When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill; pictures by Theodore Taylor III []

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In his introduction to Jeff Chang’s book Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation, DJ Kool Herc says, “Hip-hop is the voice of this generation.” This picture book tells the story of the beginning of hip hop in the Bronx. Clive wanted to be a DJ since he was young. He grew up in Kingston, Jamaica and looked up to a DJ named King George. Clive moved to New York to live with his mama when he was 13 years old. He started going by the name Kool Herc and became DJ Kool Herc when he was able to rewire his father’s sound system to get a really big sound! He was the first person to use two turntables to extend the break so people could really dance to the music. DJ Kool Herc was in high demand for house parties and street parties. He would plug his sound system into the lampposts to get power. The music was just one part of the budding hip hop culture in the Bronx. Hip hop has its own music (rap and beats), its own dance (break dancing) and its own visual art (graffiti). DJ Kool Herc loved music and his contribution to hip hop is something kids should be reading about!

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