Lance Taylor AKA "Kevin Donovan" (born April 17, 1957), better known by the stage name Afrika Bambaataa, is an American DJ from the South Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in the 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop culture. Afrika Bambaataa is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and is respectfully known as "The Godfather" and "Amen Ra of Hip Hop Kulture", as well as the father of electro funk. Through his co-opting of the street gang the Black Spades into the music and culture-oriented Universal Zulu Nation, he has helped spread hip hop culture throughout the world.
Born to Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, Taylor grew up in The Bronx River Projects, with an activist mother and uncle. As a child, he was exposed to the black liberation movement, and witnessed debates between his mother and uncle regarding the conflicting ideologies in the movement. He was exposed to his mother's extensive and eclectic record collection. Gangs in the area became the law, clearing their turf of drug dealers, assisting with community health programs and both fighting and partying to keep members and turf. Taylor was a member of the Black Spades. He quickly rose to the position of warlord of one of the divisions. As warlord, it was his job to build ranks and expand the turf of the young Spades.
He was not afraid to cross turfs to forge relationships with other gang members, and with other gangs. As a result, the Spades became the biggest gang in the city in terms of both membership and turf. Inspired by DJ Kool Herc and Kool DJ Dee, Taylor began hosting hip-hop parties beginning in 1977. He vowed to use hip-hop to draw angry kids out of gangs and form the Universal Zulu Nation. Robert Keith Wiggins, a.k.a. "Cowboy" of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, is credited with naming hip-hop; the term became a common phrase used by MCs as part of a scat-inspired style of rhyming.
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