The godfather of hip-hop himself Afrika Bambaataa has clarified that the genre he helped build is now “a world phenomenon.” The face of Zulu Nation sat down with VladTV to talk about the beginning of the hip-hop movement back in the late 1970s. He emphasized that hip-hop started in the Black and Latino neighborhoods but has now become an international community. The “Planet Rock” emcee responded to Lord Jamar’s comments he made back in 2013 that white artists “are guests in the house of Hip Hop.”
“Well, that’s true with anybody that really gets in Hip Hop,” said Afrika Bambaataa. “Whites definitely was guests, but now they’re part of hip-hop. Cause Hip Hop now is a world phenomenon. And it’s respected in many different countries, towns, and cities on our great planet. And yes, it started in the Black, Latino community.. It started from our community and now it’s a world community.”
He continued by speaking about the time when he first saw white deejays and emcees, who had actually came from the punk rock era. Afrika Bambaataa also spoke on his relationship with the pioneer of the game DJ Kool Herc and went into detail about how the term “hip-hop” came to be. While the named of the music came from local emcees, Bambaataa said that it was the Zulu Nation who dubbed the culture with the name we know and love today.
“The term itself comes from the clichéd raps of Keith Cowboy and Lovebug Starsky, who was using it in they raps,” Afrika Bambaataa said. “When we decided to call the culture Hip Hop, it came from us. When they wanted to give it a name, I looked back at what they was saying and I said ‘You know what? This is Hip Hop. Cause it’s something that’s hip and it makes you hop to the groove, to the beat.’ Cause we didn’t have no name before it. We was calling it [bo-yoing-yoing], the go-off, and all types of other names we used to call it. So, it was really Universal Zulu Nation that we decided to call the whole culture, movement, Hip Hop. Cause it was no culture. It was nothing under that until we decided to say ‘Come on, b-boys. Come on, deejays. Come on, emcees. Come on, aerosol writers.’ And adding that fifth element to it called knowledge. And calling it elements came from the Universal Zulu Nation.”
Watch the full interview above.