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Pioneers

Afrika Bambaataa


By Christine Obiamalu


Afrika Bambaataa


Lance Taylor is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip-hop culture. He is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and is respectfully known as "The Godfather" and "Amen Ra of Hip Hop Kulture", as well as the father of electro-funk. Through his co-opting of the street gang the Black Spades into the music and culture- oriented Universal Zulu Nation, he has helped spread hip hop culture throughout the world.  Afrika Bambaataa ascended to godfather status with "Planet Rock," the 1982 hip-hop classic that blended the beats of hip-hop with techno-pop futurism inspired by German pioneers Kraftwerk. Even before he began recording in 1980, Bambaataa was hip-hop's foremost DJ, an organizer and promoter of the large block parties during the mid- to late '70s that presaged the rise of rap. After the success of "Planet Rock," he recorded electro-oriented rap only sparingly, concentrating instead on fusion. Bambaataa had moved to the background by the late '80s (as far as hip-hop was concerned), but the rise of his Zulu Nation collective -- including De La Soul, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Jungle Brothers -- found him once more being tipped as one of rap's founding fathers.

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