Hip-Hop at 50 – Playlist for Black History Month

Hip-Hop at 50 – Playlist for Black History Month

Throughout Black History Month our de facto ‘DJ-in-residence’ at The London Art Bar, Kwadjo Lancelot, is sharing a selection of carefully curated playlists, celebrating Black excellence and Black joy. Enjoy!

An underground cultural exchange, created out of musicianship, innovation, and initiative, lack of equipment. This playlist is dedicated to 50 years of hip-hop.


August 1973: Bronx, NYC – DJ Kool Herc throws an end-of-summer hols party. His mixing techniques are adopted by fellow DJs everywhere. A few years later, Grandmaster Flash perfects ‘the Get Down‘ technique. There are no computers, no samplers, just DJ Kool, two turntables,  – with two of the same vinyl records, and “the get down”. Half a century later, Hop Hop’s influence is undeniably everywhere within mainstream pop music.

For the last 100 years music of black origin, as created as a form of protest, expression, and so on, has been found by mainstream White Culture and then exported into a product that can be sold. See, Jazz music, see Elvis, see Rock & Roll,  R ‘n’ B (Beatles and Rolling Stones) see Disco, see Paris is Burning (Drag culture and nearly all the phrases used in RuPaul’s Drag Race), see House music.. and of course: see Hip Hop.

The list goes on and on and on. Influence from Romantic eras, Barque genre, Renaissance period music: all in all – classical music. The development of music notation even when we look at the history of the principle of syncopation – Google says it is “a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected which make part or all of a tune or piece of music off-beat.” can be traced back to African Origins. The Pentatonic scale, a scale of notes that is used all over popular music, is a scale that is found in ancient Far Eastern folk music and is EVERYWHERE.

Music is not the only thing the African diaspora – or Black individuals – has contributed has moulded, rehashed, influenced, and amalgamated, (For example, here is a news piece I wrote back in 2021) I felt my own focus),  but 2023 feels like the perfect year to focus on music. Especially – Hip Hop.

Loved this? Have a read of these BHM pieces and playlists: British Bigwigs and Rest In Power too!


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