The Arts Fuse: Bring That Beat Back

Review of Bring That Beat Back by Nate Patrin

How sampling remade hip-hop over forty years, from pioneering superstar Grandmaster Flash through crate-digging preservationist and innovator Madlib

Nate Patrin’s magnificently written and wildly informative new book argues for the artistry of sampling, its potential for beauty.

It is a well-reported fact that hip-hop was born on August 11, 1973 at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx.

At that date and place, 18-year-old DJ Kool Herc (born Clive Campbell) and his sister Cindy threw a party to raise funds for Cindy’s back-to-school wardrobe. The Jamaican-born Herc manned the turntables, and he began his set with the not-yet-cool-in-the-U.S. reggae sounds of his birthplace. The audience was unimpressed, so Herc pivoted to funky R&B like James Brown’s “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose,” the Incredible Bongo Band’s “Bongo Rock” and “Apache,” and “The Mexican” by Babe Ruth. Those tracks hit. The rest is history.


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