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IT'S ALIVE: Kendrick Lamar "i" (New York City, 2014)

It's Alive briefly devotes the airwaves to live music everyday at 1pm. Tune in today hear this performance and more live tracks!

Today is the 50th anniversary of the birth of Hip-Hop. The beginnings of the genre are abstract and hard to truly pin down, but it is widely attributed to a teen party in the Bronx on August 11, 1973. Cindy Campbell, a resident of the apartment building at 1520 Sedgwick Ave., had the idea to throw a back-to-school party to raise funds for clothes and supplies. She enlisted the help of her brother Clive, now the famous DJ Kool Herc, and they decided to rent the community room of the building.

The word caught on, and the event became one of the DJ’s biggest parties at that point. It was in those times that he originated styles like breakbeat, where he would loop the drum section of a song (or the “beat break”), for the purpose of making more time for dancing (hence the term “breakdancing”).

Since its inception, hip-hop has permeated almost every realm of modern music, culture, and entertainment. What started as a neighborhood party has become a worldwide phenomenon and cultural mainstay. Hip-hop has spawned numerous sub genres, and serves communities all over the world.

Artists like Kendrick Lamar have elevated the genre to new heights while staying loyal to its roots. In 2018, he became the first hip-hop artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for his album DAMN.. This clip finds him during an appearance on Saturday Night Live performing his hit “i” from his 2015 standout To Pimp a Butterfly.

Otis is the late morning host on WFPK. Email Otis at ojunior@lpm.org

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