The DJs Who Made It Happen Clive Campbell came from Jamaica to New York City’s South Bronx when he was twelve years old. He was a big kid, and as he grew older, he earned the name Hercules—which eventually, as he became famous for the musical parties where he entertained people as a DJ, turned into “Kool Herc.” Today, Herc and another DJ, known as DJ Hollywood, are credited with being the first to introduce a Jamaican style of music—cutting and mixing—to the South Bronx. Herc is said to be the first person to use two copies of the same record to turn a fifteen-second segment into a piece of music that went on and on. He would set up two turntables so that he could play the same short drum break from a popular funk or disco song for a much longer period. By mixing back and forth between the two records, he used the turntables as musical instruments to create a new sound that changed America’s music scene forever. Music from Jamaica would have an important influence on the development of hip-hop. During the 1950s and 1960s, young American who lived in southern states like Florida could listen to Jamaican stations at night on AM radio stations. The Jamaican music, known as ska, blended elements of American jazz and rhythm and blues with calypso beats and sounds that were popular in the Caribbean. In Jamaica, DJs would set up large sound systems to play the music, and engaged in “toasting,” or shouting rhymes over the ska beats. Jamaicans who moved to the United States, such as Kool Herc, shared this style of music, which quickly became popular in American urban areas. JAMAICAN INFLUENCE


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