aka Afrika Bambaataa Aasim
|Jason Donovan||April 10, 1960 - South Bronx, New York|
Afrika Bambaataa was an avid collector of all kinds of
records and had experimented with the art of DJ'ing. After Bambaataa saw other
deejays, like Kool DJ D and Kool DJ Herc, his interest intensified even more. At the
same time Bambaataa was a member of the Bronx River Division of the Black Spades gang and
had become a warlord. By 1973 the Black Spades were dissipating and Bam formed a
group at Stevenson High School that performed under the name Bronx River Organization,
later named The Organization. The members were Mr. Biggs, Queen Kenya, and DJ Cowboy
(the same as the first Soul Sonic Force.)
About a year later Bambaataa reformed The Organization and called them the Zulu Nation, whose named was inspired by Bambaataa's African studies. As he got more notoriety for his abilities more and more MC's, DJ's, Breakdancers, Graffiti artists joined.the Zulu Nation. The Zulu nation was also a way for kids to avoid gangs. Like George Clinton, Bam had other groups within the main group. Two groups were the b-boys and b-girls known as the Shaka Zulu Kings and the Shaka Zulu Queens. Another group was the Soul Sonic Force, which originally contained about 20 members.
The Members were as follows:
Soul Sonic Force #1-Mr. Biggs, Queen Kenya, DJ Cowboy
Soul Sonic Force #2-Mr. Biggs, Pow Wow, G.L.O.B.E., DJ Jazzy Jay
Cosmic Force-Queen Lisa Lee, Prince Ikey C, Ice Ice (#1), Chubby Chub; Jazzy Five-DJ Jazzy Jay, Mr. Freeze, Master D.E.E., Kool DJ Red Alert, Sundance, Ice Ice (#2), Charlie Chew, Master Bee; Busy Bee Starski, Akbar (aka Lil' Starski), Raheim
He was known for having a wider variety of records, which meant you could hear James Brown but he could also hit you up with the theme to The Andy Griffith Show or the them from Pink Panther. He was also noted for sometimes mixing in speeches from Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Louis Farrakhan.
Afrika Bambaataa participated in many battles and even set his own rules for battles. Some battles consisted of deejays setting up their systems and they played at the same time, the winner was the DJ with the loudest system. Bambaataa would have each DJ on the opposite sides of the park or room, then the DJ's would take turns playing for an hour. This turned battles into a battle of skill rather than volume. Bambaataa's first official battle was against Disco King Mario at Junior High School 123, nicknamed the Funky 3. Another DJ of note that Bam battled was Casanova Fly, who would later rename himself Grandmaster Caz, at the Police Athletic Leagle (P.A.L.) Also, Bam teamed up with Disco King Mario and DJ Tex to battle Grandmaster Flash and his companions. Bambaataa also teamed up with Kool Herc and promoted shows under the moniker Nubian Productions.
In 1980 Bambaataa and the Cosmic Force recorded
two songs on a label called Paul Winley Records. Bambaataa recorded "Death Mix",
while the Cosmic Force recorded "Zulu Nation Throwdown", however Bam was
disappointed with the songs. So he returned to performing in clubs like the Audubon
Ballroom and the T-Connection. News of his parties spread and Tom Silverman visited one of
Bam's parties and wrote an article about him and the Zulu Nation in Dance Music Report
starting a friendship between the two. Around 1982 Fab 5 Freddy was booking artists in mostly white Manhattan new-wave clubs and he invited Bambaataa to perform a show at the Mudd club. The shows were extremely successful and soon he was moving to larger clubs like the Ritz, Peppermint Lounge, Negril, Danceteria, and the Roxy. It was at these shows that Bam would meet the Rock Steady Crew and subsequently their joining of the Zulu Nation.
In 1982 Afrika Bambaataa brought an idea for a record inspired by a Kraftwerk song called "Trans-Europe Express" to Tom Silverman. Bambaataa and Tom, along with John Robie (who Bambaataa recently met) and Arthur Baker collaborated on the idea and the result was the legendary "Planet Rock," performed with the second Soul Sonic Force. Bambaataa dubbed the sound he had created "Electrofunk" and by September of 1982 "Planet Rock" had gone gold.
In the fall of 1982 Bam and the Zulu Nation went on a successful tour of Europe, bringing Hip Hop influence over seas. In 1983 Bam and the Soul Sonic Force released "Looking for the Perfect Beat," followed by "Renegades of Funk." Bam would make many influential records in the years to follow, including a song named "Unity" with James Brown, which some people billed "the Godfather of Soul meets the Godfather of Hip Hop." Bambaataa also worked on the antiapartheid album Sun City, and was named one of Life magazine's "Most Important People of the 20th Century" in 1990. In 1994 Bambaataa and the Soul Sonic Force regrouped to make the album Ominous Isthumus.
Afrika Bambaataa, in full living color (11 KB)
Guess Who? (16 KB)
Zulu #1 (78 KB)
The adventures of Afrika Bambaataa on the Wheels of Steel (68 KB)
Planet Rock - Streaming -or- Download