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Review: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop

By Alyssa Sellors     Feb 8, 2014 in Entertainment
With a sometimes misguided rap as music for the youth, the hip hop industry and interest in creating hip hop beats has proven the musical genre's staying power with hopes of breaking this stereotype and bringing hip hop lovers of all ages together.
One way the industry is breaking the stereotype and exposing the industry in its true current state is through a recent award winning children’s book entitled When the Beat was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip-Hop, written by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Theodore Taylor III. Hill is the award-winning author of several other children and young adult novels including the National Book Award finalist Harlem Stomp! Theodore is also an award winning artist out of D.C., with this children’s book being his first ever and earning him the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award.
This 21 page non-fiction children’s book tells the story of DJ Clive Campbell, who devised new and innovative ways of playing music starting in the 1970’s, and rose to becoming DJ Kool Herc. Campbell’s music and achievements in hip hop had an impact beyond his music as well, helping to deter gang violence in the neighborhoods where hip hop got its start.
Looking at the “early life of a deejay widely credited with creating hip hop,” the children’s book depicts the origins of hip hop in Jamaica where Campbell was born and in Southern Bronx with kids throwing parties with turn tables and 6-foot speakers but the book also looks forward to the future of what hip hop is, and could be, inspiring young people and adults who purchase the book.
This book acts as a bridge from the historical roots to the bright future of hip hop as the industry grows in popularity in mainstream music. One major appeal of hip hop is the accessibility of creating hip hop and the freedom in creativity of creating hip hop instrumentals. Instrumentals can be bought and sold as artists share and collaborate, something very true to the origins of the genre. The industry of hip hop instrumentals is booming as more artists are experimenting with unique sounds, keeping the genre alive while also offering a breath of fresh air to hip hop musicians and artists.
More about DJ Kool Herc, Hip hop, hip hop instrumentals
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