hip Hop," The Dog Door Cultural, January 19th, 2020

CHANG, Jeff: Can't Stop Won't Stop - A History Of The Hip-Hop Generation (Ebury Press, 2007; orig. 2005)

CHARNAS, Dan: The Big Payback - The History of the Business of Hip-Hop (New American Library, 2011; orig. 2010)

DAVEY D: "1989 Interview w/ DJ Kool Herc by Davey D," Davey D; http://www.daveyd.com/interviewkoolherc89.html

DALY, Steven: "Hip-Hop Happens," Vanity Fair, October 10th, 2006; https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2005/11/hiphop200511

DJKOOLHERC.COM: "BIO - DJ Kool Herc - Father of Hip Hop", https://www.djkoolherc.com/copy-of-bio

DJ Kool Herc & CAMPBELL, Cindy: "The Real Story Behind The Party That Birthed Hip-Hop," Rock The Bells; https://www.rockthebells.com/blogs/articles/dj-kool-herc-rec-room-party

EDWARDS, Paul: The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music - A Fresh Look at the Art Of HipHop, From Old-School Beats to Freestyle Rap (St. Martin's Griffin, 2015)

EWOODZIE JR., Joseph C.: Break Beats in the Bronx - Rediscovering Hip-Hop's Early Years (The University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

FERNANDO Jr., S. H.: The New Beats - Exploring the Music, Culture, and Attitudes of HipHop (Anchor Books, 1994)

FORD, JR., Robert: "B-Beats Bombarding Bronx - Mobile DJ Starts Something with Oldie R&B Disks," Billboard, July 1st, 1978, p. 65; available in FORMAN, Murray (e.) & NEAL, Mark Anthony (ed.): That's The Joint! The Hip-Hop Studies Reader (Routledge, 2004), p. 41

FRICKE, Jim & AHEARN, Charlie: Yes Yes Y'All - Oral History of Hip-Hop's First Decade (Da Capo Press, 2002)

GEORGE, Nelson: Hip Hop America (Viking, 1998)

GONZALES, Michael A.: "The Holy House of Hip-Hop", New York Magazine, September 22nd, 2008; https://nymag.com/anniversary/40th/50665/

GONZALES, Michael A.: "Party Over Here - An Oral History of Kool Herc's Historic Back-toSchool Jam", Mass Appeal, August 11th, 2017; available at https://prince.org/msg/8/445918/

GRANDMASTER Flash with RITZ, David: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash (Broadway Books, 2008)

HAGER, Steven: "Afrika Bambaataa's Hip Hop," Village Voice, September 21st, 1982; p. 69, 72 - 73

HAGER, Steven: Hip Hop (expanded version, self-published, no details given; orig. 1984)

HERMES, Will: "All Rise for the National Anthem of Hip-Hop," The New York Times, October 29th, 2006; https://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/arts/music/29herm.html

HERMES, Will: Love Goes to Buildings on Fire - Five Years in New York That Changed Music (Viking, 2014; orig. 2011)

HILL, Laban Carrick & TAYLOR III, Theodore: When The Beat Was Born - DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop (Roaring Brook Press, 2013)

HISTORY.COM: "Hip hop is born at a birthday party in the Bronx", November 16th, 2009; https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hip-hop-is-born-at-a-birthday-party-in-the-bronx

KAJIKAWA, Loren: Sounding Race In Rap Songs (University of California Press, 2015)

KATZ, Mark: Groove Music - The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ (Oxford University Press, 2012)

LAWRENCE, Tim: "Disco Madness - Walter Gibbons and the Legacy of Turntablism and Remixology," Journal of Popular Music Studies, Vol. 20, No. 3, 2008, p. 276-329

LENTZ, Jon: "Hip-Hop Hero - A Q&A With DJ Kool Herc", City & State New York, January 12th, 2015; https://nynmedia.com/articles/personality/interviews-and-profiles/hip-hop-hero-a-q-and-a-with-dj-kool-herc.html

MARSHALL, Wayne: "Kool Herc" in HESS, Mickey (ed.): Icons of Hip Hop - An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture - Volume 1 (Greenwood Press, 2007), p. 1 - 25.

NAISON, Mark & TIEDT, Andrew: "Smith, Troy," Bronx African American History Project, February 3rd, 2006; https://fordham.bepress.com/baahp_oralhist/280/

OGG, Alex & UPSHAL, David: The Hip Hop Years - A History of Rap (Channel 4 Books, 1999)

PATRIN, Nate: Bring That Beat Back - How Sampling Built Hip-Hop (University of Minnesota Press, 2020)

PBS: History Detectives (Season 6, Episode 11), February, 2009; Transcript available at https://www.metacritic.com/tv/history-detectives/season-6/episode-11-episode-eleven-303844

PISKOR, Ed: Hip Hop Family Tree (Fantagraphics Books Inc, 2013)

REIGHLEY, Kurt B.: Looking For The Perfect Beat - The Art And Culture Of The DJ (MTV Books/Pocket Books, 2000)

SKILLZ, Mark: "One Night at the Executive Playhouse", Ill-Literature With Skillz To Blaze, July 4th 2006; http://markskillz.blogspot.com/2006/07/one-night-at-executive-playhouse.html

SMITH, Sophy: Hip-Hop Turntablism, Creativity and Collaboration (Ashgate, 2013)

SPADY, James G.: "Mapping and Re-Membering Hip Hop History, Hiphopography and African Diasporic History," Western Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 37, Issue 2, Summer 2013, p. 126-157; https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Mapping+and+remembering+hip+hop+history%2c+hiphopography+and+African...-a0346007249

TOOP, David: Rap Attack #3 - African Rap To Global Hip Hop - Expanded Third Edition (Serpent's Tail, 2000)



FOOTNOTES:

i Wayne Marshall: "Kool Herc," p. 10. I embrace Marshall's terminology: When talking about "isolating breaks" in this text, I'm referring to the idea of not playing complete songs, but only the breaks, whether by jumping between different breaks or extending one break by matching up two copies of the same record.

ii Some frame the significance of Herc broader than simply to hip-hop. Sophy Smith, for example, writes that Herc "extended the DJ's position from the archivist of records to a musician and an author." Sophy Smith: Hip-Hop Turntablism, Creativity and Collaboration, p. 44. But it should be noted that there's an intriguing discussion about to what extent Herc's DJ technique had precursors in disco, for example in the work of Walter Gibbons. However one views that question - and it is no simple matter to resolve - I do not think it can easily be denied that what became the music of hip-hop flowed directly from Herc. On Gibbons, see in particular Tim Lawrence: "Disco Madness," and for further discussion see Mark Katz: Groove Music, p. 33.

iii I did initially try to reach out to some of the relevant people and writers, but they either did not respond or did not want to be quoted. I then decided to stick to the public record as it is. Someone with more journalistic firepower than me will have to take the next step.

ivhttps://www.djkoolherc.com/copy-of-bio

v Alex Ogg & David Upshal: The Hip Hop Years, p. 14-15.

vi Jeff Chang: Can't Stop Won't Stop, p. 68. Chang's source is unclear, but he did interview Herc for the book. For what it's worth, and as far as I know, no one has questioned the claim that Herc had been performing at private parties for some period before August 11th, 1973.

vi Davey D: "1989 Interview w/ DJ Kool Herc by Davey D."

viii I'm not aware of any claim that Herc began DJ'ing as early at the 1960s.

ix And it does flatly contradict claims Herc is reported to have made that he first began isolating breaks after listening to "Bongo Rock," which was released a couple of years after 1970. See n. xii and n. xxix below.

x I'm here quoting from the audio version of this interview at 14:30, 15:50, 37:30 and 50:20. We return to this interview in more depth in the "1974" section.

xi It has been claimed that these two articles were the first to ever appear on hip-hop, for example in Dan Charnas: The Big Payback, p. 46, 412. Robert Ford, Jr.: "B-Beats Bombarding Bronx" appears in Murray Forman & Mark Anthony Neal's reader That's The Joint! with its original publishing date listed. George's article is included and discussed in Nelson George: Hip Hop America, p. 26 - 27. I do not have the original article, but according to the references in James G. Spady: "Mapping and Re-Membering Hip Hop History, Hiphopography and African Diasporic History" it was also published on July 1st, 1978. George himself doesn't give us the exact publishing date in the book, but says that it was published one year before the first hip hop vinyl appeared; something which he in turn discusses on p. 29 with the arrival of the Fatback Band's "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" and the Sugar Hill Gang's "Rapper's Delight," both from 1979. So at least this part of our story makes perfect sense.

xii Robert Ford, Jr.: "B-Beats Bombarding Bronx" does mention that Herc first developed his technique using "Bongo Rock," which would then place us sometime after that release date. For more on this, see n. xxix. The article doesn't use the Merry-Go-Round expression, refering instead to "B-Beats," and talks of Herc "playing long sets of assorted rhythm breaks strung together." The article is noteworthy for a couple of other reasons: 1) It includes the earliest direct quotes from Herc I've come across, 2) Herc talks about playing 33 1/3 records at 45 speed, a part of Herc's technique I do not remember seeing mentioned elsewhere, 3) The article ends with: "Herc hopes that someday he will be able to produce an entire B-beat album featuring 'Bongo Rock' and other obscure numbers." Sadly, this never materialized. A remarkable moment in music history was undoubtedly missed here.

xiii Nelson George: Hip Hop America, p. 26. Another early source is Steven Hager's Hip Hop from 1984. I do not have the original edition of this book. Unfortunately, the latest version is sorely lacking biographical data, making it difficult to use. It contains a chapter called "The Pied Piper of Hip Hop" which is a different version of a text that also appeared under the title "Afrika Bambaataa's Hip Hop" in Village Voice in 1982. In the book version, Hager uses the expression "the merry-go-round," but mistakenly credits it to Grandmaster Flash. There are no page numbers in this book, but I counted my way to p. 191 for this one. In "Afrika Bambaataa's Hip Hop" the expression does not appear and the relevant section on p. 72 instead states that Flash was "playing short, rapid-fire cuts from a wide variety of records, while at the same time maintaining a steady beat." I can't determine when Hager added the "merry-go-round" expression to his text. Finally, there's David Toop's excellent Rap Attack, first released in 1984. The book does not use the "Merry-Go-Round"-expression, but talks about Herc "just playing the fragments that were popular with the dancers and ignoring the rest of the track" and explains: "A conga or bongo solo, a timbales break or simply the drummer hammering out the beat - these could be isolated by using two copies of the record on twin turntables and playing the one section over and over, flipping the needle back to the start on one while the other played through. The music made this way came to be known as beats or break-beats." David Toop: Rap Attack #3, p. 60. The book was updated in 1991 according to p. vii. Not sure if the quote appeared like this in the first edition, or might have been updated since.

xiv Nelson George: Hip Hop America, p. 26, 27.

xv See also n. lxiii for a claim from Herc that in his first Merry-Go-Round he used a record released in 1975.

xvi Bandini aka Jake Paine of the Ambrosia For Heads website wrote of a 2015 interview with Herc that, "Due to his dialect and habit of speaking, DJ Kool Herc is not always the easiest to follow in his memories." Bandini: "DJ Kool Herc OPENS UP & His Top 5 MCs & DJs Will ASTONISH You (Audio)." The point is well taken and generalizes to Herc's other comments. I think it's fair to say that he is often not very careful in his choice of words.

xvii Jeff Chang: Can't Stop Won't Stop, p. 79. More on this book in the "1974" section.

xviii Jon Lentz: "Hip-Hop Hero."

xix The Hip-Hop Years - Close to the Edge. The section on the Merry-Go-Round begins at 5:30. If the unedited footage of this interview and demonstration still exists, it would be most interesting to see.

xx Will Hermes: "All Rise for the National Anthem of Hip-Hop." For another example of someone explicitly defining the Merry-Go-Round as consisting of both these two separate ideas, but without going into the historical development, there's Loren Kajikawa, who writes: "Herc called his innovation, which involved using two turntables to shuttle back and forth between the break sections that he had identified on his records, the 'merry-go-round.' When one break was near ending, Herc could transition into a new one or repeat the one just played, providing the partygoers with the juiciest parts of each song." Loren Kajikawa: Sounding Race In Rap Songs, p. 24. It's unclear exactly how Kajikawa arrives at this understanding of the Merry-Go-Round, but according to p. 156, n. 19, n. 20, n. 21 his sources for the relevant paragraph are Robert Ford, Jr.: "B-Beats Bombarding Bronx," the Hip-Hop Years documentary and Hermes's article.

xxi Dan Charnas: The Big Payback, p. 17.

xxii Charnas has a list of sources for the book on his website, consisting of numerous personal interviews in addition to a bibliography. But the book itself contains no references throughout, so it's impossible to trace specific claims. Herc does not appear on the interview list. See "The Big Payback - Sources" at https://www.dancharnas.com/book/sources/. Herc himself made a somewhat similar claim about how "Bongo Rock" was "too short" so he had to "look for other things to put with it" in Robert Ford, Jr.: "B-Beats Bombarding Bronx," p. 41, indicating that he did not initially extend individual breaks, but began by jumping between breaks. Neither this nor the Hermes article, nor the work by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton discussed in the "1974" section that describes a similar story, appear in Charnas' bibliography, but the Ford, Jr. article is mentioned on p. 46 of the book.

xxiii Seba Kwesi Damani Agyekum: "A History of Hip Hop in Perspective," p. 6.

xxiv I can think of two other options: 1) Herc began extending one break using only one record by lifting the needle and dropping it back at the beginning of the same break, 2) Herc arrived at the final combination not in one or two steps, but three. As far as I know, 2) has not been suggested by anyone. Dan Charnas describes something like 1) in the passage quoted above, but he appears to be the only one to do so, and as mentioned provides no source for his claim. I find the writing unclear, but Mark Katz: Groove Music, p. 15 - 16 seems to be suggesting that some DJs used a technique similar to what is described in 1) but does not link it specifically to Herc. Instead Katz' quotes DJ Breakout talking about his own performances. Looking up the original comments from Breakout, unquoted parts could be interpreted as an example of something like 1): "[W]e was droppin' needles, usin' our hands to move it over. No spinnin' back." This, however, would have been well after Herc had become popular. See Jim Fricke & Charlie Ahearn: Yes Yes Y'all, p. 95-96 for Breakout's comments and Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr: Break Beats in the Bronx, p. 110 - 111 for background on when Breakout began DJ'ing.

xxv http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DJ_Kool_Herc.

xxvi The reference is followed by this comment: "Retrieved on September 9, 2008." The earliest appearance of the claim in the Wikipedia article that's still available via archive.org is from February 16th, 2009. See https://web.archive.org/web/20090216203438/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DJ_Kool_Herc

xxvii For example, in his book The Disruptors, Alan Axelrod writes of Herc: "Using multiple breaks and even multiple records to build what he termed 'The Merry-Go-Round,' he ran one break after another and switched back and forth between them. This climactic span of music and dance was introduced into DJ Kool Herc's performances in 1972," p. 267. Axelrod does not source the claim, but the phrasing is fairly similar to the line from Wikipedia.

xxviii It is of course also possible that Hermes changed his view after writing this article. But in his later book, Hermes references a 2006 interview he did with Herc as a source. Presumably this is the same interview that was used in the 2006 article. This also makes it ever so slightly more likely that the basic timeline should be the same in both places. Will Hermes: Love Goes to Buildings On Fire, p. 314, n. 42. We will return to this book in the "1974" section.

xxix One could also entertain the idea that "1972" is simply an error that should read, perhaps, "1974." In the article Hermes dates the Bongo Rock LP by the Incredible Bongo Band to 1972, though it was in fact released in 1973. The "Bongo Rock" single was released in 1972, but it does not contain the "Apache" track. So something in the chronology of this article does not make sense. For a direct quote from Herc saying that he first got the Bongo Rock album from Timmy Tim and that "after I heard that album I said to Coke 'Listen to this shit here man!' We used that record and that was what kicked off my format called the 'merry go round'," see Mark Skillz: "One Night at the Executive Playhouse."

xxx See, for example, Herc's own comments in Jim Fricke & Charlie Ahearn: Yes Yes Y'all, p. 29, and Jeff Chang: Can't Stop Won't Stop, p 81-82. Herc here puts himself in the Hevalo from 1974 or 1975, while Chang places him there from 1975. I'll sidestep the question of when Herc first found Bongo Rock and when he first played it in public, apart from noting that it's hard to believe he would sit on it for years before finally giving it a spin near a dance floor, no?

xxxi I have not seen the actual program, but a transcript is available at http://www-tc.pbs.org/opb/historydetectives/static/media/transcripts/2011-05-21/611_hiphop.pdf. I'm quoting from p. 3.

xxxii Michael A. Gonzales: "The Holy House of Hip-Hop." Gonzales repeated the same version of the story in 2017 in "Party Over Here."

xxxiii James Campion: "1520 Sedgwick Avenue."

xxxiv For the origin of scratching, usually credited to GrandWizzard Theodore years after the August 11th party, see Mark Katz: Groove Music, p. 57 - 61, and Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr.: Break Beats in the Bronx, p. 85.

xxxv Drunk History, July 29th, 2020: "The Early Years of Hip-Hop (feat. Questlove & Method Man)," https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnMqFrxxQNg. On a side note, Herc's story has been in told in comic book format at least two times. The first is the opening instalment of Ed Piskor's Hip-Hop Family Tree series that originally ran on Boing Boing beginning in 2012. Piskor describes Herc's use of two copies of the same record to extend a break without giving the technique a specific name, "Tinkering in his apartment with the window open, he realizes he's on to something." The comic then continues: "Mixing one break into the break of a different song, a term he calls 'Merry-Go-Round, becomes part of Kool Herc's arsenal." Ed Piskor: Hip Hop Family Tree, p. 5. The comic does not have specific references, but a bibliography on p. 106. The other comic is When The Beat Was Born - DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill and Theodore Taylor III. It has Herc extending a break with two copies of the same record on August 11th, 1973 but does not use the expression Merry-Go-Round at any time. The comic has a "hip hop select bibliography" at the end, but does not include specific references. Laban Carrick Hill writes in an "Author's Note" at the end of the comic that he began going to clubs in the East Village, Tribeca and the South Bronx in 1980 where he first heard the story of Herc.

xxxvi Mark Katz: Groove Music, p. 22 - 23.

xxxvii The source for the 1970 claim about Bambaataa is an interview Katz did with Bambaataa himself in July, 2011. Mark Katz: Groove Music, p. 268, n. 26.

xxxviii Seba Kwesi Damani Agyekum: "A History of Hip Hop in Perspective," p. 15.

xxxix Seba Kwesi Damani Agyekum p. 20, n. 61.

xl Grandmaster Flash: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash, p. 43.

xli Grandmaster Flash, p. 47.

xlii Grandmaster Flash, p. 53. See also p. 54.

xliii Grandmaster Flash, p. 75. Elsewhere Flash has expressed himself differently: "Kool Herc, although he's an incredible individual for what he's done, didn't so much concentrate on taking duplicate copies of the record and making a break extended in time. He wasn't too much concerned with that. He had the massive bass, the massive system, so I guess that was not one of his considerations." Jim Fricke & Charlie Ahearn: Yes Yes Y'all, p. 58.

xliv The flyer can be seen in Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr.: Break Beats in the Bronx, p. 18. And lots of other places; on the internet, for example.

xlv DJ Kool Herc & Cindy Campbell: "The Real Story Behind The Party That Birthed Hip-Hop."

xlvi Coke La Rock is quoted in Paul Edwards: The Concise Guide to Hip-Hop Music, p. 54.

xlvii S. H. Fernando Jr: The New Beats, p. 4. Kurt B. Reighley: Looking For The Perfect Beat, p. 45. Steven Hager: Hip Hop still doesn't have page numbers, but this time I counted my way to p. 61.

xlviii For example, Angus Batey: "DJ Kool Herc DJs his first block party (his sister's birthday) at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Bronx, New York." But note that the claim is only made in the headline, not the actual article. As of January 3rd, 2021, the same mistake also appears on history.com's article on the party: "Hip hop is born at a birthday party in the Bronx."

xlix It is of course also logically possible that Cindy threw another party that was in celebration of her birthday between August 11th, 1973 and the day on the train and this is what Bobo was talking about. Would be quite a coincidence, though.

l https://www.discogs.com/ja/Coke-Escovedo-Comin-At-Ya/master/109845

li Wayne Marshall: "Kool Herc," p. 8. When Marshall writes that Herc "threw his first party," I imagine he's referring to the August 11th, 1973 party - usually recognised to have been thrown by or at the very least with his sister Cindy - since he calls this Herc's "first party" on p. 6.

lii Wayne Marshall: "Kool Herc," p. 10.

liii Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr.: Break Beats in the Bronx, p. 17 -18.

liv Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr., p. 40. There's a minor mix-up in the references here: Herc is quoted and the source is listed as "Brewster and Broughton, Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, 206" (p. 214, n. 105). It is actually taken from Jeff Chang, p. 78 - 79. Ewoodzie Jr. also mistakenly includes some of Chang's commentary in the quote, as if it was spoken by Herc.

lv Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr., p. 41.

lvi Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr., p. 77.

lvii Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton: Last Night A DJ Saved My Life, p. 194.

lviii Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton, p. 194.

lix Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton, p. 382.

lx Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton: The Record Players, p. 173.

lxi Frank Broughton: "Interview - DJ Kool Herc."

lxii https://www.rocksbackpages.com/Library/Article/dj-kool-herc-1998. When Herc says "funky music" I take it that he's referencing "Funky Music Is The Thing," a song by Dynamic Corvettes that he mentions earlier in the interview that he used for the Merry-Go-Round. But it's not in fact clear. He could just be talking about funky music, I guess.

lxiii Brewster and Broughton write that one of the records Herc played on that night in 1974 was "Funky Music Is The Thing" by Dynamic Corvettes. Bill Brewster & Frank Broughton, p. 194. But according to Discogs, that song was not released until 1975: https://www.discogs.com/Dynamic-Corvettes-Funky-Music-Is-The-Thing/master/193528. Listening to Herc's comment in the interview (at 38:45), it does sound like he claims to have used "Funky Music Is The Thing" the first time he did the Merry-Go-Round, but if so, it is some tension with the 1974 dating by Brewster and Broughton.

lxiv Jeff Chang, p. 70. Chang does write that the audience wanted "the breaks" instead of Herc's choice of dancehall, making him respond with "soul and funk bombs." Given the context and the later discussion of how Herc developed the Merry-Go-Round, this reads like the audience wanted records that included funky breaks, not that Herc actually isolated the breaks at this point. It's worth remembering that it was the dancers that first reacted to the breaks, and it was Herc's later noticing of this that gave him the idea of isolating the breaks.

lxv Jeff Chang, p. 77-78.

lxvi Jeff Chang, p. 78-79.

lxvii Jeff Chang, p. 79-80.

lxviii Will Hermes, p. 27-28.

lxix Will Hermes, p. 81.

lxx As we saw earlier, in his 2006 article, Hermes said that after Herc first began the Merry-Go-Round, it later "evolved."

lxxi Will Hermes, p. 27 - 28, 81 - 82.

lxxii Steven Daly: "Hip Hop Happens."

lxxiii Nate Patrin: Bring The Beat Back, p. 6. I'm not endorsing Patrin's particular view here, just using it as an example of how the discussion might proceed if the two parts of Herc's technique are viewed in separation. To be sure, there is a discussion about to what extent there were pre-cursors to Herc's style, I'm just not sure Grasso is the best example, or that "most DJs" is accurate. According to Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, Grasso was not the first to "overlap the ending of one record with the beginning of a second so that their drumbeats are synchronised," but he played an important role in refining the technique and making it "a required skill" for DJs. Among the variations Brewster and Broughton describe Grasso performing was overlapping the ending of a song with the beginning of another version of the same song, thus extending it. Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton, p. 131, 132. While clearly related to Herc's techniques, I do think that extending a song on one hand, and isolating and extending a break on the other are two very distinct ideas. For related discussion, see Mark Katz: Groove Music, p. 32 - 33, and n. II above.

lxxiv Joseph C. Ewoodzie does a good job of situating Herc in a larger, very important context, but he sometimes goes too far. He writes that his portrayal of Herc "does not position Herc as a founder or a heroic figure. Here, he is merely a teenager who happened to stand at the intersection of various social forces that pushed him into the limelight." Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr., p. 19. But Herc's DJ'ing technique, to the best of our ability to understand them from the distance, does appear crucial to the development of hip-hop. Herc isolated the breaks, fairly heroically founding a new way of making music in the process. We should not lose sight of this central fact.

lxxv "By 1975, it had become common practice for crews to record their shows," according to Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr., p. 102. Troy Smith, prominent collector of early hip-hop recordings, has said that his collection of tapes includes one recording from 1977. Everything else is from 1978 and later. Mark Naison and Andrew Tiedt: "Smith, Troy," p. 19. Will Hermes writes that he has not been able to locate any recordings of hip-hop parties from the 1973 - 1976 period. Will Hermes, p. 320, n. 58. In Dick Fontaine's 1984 documentary Beat This: A Hip-Hop History, Herc is seen watching footage - apparently without sound - of a party that he says was recorded at "Sedgwick 1520, over 10 years ago." If the complete footage still exists in any form, it would be a highly important document and might shed light on what actually happened, tough it is not specified if the footage is from August 11th, 1973 or a later party the same place. As far as I know, no one has analysed this footage in detail and I can't find it referenced in any of the writing on Herc, apart from a brief mention in Mark Skillz: "One Night At The Executive Playhouse." Has the original footage been lost?

lxxvi Seba Kwesi Damani Agyekum writes, "[M]ost of the sources I used [were] in the habit of moving back the dates of events to give them more authenticity. (Or they either just could not remember.)," Seba Kwesi Damani Agyekum: "A History of Hip Hop in Perspective," p. 15. But, for the record, Mark Katz thinks that the historical record is in fact very good: "[A]ny surprise at inconsistencies in the record (…) should be at how few serious ones there actually are." Marc Katz, p. 61. See also Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr., p. 11 - 13 for discussion of sources for the period.

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