KRS1 said it best:
“Now way back in the days when Hip-Hop began
With Coke LaRock, Kool Herc, and then Bam
Beat boys ran to the latest jam
But when it got shot up they went home and said “Damn
There’s got to be a better way to hear our music every day
B-boys getting blown away but coming outside anyway”
They tried again outside in Cedar Park
Power from a street light made the place dark
But yo, they didn’t care, they turned it out
I know a few understand what I’m talking about
Remember Bronx River, rolling thick
With Kool DJ Red Alert and Chuck Chillout on the mix
When Afrika Islam was rocking the jams
And on the other side of town was a kid named Flash
Patterson and Millbrook projects
Casanova all over, ya couldn’t stop it
The Nine Lives Crew, the Cypress Boys
The real Rock Steady taking out these toys”
That is how it really did start, and in a world where you might think that rap music and the culture that it was birthed out of started with a rap group our of New Jersey (shout out to the Sugar Hill Gang), it simply did not. Hell… they didn’t even write the rhyme that made them commercial gold. It started in the Boogie Down, with the likes of Melle Mel and Grandmaster Caz (who wrote the rhyme that made them commercial gold. And the team at Windows of Hip-Hop was established to remind those who forgot and inform generations to come of the real history of the genre that is now the most popular (and top-selling) in the world.
They do this in a plethora of ways, working with community groups, schools, and politicians. They also educate the masses with their annual Elements of Hip-Hop Awards.
In the past, they have celebrated all kinds of Hip-Hop icons like Doug E. Fresh, Swizz Beats, Angie Martinez and more. This year they continued lifting pioneers of the culture in a major way.
This year, they honored entertainment attorney and The Source owner/ publisher, L. Londell McMillan, Sal Abbatiello from the Disco Fever, Ralph McDaniels from Video Music Box and rapper Slick Rick. To support their efforts was Fat Joe, one of last year’s honorees. He gave a moving testimony recalling his relationship to almost everyone in the room, including DJ Red Alert who he credited as the first person to play his music on the radio and changing his life.
“You know about Fat Joe. You know about Big Pun. You know about Remy Ma. You know Khalid. You know everyone. None of this would be possible, nothing, if it was not for Red Alert.”
“I went to Amateur Night at the Apollo and I won first place four weeks in a row. And Red Alert came up to me and he said, ‘Yo, man. I like you. Do you have any demos?'”
“He said, ‘I’m gonna play it on the radio.’ So I gave him my demo and he ain’t play it for three months. I had a flu… and out of nowhere it came out of the speakers and I jumped to the ceiling. I took the speakers and I threw it out the window. And I started screaming, ‘Yo… Red Alert playing my joint.’ That song right there (REST IN PEACE CHRIS LIGHTY) turned into Flo Joe which was my first single.”
Joe like so many attributes his success to Red Alert (present but not honored), Ralph McDaniels (played his videos), Sal (was his first manager) and Slick Rick (was an artist that made him feel safe when he was a teen in the streets).
Rapper Mysonne was also there to celebrate.
The awards event was sponsored by Martell Cognac and Beatstro, the first Hip-Hop Restaurant located in the Bronx.
Windows of Hip-Hop (WoHH) is a nonprofit, Bronx based economic development project promoting the educational, communal, and historical perspective of Hip-Hop.
Watch the recap here :