Afrika Bambaataa is the godfather of hip-hop and the father of electro funk. Few people can genuinely lay such bold claims on any form of electronic music, but this former leader of the New York street gang Black Spades is one of them.
After creating the global, ground-breaking Universal Zulu Nation in the 70s, Afrika Bambaataa showcased his skills in the prominent Bronx rap scene and with the help of his intricate understanding of funky beats has gone on to become one of the most influential producers of his generation with countless seminal albums, including Beware (The Funk Is Everywhere) (1986), The Light (1988), The Decade of Darkness (1991) all in his back catalogue. Together with two other Bronx legends in the form of Grandmaster Flash and Kool DJ Herc, Bambaataa began experimenting with percussive sections from different genres of music such as rock, funk and electro-pop and soon merged them together to produce pioneering new sounds.
His smash-hit 1983 debut single ‘Planet Rock’ quickly went gold and generated an entire movement of electro-funky rap and dance music that still gets referenced today. As well as winning a glut of prominent awards for his work in music – including the Billboards Founders of Hip Hop Award in 2005 and being nominated for the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, Afrika Bambaataa has collaborated with the greatest talents in the world from James Brown to punk singer John Lydon via Boy George, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins.
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