Kevin Donovan, 10 April 1960, the Bronx, New York City, New York, USA. His name deriving from that of a nineteenth-century Zulu chief, translating as Chief Affection, Bambaataa was the founding father of New Yorks Zulu Nation. The name was inspired by the movie Zulu, starring Michael Caine, and the code of honour and bravery of its black participants. A loose community of mainly black street youths, Zulu Nation and its leader, more than any other element, helped to transform the gangs of the late 70s into the hip-hop crews of the early 80s. Bambaataa himself had been a member of the notorious Black Spades, among other sects, and from 1977-85 he had a social importance to match his towering MC and DJ profiles, organizing breakdance competitions and musical events promoting the ethos of peace and racial tolerance.
By 1980, Afrika Bambaataa was the pre-eminent hip-hop DJ in New York, commanding massive followings and eclipsing...
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