No one is saying, “That’s who created rap.” It is quite different from today. The concept of rap is not quite the same. There’s not one person that did it. It wasn’t any one song, but different people from different time periods, they took it to different places, they changed the art form, and they introduced it into a different culture. Rap started in Memphis, and that is the only city in the United States for the first five years of the twentieth century. But it started in Mississippi, and they had a different culture.
Then rap made its way to the mainland, and then to Japan, for example. It’s from that point that rap started to spread, and there was a difference in that culture. There was a difference in the approach, a different way of making your music, and the difference in the approach when it comes to who does that kind of music, or who makes it.
You started a whole new genre of rap in the 1970s.
Yeah, in the 1970s we had our own style of being rap, which was very different from the whole Western thing, and that style went completely by the wayside. There was a new movement to be rap, which was rap for everyone. The whole concept of Rap became like “Who invented rap?,” and no one can say no.
That was the first wave of rap that began in the early ’70s. What was that like?
It was a new thing for the world to experience. In 1970s Harlem, the place where everybody was talking was jazz, which had been around in the United States for a while. Jazz was really the culture. It could be hip-hop, and it could be country music, and it wasn’t just a matter of making music, but it was a concept from the beginning. All of these things were being talked about simultaneously. In my head it just became this movement and the concept of the music. There was a new approach.
What did people in Harlem start listening to then, and the next decade?
Well, the culture that was around then took the same approach as what had been happening in the music world. By that time jazz had been around for some time. There were other styles that were taking shape, too. There was hip-hop, but hip-hop didn’t come out of Harlem. It came out of New York, and from the late nineteen-sixties to the late eighties
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