10 Photos of the Bombed-Out Bronx from the Early Days of Rap
Kool Herc played the party that birthed rap on August 11, 1973. At 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, the Jamaica-born Herc played records from the Incredible Bongo Band, James Brown, and other artists whose music would form the backbone of hip-hop. The sound evolved, incorporating more sophisticated blending of records, scratching, eventually MCing.
Outside, the Bronx was in bad shape. Arson was rampant, because slumlords could make more money collecting the insurance from their buildings than maintaining and renting them. The situation in the Bronx, in particular the South Bronx, where hip-hop was percolating, was more reminiscent of a war zone than a place where civilians lived and worked and played. And yet.
I've never been to New York. How are things in this part of the city now?
I remember when I lived in the Haight back in '69, the Fillmore District was run down, not quite this bad but enough to feel dangerous. Since I've been back to SF in these later days the feel of that part of town has changed, softened. For that matter, Haight Street is completely different. Gentrification, I guess.