August 11, 1973: DJ Kool Herc throws the famous "Back to school jam" at 1520 Sedgwick Ave.
Hip-Hop would be born! During his set, he decided to do something different. Instead of playing the songs in full, he played only their instrumental sections, or “breaks” - sections where he noticed the crowd went wild. During these “ breaks” his friend Coke La Rock hyped up the crowd with a microphone. And with that, Hip Hop was born.
The importance of DJ Kool Herc
Clive Campbell, a.k.a. the Jamaican-American DJ known as DJ Kool Herc (which was an evolution of the nickname "Hercules" that he picked up in the neighborhood), was instrumental in the creation of the sound of hip-hop. Not only did his Jamaican roots bring forth the idea of having a DJ (or "selector") rapping (or "toasting") over the music they were playing, but he also brought the reggae sound system set-up to parties. What Herc was mostly known for was what he dubbed the "Merry-Go Round," a technique that he used to elongate certain parts of funk records that the kids on the dance floor would lose their shit to. That section of the record is also known as "the break" (or "the get down,") and those sections of these funk records became popularly known as "breakbeats."
The beauty of Herc's set-up was that once he would find that section of the record, he would create a loop live in front of the crowd using the two turntables and the crossfader on the mixer, allowing the dancers to go ballistic to the extended breakbeat.