No one person invented hip-hop, but Afrika Bambaataa may have left the most fingerprints on it. In the ’70s, he quit the Black Spades street gang and founded the Zulu Nation, a collective of MCs, DJs and b-boys/girls that supplied the soundtrack to the South Bronx and helped give birth to a genre. Aside from working the turntables, Bambaataa made a number of his own records, the biggest hit being 1982s “Planet Rock,” and he also collaborated with everyone from James Brown to Johnny Rotten.
Bambaataa is mostly retired now—he’s currently a visiting scholar at Cornell University—but his beats are banging once more as DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist come together to dig in the great one’s crates. The duo is touring with a selection of the 42,000 discs that earned Bambaataa the title of “Master of Records,” a collection that ranges from dub to Dixieland and Dionne Warwick to Depeche Mode. Shadow and Cut Chemist will pay homage by using them to rock an old-school party, albeit with some new twists. They’ll play both “Planet Rock” and the Kraftwerk track it sampled, using equipment from the ’70s and ’80s as a nod to Bambaataa’s golden era.
At the end of the tour, the records will be returned to Cornell’s Hip-Hop Collection, where the process of digitally archiving all 42,000 of them is under way. We imagine it’ll take a while.
Renegades of Rhythm
DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist play Afrika Bambaataa, 8 p.m. (doors at 7) Sept. 29, at Brooklyn Bowl, $22, 702-862-2695, Vegas.BrooklynBowl.com.