Archive: The Afrika Bambaataa Master of Records Vinyl Archive at Cornell

Boo-Hooray and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, together with Afrika Bambaataa, the Universal Zulu Nation and Cornell University Library announced the public archiving of one of the most important record collections in the history of hip-hop: The Afrika Bambaataa Master Of Records vinyl archive.

Through Summer 2013, Boo-Hooray organized, catalogued, and documented Afrika Bambaataa’s peerless vinyl record collection at Gavin Brown’s enterprise. Open archiving, like an archaeological dig or a group of students viewing biological research in a museum, is an important and rarely seen part of the process of documenting history. Before the Afrika Bambaataa archive moved to its permanent home at Cornell University’s Hip Hop Collection in Fall 2013, Johan Kugelberg and Gavin Brown’s enterprise offered visitors a unique opportunity to experience what is arguably the most important gathering of vinyl in the history of hip-hop.

Visitors were encouraged to stop by and see how the cultural artifacts of this important strand of American history are preserved, all the while legendary DJs like Red Alert, Jazzy Jay, Rich Medina, and Muro spun records from Afrika Bambaataa’s collection.

Originally from the South Bronx, Afrika Bambaataa is among the most influential American DJs. He is considered the godfather of hip-hop culture and was instrumental in the rise of electro funk and break-beat deejaying beginning in the 1980s.

His involvement with Bronx street gang the Black Spades in their transformation into community activists is legendary, as is his founding of the internationally known hip-hop organization Universal Zulu Nation. Bambaataa is responsible for spreading and popularizing hip-hop’s unmistakable sounds and beats alongside its culture throughout the world.

Due to his early use and mixing of drum machines and computer sounds, Afrika Bambaataa created signature beats (such as his first widely popular single “Planet Rock” of 1982), which helped fuel the development of other musical genres such as Freestyle or Latin Freestyle, Miami Bass, Electronica, House, Hip House and early Techno. He has consistently made records nationally and internationally, spanning the 1980s into the 2000s.

In 2012, Afrika Bambaataa was appointed to a three-year term as a visiting scholar at Cornell University, where his vinyl collection resides as part of the Cornell University Library Hip Hop Collection, the largest collection on hip-hop culture in the world.


JULY 11 - AUGUST 10, 2013