Hip hop was perhaps the first post-modern popular music. From its earliest days in the toughest parts of the Bronx, the cut and paste technique was used to create the sound. DJ Kool Herc discovered that if he played only the parts of records that made the crowd go wild – which he labelled the breaks – he could create a unique party style. Others joined in and by the end of the 70s recordings were being made, with backing tracks that sounded like they were constructed from parts of old records. Breaks were searched for by DJs and collectors alike. When sampling technology made it possible, more and more obscure records were appropriated to make up the music behind the hip hop hits. The “Super Breaks” series gathers up some of the best and most sought-after of the records that have been sampled, be it the straight-ahead funk of the Fatback Band, the electronic freak-out of Jean Jacques Perrey, or the extreme oddness of Fifty Foot Hose.
By Dean Rudland
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