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Godfather of hip-hop, Afrika Bambaataa, makes rare S. FL appearance

mcneir | 6/14/2013, 12:07 p.m.

The early soldiers in hip-hop master-mixing are names that have risen to iconic stature Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and DJ Hollywood are just a few. But those in the know will tell you that it was Afrika Bambaataa, often referred to as Bam, who is the true godfather of hip-hop. As one of the three originators of break-beat deejaying in the early 80s and the founder of the culture-oriented Universal Zulu Nation [founded in NYC on Nov. 12, 1973], Bam is acknowledged as being one of the artists responsible for spreading hip-hop throughout the world. Who can forget the song Planet Rock that he and Soul Sonic Force recorded some 30 years ago? It became a theme song of sorts for the emerging hip-hop movement which Bam said included four elements: the music of DJS, the lyricism and poetry of emcees, the dancing of b-boys and b-girls and graffiti art. The song is one of the most sampled in history and is credited with developing the electro style and helping to pave the way for other genres including: house, bass, trance, techno and EDM. More about the man called Bam Bam, who grew up in The Bronx River Projects, became a warlord in a gang called the Black Spades. But the mission of Bam and the Black Spades was not to incite violence but rather to protect their turf and their community, riding the projects of drug dealers, assisting with community-based health programs and when necessary, fighting to keep members and turf safe. His name change, which in Zulu means affectionate leader, was one of several steps that he took in turning his turf-building skills to peace-building. Bambaataa will be in Miami on Saturday, June 14 to help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first United Zulu Nation [UZN] Chapter founded in Florida which was based in Miami and established in 1993 by Omar Iz. Since its founding, Iz and others have worked towards spreading UZNs positive mission of uplifting its members and their surrounding communities with the powerful and positive aspects of hip-hop culture. The event, which kicks off at 9 p.m. at the PAX [Performing Arts Exchange, 337 SW 8th Street] is also a fundraiser for the UZNs Miami Chapter and will feature some of the greatest DJs and MC performers in hip-hop history, live painting and an art exhibition. Bam was unable to talk with The Miami Times as he was touring in London, but he promises to sit down with us during his stay in Miami. Dont miss it. For more info about the show, visit Afrika Bambaataa and UZNs Facebook page. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com