Before Pun Went Platinum: The Unsung History of New York Latinx Rap

By now, any hip-hop fan worth their kicks ought to know where this music comes from. But for the uninitiated (or those too young to remember when local crew Boogie Down Productions heralded it in song), the South Bronx invented a genre that became a movement that became the biggest sound in the known world. Even the Google Doodle people recognize DJ Kool Herc’s August 11, 1973 “Back to School Jam” at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue as the birthplace of hip-hop. But the real story begins years before that landmark event. In the Bronx (as well as upper Manhattan and other outer boroughs), white flight to the suburbs, a dearth of economic opportunity, and the effective ghettoization of Black and Latinx New Yorkers from the 1960s into the 1970s left the city’s neediest communities in dire straits…

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