August 11, 1973 may not mean much to those not in the know, but for me, it is a pivotal point in the evolution and creation of a culture. A nondescript party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, concocted by Cindy Campbell, sister of Hip Hop legend Clive "Kool Herc" Campbell, paved the way for this thing we revere, take for granted, utilize, abuse: Hip Hop. “I didn’t want to go to Fordham Road to buy clothes because you’d go to school and see everybody with the same thing on,” Cindy Campbell said in an interview about that fateful initial party. “I wanted to go to Delancey Street and get something unusual.” In her eyes, that unusual was clothing, but in the bigger picture what we received was the birth of a culture, or at least the planting of the proverbial seeds.
This is how the original invite looked on a simple, yet quite effective index card. Even in infancy, Hip Hop made its mark with simplicity, and in a positive manner. Truth be told, Hip Hop would have most likely evolved if this party would have never existed, but this DJ Kool Herc party surely served as a catalyst for a cultural explosion that started as a very slow burn initially. With August 11th in the past, we can reflect on how a Back To School Jam opened the doors for those that followed, be it Grandmaster Flash, The Cold Crush Brothers, The Treacherous Three, Run-DMC, LL Cool J, NWA, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Queen Latifah, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Jay-Z, Nas, Biggie, Tupac, Souls Of Mischief, Pharcyde, The Geto Boys, Outkast, Goodie MOB, The Roots, The Fugees, Ludacris, T.I., Foxy Brown, Li'l Kim, Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Kendrick Lamar, and a plethora of other colorful monikers. Let's give everlasting thanks to the foresight of those that participated and made this historic party occur at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in West Bronx!