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August 11, 1973. At 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, 18-year-old DJ Kool Herc plays his first New York City party. The dance floor is packed, the energy is wild, and Herc gives the performance of a lifetime featuring one very specific innovation on the turntables. Herc and the partygoers don’t know it yet, but this event will go down in history as the birth of one of the most popular musical genres—hip hop. How did this party give way to a multi-billion dollar industry? And how has hip hop become so much more than the music?


Special thanks to our guest, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal and to DJ Silva Sirfa and D-Nasty Tha Master for the music in this episode.


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