The current December 2012 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine listed Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" as 3rd Greatest Hip-Hop song of all time. They credit the song for starting break-dancing and introducing the Roland 808 beats to Hip Hop along with developing the sonic language of electro, Detroit Techno, Freestyle R&B, Miami Bass and most of modern Dance Music.
Along with DJs Grandmaster Flash and Kool Herc (a trio known in the 70's as Hip-Hop's Tri-Force) Bambaataa also developed "Turntablism" and were some of the first "Crate Diggers", scouring vinyl records around the world for unique & funky drums breaks they could turn into songs of the own. The Tri-Force's New York City block parties is where the foundation of Hip-Hop developed with the help of MCs who used percussive, chanting street language poetry style over the sampling of funky breakbeats. It was at this time that AfrikaBambaatta labeled the new music "Hip-Hop" in an article in the Village Voice in 1982, in reference to the use of the word in SugarHill Gang's track Rapper Delight and LoveBug Starski's track Positive Life.
A former gang warlord of the Black Spades, Bambaataa vowed to use Hip-Hop to draw angry kids out of gangs and formed the Universal Zulu Nation whose values are Peace, Love, Unity and Having Fun. Now almost 40 years later the Zulu Nation is an international organization with autonomous branches in Japan, France, the UK, Australia, South Korea and South Africa. Inspired by his own world view shift when he won an essay contest to visit Africa as a young man, Bambaataa tours all over the world as an ambassador of Hip-hop and brings young at-risk youth from NYC along with him to give them a global experience.
Still extremely active, Bam continues to record, tour and educate, maintaining his status as a living legend and forefather of the art. In 2012, Cornell University announced the appointment of DJ Afrika Bambaataa as a visiting scholar for a three year term where he will discuss the origins of hip-hop and the cultural relevance and race-related aspects of the American artistic movement.
The Godfather of Hip-Hop, Afrika Bambaataa, the man who defined Hip-Hop Culture (MCing, DJing, B-boying and graffiti writing) performs in Toronto on Friday December 21st at Revival Bar.