Pop Music and Culture: CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo and Banda. Latinos Making Music in the United States

Pop Music and Culture: CuBop, Up-Rock, Boogaloo and Banda. Latinos Making Music in the United States

CFA MH333/433 A1

MWF 12-1 CFA (855 Commonwealth) B36

Prof. Michael Birenbaum Quintero

Surveys the musical styles of Latinos in the US. Discusses the role of these musics in articulating race, class, gender and sexual identities for US Latinos, their circulation along migration routes, their role in identity politics and ethnic marketing, their commercial crossover to Anglo audiences, and Latin/o contributions to jazz, funk, doo-wop, disco and hip hop. Case studies may include Mexican-American/Chicano, Puerto Rican/Nuyorican and Cuban-American musics; Latin music in golden age Hollywood; Latin dance crazes from mambo to the Macarena; rock en español; the early 2000s boom of Latin artists like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, and Jennifer López; reggaetón, race politics, and the creation of the “Hurban” market; and the transnational Latin music industries of Los Angeles, New York, and Miami.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Nuyoricans, Hip Hop and the Burning Bronx

Bronx, NY


A great online resource by old school South Bronx PR breaker Mr. Wiggles

Black, Puerto Rican, and West Indian Bronxites, MCing, freaking to the beat,  and feeling gang tensions at a good old fashioned block party from the Bronx gang documentary 80 Blocks from Tiffany's.

The abandonment of the Bronx
Gang life in the Bronx

Music at the time.
Disco and funk, often Latin-inflected, like the stuff on the Salsoul label, led by boogaloo pioneer Joe Bataan and a coterie of Nuyorican salsa musicians who also played on the label's disco-funk tracks.
Even salsa took on some disco elements, like the string arrangements in Hector Lavoe's classic "El Cantante."

DJ's like Kool Herc started bringing big sound systems and chattin' to jams at public parks, tennis courts, and apartment rec rooms to play this music. Abandoned buildings were another place that kids would set up clubs.


Meanwhile, a song would have a particular break. which people would clamor for..  Some break beats
"It's Just Begun" by the Jimmy Castor Bunch(break at about 2:11)
"Apache" by the Incredible Bongo Band (break at about 2:21)
"Amen Brother" by The Winstons, at 1:27 is the famous six-second break that not only was used extensively in early hip hop but spawned entire subcultures like drum-and-bass and jungle
Sample-era classic hip-hop breaks-cum-beats.
Those who danced the breaks developed styles like uprock and downrock, dancing the breaks - these were the B-Boys.
When the DJ Grandmaster Flash invented backspinning, a track could be looped by a DJ to become the basis of a hip hop song.
One important Puerto Rican DJ was Charlie Chase (born Carlos Mandes).

Gang truce and the Bambaata dances.
Gangs reformulated themselves as competitive crews.
Some were dedicated to graffiti. Subway Montage from Wild Style, music by Grandmaster Caz
The same was true of basketball and especially  dancers and DJs. B-Boy battles in particular were serious business.
Cold Crush Brothers vs. Fantastic 5, with Puerto Ricans Charlie Chase, Ruby Dee and Whipper-Whip
70s Bronx hip hop as is in Wild Style


Hip hop culture starting appearing in movies and other movies, and even commercials like these, and MC's started recording original tracks. As this went on, Puerto Ricans were marginalized, in part because they were more associated with B-Boying than the previously marginal MCing, and partially because they did not appear in movies - most of the US outside New York did not really know what a Puerto Rican was. With the rise of Michael Jackson, breakdancing peaked and the Puerto Ricans were out. 

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