Afrika Bambaataa is a dj, Hip Hop musician and community leader from the South Bronx, New York, who was instrumental in the early development of hip hop throughout the 1970s.
During Bambaataa’s early years, he was a founding member of the Bronxdale Projects-area street gang, The Savage Seven. Due to the explosive growth of the gang, it later became known as the Black Spades, and Bambaataa rose to the position of Division Leader. After a life-changing visit to Africa, he changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim. Bambaataa was influenced by the depiction of the Zulu warriors attacking British troops at Rorke’s Drift in the Michael Caine film Zulu. He took his name, which roughly translated to “affectionate leader”, from the film.
After the visit, Bambaataa decided to use his leadership to turn those involved in the gang life into something more positive to the community. This began the development of The Organization, which soon later became known as the Zulu Nation, a group of racially and politically aware rappers, B-boys, graffiti artists and other people involved in hip hop culture that gained fame in the early eighties to mid nineties. By 1977, inspired by DJ Kool Herc, Bambaataa had begun organizing block parties all around the South Bronx, and he was soon renowned as one of the best DJs in the business. In 1980, he produced Soul Sonic Force’s landmark single, “Zulu Nation Throwdown”. In 2000 Rage Against the Machine covered Afrika’s song “Renegades Of Funk” for their album “Renegades”. His beats have been sampled by countless other artists.