BioThough Afrika Bambaataa has been called "the High Priest of Hip Hop," and "The Godfather of Hip Hop," the passage of time has positioned him as the "Self-Realized Master of Hip Hop" and one of music's brightest burning luminaries of our time.
Originally a member of the Black Spades (one of NY's most feared gangs) in the 70's, Bambaataa defected as a teenager after seeing many of his friends killed. He founded a youth group in his neighborhood called The Zulu Nation, organized with the concept of using music as a path to peace and presenting music-drenched gatherings where neighborhood kids could come together and learn to interact without violence. Using two turntables and funk music as his core, Bambaataa mixed things up by tossing in the spice of dance music, rock music, and even German electronic music such as Kraftwerk.
Afrika's name is synonymous with experimentation. His genre-defying work has inspired countless imitators and served to forge a foundation for everything from Detroit techno to electro. Even ideas as seemingly elemental as speeding up records and playing them backwards are commonplace due largely to the imagination of Afrika Bambaataa.
Bam's long-term mission -- to promote peace by creating joyful records that make people want to come together, dance and celebrate life -- has been a constant throughout his history as an artist. And it continues to this day.