Tag: Afrika Bambaataa

  • Hiphop Nation: What It Is

    A gift to be swift follow the leader the rhyme will go… Everybody has an opinion. MARLEY MARL: I think Eric B. went over the board, I think he went outra­geous with “You Gotta Have Soul.” He took the name of the record, the drum sounds, everything. I mean, he should have just given them […]

  • 1984 Pazz & Jop: The Rise of the Corporate Single

    The 11th or 12th Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll is fraught with many significances. You got capitalism rampant and alternative capitalism and maybe even alternative politics, you got 1984 come true and the light at the end of the tunnel. You got three top 10 bands from Minneapolis and try to make a “sound” out […]

  • 1983 Pazz & Jop: Who Else? A Goddamn Critics’ Band, That’s Who Else

    Only rock critics will understand how such a thing could be, but for a while there it looked as if R.E.M.’s Murmur — known jocularly among skeptics as Mumble — might actually outdistance Michael Jackson’s Thriller in the 10th or 11th annual Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll. This dire possibility reflected the ambivalence with which the most […]

  • 1982 Pazz & Jop: Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome

    Because jazz criticism is one of the many things I know too little about, Otis Ferguson was only a name to me when The Otis Ferguson Reader came my way last fall, and I hope his admirers will accept the compliment I intended when I claim him (for symbolic purposes, at least) as the first […]


    If there’s one thing regrettable about Afrika Bambaataa’s legacy, it’s the way that — for many — it has been reduced to one or two songs, namely “Planet Rock” and “Looking For a Perfect Beat,” jammers that were not only important for hip-hop, but also set off 30-plus years of dance and electro. As a […]


    Who knew that Lonely Island’s “I’m on a Boat” wasn’t just a mildly funny parody rap, but also a statement on the future of New York City nightlife? OK, boat parties aren’t quite that, but where on land are you gonna find a lineup as strong as on the .WAVs cruise? (Don’t say the Boiler […]

  • Finding Hip-Hop’s Beginning in Afrika Bambaataa’s 40,000-Deep Record Collection

    Endless rows of brand-new white cardboard boxes stacked chest-high greet you as you walk into Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, a posh art gallery on Greenwich. An amber-haired archivist in his early 30s gingerly scans the contents of one the boxes, fishes out a vinyl record, and hands it to me. It’s a dog-eared and dusty copy […]


    Is it possible for a lineup to be too good? Actually, yes. Crowd a night with too many DJs, no matter how good they might be, and they’ll often have trouble connecting with the crowd, playing hits rather than developing a rhythm. But that’s a risk you’re going to have to take when Red Bull […]

  • Spring Arts Guide Picks: Music

    DJ Spinn & DJ Rashad, Afrika Bambaataa May 23 The Red Bull Music Academy, a series of concerts, club nights, talks, and films, runs from April 28 to May 31 all over town, and it means business. (The show on May 2 at the Knockdown Center in Queens—featuring Oren Ambarchi, Peter Rehberg, and Kim Gordon’s […]

  • “Old-School Three Times Over”: Meet Afrika Bambaataa, Cornell Professor

    Afrika Bambaataa has been an unofficial professor of hip-hop for so long, it makes perfect sense that Cornell University would appoint the pioneering Bronx born DJ and founder of the Universal Zulu Nation to a three-year term as a visiting scholar. “Wherever I go on the planet, I’m always teachin’ — tryin’ to wake people […]