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Dj Master Jam Change ##BEST##

Deejays formed the base of hip hop culture during the 1970s. They organized parties and served as the primary artists. By the mid-1970s, DJs Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa dominated the burgeoning hip hop scene. Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, and Herc controlled sections of the Bronx (Figure 1).8

Dj Master Jam Change

Herc played in the nightclubs in East Bronx and in neighborhoods in the West. Grandmaster Flash and his Casanova Crew controlled the South Bronx from 138th to 163rd streets. However, Bambaataa saw hip hop culture as a path out of gang violence and an instrument of black and brown unity.9 Inspired by a trip abroad and the movie, Zulu, Bambaataa formed the Universal Zulu Nation, which would draw from black nationalism and pan-African themes and sought to use hip hop as an organizing tool against gang violence.10

The number of DJs proliferated after the July 1977 blackout in New York City. During the 24-hour power outage, residents looted hundreds of stores and committed almost a thousand acts of arson.11 Stores selling music equipment represented prime targets for many New Yorkers. Consequently, the blackout provided more aspiring DJs and artists greater access to necessary expensive equipment. Even DJ Grandmaster Caz, who performed that evening, admitted to going to the store where he first bought his equipment and taking a mixer.12

Figure 2. Event flier for a hip hop performance at the Renaissance Ballroom on June 28, 1979. The event featured several notable DJs and rappers, including Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel, and the Mercedes Ladies, an all-woman hip hop group. 041b061a72

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