The Bronx will be recognized for its role in the creation of Hip-Hop, in a "Place Of Invention" exhibit at the Smithsonian.
The Bronx has been an important fixture in the creation of hip-hop since the early beginnings of theÂ genre. The New York borough is finally getting some recognition in the role it played in birthing the genre, as it will be honored at the Smithsonian as a "Place Of Invention" in regards to its pioneering status in rap.Â Â
The Bronx will be honored alongside other "hot spots" of innovation such as Hollywood and Silicon Valley, in the exhibit which will take place at theÂ Smithsonianâs Lemelson Center in Washington, D.C.Â âThe Bronx (in the 1970s) is an interesting contrast to Silicon Valley, which is kind of the stereotypical example,â said Laurel Fritzsch, the curator ofÂ the Bronx portion of the exhibit.Â âInventors in the Bronx had a lot of hands-on skills and were able to apply that in ways that led to the creation of these innovative sound systems.â
Fritzsch spoke of the influence of early Bronx DJs on later music technology. With Grandmaster Flash constructing his own mixer with spare parts, and DJ Kool Herc using Jamaican sound systems that helped define the distinct sounds DJs would use for years to come.Â âModern mixers and a lot of the speakers and sound systems came out of what (early DJs) created,â he revealed.
Along withÂ boomboxes,Â vinyl, hip hop flyers and videos, the exhibit will feature music systems powered by streetlamps, a method early DJs used, hotwiring the fixtures to power their DJ equipment.
âI think itâs really cool that theyâre doing something like this,â said Grand Wizzard Theodore, who is known for the invention of scratching. âPeople need to know the history behind it all.â
The DJ expressed that scratching, and other elements ofÂ the beginnings of hip hop have not had enough exposure, especially to younger generations.
âScratching plays such a major part in DJing,â he said. âIt gives you the chance to express yourself, the chance to get into mixing. Itâs just so important no matter the genre of music youâre into.â
Fordham Universityâs Mark NaisonÂ also had praise for the exhibit, offering kind words for the Bronx pioneers.
âThere was all this inventing going on at the time so it makes perfect sense that theyâre honoring the Bronx,â said Naison, professor of African American Studies and History. âItâs a wonderful thing theyâre doing.â