Caz also has an interesting theory on why rap started to become popular in late-seventies New York City. Joe Schloss, who researches hip-hop culture at City University of New York, buys Caz’s theory.
They thought they’d blown a fuse, but it turned out to be the New York City Blackout of 1977. The history of Hip Hop is the story of young Black men trying to create music when the schools took away the music programs.
During the summer of 1977, Hip Hop was still at its elementary stages as an art form that was still only expressed through house party’s and parks in the bronx.
According to New York Magazine, after this blackout other elements of Hip Hop became more relevant and the D.J. Stay Up to DateThe Last Cipher is moving fast, subscribe to our newsletter and stay informed. 1977: Lightning strikes a Consolidated Edison substation along the Hudson River, tripping two circuit breakers and setting off a chain of events that results in a massive power failure.


The blackout couldn’t have come at a worse time for a city that was already down on its luck.
Photo: A man looks through the shattered windows of a looted jewelry store on Utica Avenue in Brooklyn during the blackout that struck New York City in July 1977. According to Caz, he was among the many aspiring artists who stole essential musical equipment in the looting that took place during the notorious 1977 New York City blackout. As a gleefully insurgent street art coming out of a dispossessed neighborhood in a depressed city, as a musical form based on creative re-purposing and appropriation, hip-hop loves a Robin Hood narrative. As many may not know Rap, one of the 5 elements of hip hop, became a form of expression for the young youths from coast to coast and to this day I am glad they found this creative outlet that helped them grow and during the summer of 1977 a blackout occurred thatchanged hip hop forever. This art form was only performed by a small few legends such as Grandmaster Caz and the Cold Crush Brothers, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, DJ Kool Herc, Busy Bee, Afrika Bambaataa, Sheri Sher, Mean Gene and Red Alert, and if it wasn’t for the result of a blackout that occurred during this summer it probably would have still lasted that way for years.
But bad luck (multiple lightning strikes that seemed to find Con Ed utilities), operator mistakes and some substandard facilities maintenance triggered a chain reaction throughout the system that eventually crippled the biggest generator serving New York City. When the lights went out, New York was in the midst of a financial crisis and teetering at the edge of bankruptcy.


Caz believes those pilfered turntables, speakers and mixers are what really got Hip Hip going.
On August 2 1978 a blackout occurred that changed Hip Hop forever, during this blackout a whole new generation of hip hop artist emerged. In order for hip-hop to be marketable by the record companies, there needed to be front men—stars. The rioting and looting that followed the blackout marked one of the lowest points in New York history. In all it’s ups a downs hip hop standed the test of time and on the 40th year anniversary we remember the blackout that changed Hip Hop forever.
Whereas La Rock was purely improvisational, the new rappers like the Furious Five were keeping rhyme books and practicing in the mirror.



Water storage cans
Geographic map of southeast us
Disaster preparedness supplies for hospitals


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