hip hop and Barry Popik

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Thu Dec 2 05:46:30 UTC 2004

On Wed, 1 Dec 2004 15:37:25 -0600, Mullins, Bill
<Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:

>Barry's web page on Hip Hop:
>"The name  hip hop  probably emerged in 1979 for the lyric in the popular
>song  Rapper s Delight.  . .  .The term  hip-hop  became known to the
>general public in 1983. "
>I don't disagree with that, but think some intermediate credit should be
>given to Debbie Harry's group "Blondie" for their 1981 song "Rapture",
>which was the first place this white boy heard the term, and which was
>the first rap song to enter the white mainstream.

Various rap histories credit Lovebug Starski with being the first to use
"hip hop" in his rhymes in the late '70s.  (I believe Wonder Mike of the
Sugarhill Gang has admitted to borrowing the "hip hop" line in "Rapper's
Delight" from Starski.)  Afrika Bambaataa usually gets the credit for
applying the term "hip-hop" to the entire B-boy subculture surrounding rap

The website for Bambaataa's collective, the Zulu Nation, gives some of the
early history: <http://zulunation.com/hip_hop_history_2.htm>.  There's
more in this interview with Bambaataa:


MS - How did the name Hip Hop originate? And how did your career as a DJ
first begin?
AB - The phrase Hip Hip came from Love Bug Starski, who used to use it in
their rhymes. Back then the music had no name, maybe Boi-oi-oing, or Be
Bop. Pulling it together as a culture, the name hip hop started with
myself and the Universal Zulu Nation. Back then we were doing our Disco
thing- Love Bug, myself, Kool DJ D, DJ Hollywood, and others, back when
there was no Hip Hop. Then Kool Herc came playing all those break beats,
and I already had those types of records, so I started playing all that
same stuff after him, and we sat down and started compiling the music and
that became what developed into the culture of Hip Hop.

--Ben Zimmer

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