Today’s Google Doodle celebrates how, on this day 44 years ago, hip hop had its first major breakthrough at a birthday party in the Bronx. DJ Kool Herc noticed how people tended to dance at the most percussive parts of funk songs—called the breaks—and used two copies of the same record to extend and transform the beats into loops. The dances during these breaks became, literally, breakdancing, and rapping over these loops soon followed.
The doodle includes an animated introductory video, narrated by the legendary hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy—and wonderfully, an actual set of internet turntables and a library of classic records to scratch and mix to your heart’s content.
Just try not to idle away hours mixing beats.
“Hip Hop touches so many parts of culture but a lot of people don’t know much about its origins,” said Perla Campos, one of the Google employees behind the Doodle, in an interview on Google’s blog. “So, we anchored the Doodle to the birth of Hip Hop, and wanted to celebrate the people who pioneered the movement. We hope to give them the voice and the recognition they deserve, which is what Doodles are all about—shining light on times of history that maybe you didn’t know about.”
It also touches on the continued influence hip hop and tech have on each other, Fab 5 Freddy said.
“It was a full circle experience for me,” Freddy said. “I first went online in 1994—I even remember doing a segment on “Yo! MTV Raps” about email. And going back to when I first got on the internet, I was looking for likeminded people who were part of the culture. And now, Hip Hop is on one of the biggest digital platforms out there, in a way that acknowledges and recognizes what this culture is, and what it continues to be. It’s pretty amazing.”
Not a bad way to laze away one of your last summer Fridays.
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