1980 - A Year In Rap

So, moving on to the events of 1980, produced with some assistance from Mr Wiggles of the Rock Steady Crew’s ‘Hip Hop Timeline’, here is a round up of some of the significant hip hop related events of 1980:- The number of commercially released rap records explodes with release statistics dwarfing those of 1979.

- The phenomenon of the rap album starts to take hold with long players from Blowfly, The Sequence and Kurtis Blow (pictured above) hitting the stores. (The Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Sugarhill’ was the only rap long player of 1979).

- Seen paints the famous “Hand of Doom” top to bottom whole car and Dondi paints “The Children of the Grave” top to bottom whole car, both later featured in the centre spread section of Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s seminal “Subway Art”, the first commercially available book to document graffiti art and culture. Dondi died of an AIDS related illness in 1998. The Dondi White Foundation, founded after his death, uses contributions made in Dondi’s memory to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS.

- Fab 5 Freddy paints the pop-art influenced “Campbell’s Soup Cans” (as featured heavily in the work of Andy Warhol) top to bottom on the IRT line.

- Zapp releases the West Coast funk classic “More Bounce to the Ounce”, accepted by the West Coast poppers as a dance anthem and later heavily sampled in late 80s / early 90s hip hop.

- The New York Post reports the arrest of the High Times crew for B Boying in Washington Heights train station.

- Poppin Pete appears in the first music video to feature a break style dancer, Talking Heads’ ‘Crosseyed and Painless’.

- The popularity of hip hop events in commercial clubs rises. On Saturday November 15th, a jam takes place at New York’s Ecstasy Garage featuring one of hip hop’s biggest line ups; GW the Adore, Fantastic 5, Kool DJ AJ, Buzy Bee, Starski, Mean Gene, Gregski Mercedes Ladies, Fantasy 4, Erotic Disco Brothers and more.

- Another legendary jam takes place a month later: On December 19th, “A Slam Dunk Disco” features Sha Rock (of the Funky 4) vs Lil Bit (of Mean Machine) and Grandmaster Caz (of Cold Crush) vs Chief Rocker Starski and more.

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