Hip Hop Firsts

1974: Influenced by the Carribean style of "toast" and "boast", the pioneers began taking their turntables and speakers into parks and lightly rhyming over records. ("To tha beat y'all" or "And ya don't stop.")

1975: "Emceeing" evolved from party shouts like "Kool Herc is in the house and he'll turn it out without a doubt".

1976: Bambaataa's first official DJ battle was against Disco King Mario at Junior High School 123 (a.k.a. the Funky 3).

1977: DJ Disco Wiz credited for being the first Latino DJ.

1979: First rap hit was "Rappers Delight" by Sugar Hill Gang.

"Rappers Delight" Lyrics
Listen to "Rappers Delight"


1980: Kurtis Blow releases "The Breaks" on Mercury Records, which went on to sell more than a million copies. "The Breaks" helped to spread hip hop's popularity among a wider audience.
  "The Breaks" Lyrics
Listen to "The Breaks"

1980: Kurtis Blow is the first hip hop artist to appear on national television. He performs "The Breaks" on Soul Train in October.

1981: On February 14th, The Funky 4 plus One More performed their classic hit, 'That's The Joint" on NBC's Saturday Night Live becoming the first hip hop group to appear on national television.
Listen to "That's the Joint"

1981: ABC's 20/20 shows the first national television coverage of the "Rap Phenomenon".

1982: "The Message" by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five took a harder look at social issues in its portrayal of black inner-city life. "The Message" is considered the first political rap.
  "The Message" Lyrics
Listen to "The Message"

1982: Popular graffiti artist Futura 2000 puts out a record with himself rhyming called "Futura 2000 and His Escapades" with music done by the Clash, signifying the beginning of the rock/rap fusion.

"Wild Style", co-created by Fab 5 Freddy and directed by Charlie Ahearn, is released featuring the first full-length account of all four elements in hip hop culture: Graffiti, DJing, MCing, and B-boying. The actors are played by the real members of New York's hip hop scene including graffiti legends Lee, Zephyr, Fab 5 Freddy, Lady Pink, Crash, Daze, Dondi, and showcases performances from Grandmaster Flash, Grandwizard Theodore, DJ AJ, Grandmixer D.S.T and Rock Steady Crew members: Crazy Legs and Frosty Freeze. The soundtrack was produced by Fab 5 Freddy and Chris Stein with performances by Double Trouble, Cold Crush Brothers, Fantastic Freaks, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Rammelizee and Shockdell.

1983: Herbie Hancock and Grandmaster D.S.T cut "Rockit," the first hip-hop/jazz cross-over.
Listen to "Rockit"

1983: Ice T puts out his first singles, "Cold Winter Madness" and "Body Rock/Killers" which are considered some of the first West Coast gangster raps.

1983: Michael Jackson first performs the moonwalk on Motown 25 TV Special.

1983: The NYC Breakers were formed by Michael Holman (Manager) in late 1983 adding members like "Flip Rock", "Icey Ice', "Powerful Pexter" to the existing "Floormasters" crew. The "Floormasters" crew did many shows like "That's Incredible", Merv Griffin and others. The NYC breakers traveled the world performing and even performed for President Reagan as well as appearing in the movie Beat Street.

1983: Breakin' and Enterin', a documentary about California poppin' and lockin' filmed in Los Angeles airs on cable TV, featuring Shabba Doo, Boogaloo shrimp, Pop 'n' Taco, Blue City Strutters (aka Boo Ya Tribe), and Ice-T, Egyptian Lover, Chris "The Glove" Taylor.

The Fresh Fest concert tour, featuring Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Fat Boys, and Newcleus, is hip-hop's first big money making tour ($3.5 million for 27 dates).

Los Angeles's KDAY becomes the first rap-only radio station in the U.S.

1984: Breakdancing goes global via Lionel Richie's performance at the Closing Ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

1984: Michael Holman (manager of The NYC Breakers) creates hip hop's first TV dance show, "Graffiti Rock" with special guests - Run DMC, Shannon, The NYC Breakers, Kool Moe Dee and Special K of The Treacherous Three (who also battled Run DMC on the show). It is cancelled after only one show.

1986: Run-D.M.C. releases a hip-hop version of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way," and hop-hop breaks into the pop charts, MTV, and mass media all at once.
  "Walk this Way" lyrics
Listen to "Walk this Way"

1986: Schoolly D releases "PSK-What does it mean" independently. The acronym stands for Park Side Killers, a Philly Gang D was affiliated with. Unwittingly Schoolly D invents "Gangsta Rap" or "Reality Rap".
  "PSK - What does it mean" lyrics
Listen to "PSK - What does it mean"

1988: Yo! MTV Raps first airs, bringing hip-hop to a wider main stream audience.

1988: N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton goes Gold, popularizing the 'gangsta' school of rap.

1991: N.W.A.'s follow-up record, 1991's "Niggaz4Life," sold 954,000 copies in its first weeks of release to become the first hardcore rap album to hit No. 1 on the charts, despite being banned by some record stores and seized by English authorities as obscene.
  "Niggaz4Life" lyrics
Listen to "Niggaz4Life"

1993: Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" goes multi-platinum and starts a gangsta bandwagon.

1993: HOT 97 switches from a dance format to become "Where Hip Hop Lives", heralding the coming of DJ Funkmaster Flex.

(Source: B-Boys.com)

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