Make us your home page
Instagram

Hip-hop history: Google creates epic musical Doodle to kick off 44th birthday jam

The dawn of hip-hop can be traced to a fateful Bronx back-to-school party in August 1973, so to celebrate the symbolic 44th birthday Friday, Google has teamed with two superstars to provide an epic global interactive jam.

Team Google Doodle includes lifelong fans of hip-hop spanning from California to Indiana to Louisiana, and its artists and engineers reached east to the legendary graphic artist and designer Cey Adams and the pioneering artist/host Fab 5 Freddy to create the tech titan's dopest and most dazzling work of interactive art yet.

To land the graffiti-art aspect of Friday's Doodle, the team traveled to the New York studio of Adams, the brilliant Def Jam creative director responsible for the looks of decades of iconic album covers, logos and ad campaigns.

Adams emerged from New York's graffiti movement alongside Basquiat and Haring, and so lived firsthand how such visual art intertwined with the rise of rap.

"First and foremost, the (visual) art component predates the other art forms," Adams says. "Certainly music has been around, but when it comes to graffiti - that's been around since the late '60s. It was a thing unto itself, that had its own movement.

"So by the time the late '70s came around, and all the elements become a collective," Adams continues, "graffiti art took a back seat to rap music. Music has always been universal, whereas art has an elitist edge to it because it's shown in museums and galleries - it's not as attainable. Music lives in the air, music is everywhere - it doesn't cost you anything.

"That said, hip-hop is a visual movement, (and) graffiti will remain a necessary element of creative expression within the culture."

Google wanted to create a Doodle that also tapped hip-hop's musical roots, so they traveled, too, to 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx, where the Jamaican-born teenager DJ Kool Herc first played the instrumental "breaks" of songs at that famed back-to-school jam.

The Bay Area-based team also tapped the talents of Lyor Cohen, the global head of music for Google-owned YouTube and the former Def Jam president. Cohen says on Google's blog that hip-hop "shows that people in any situation have the ability to create something powerful and meaningful. The progression of this culture and sound - from Kool Herc spinning James Brown breaks at a block party to Jay-Z, Kanye West and Drake being some of the biggest forces in music 44 years later - is something that few people at that first party could have anticipated."

Team Google Doodle leader Ryan Germick grew up watching Fab 5 Freddy as host of "Yo! MTV Raps," and his creative crew was able to get the Brooklyn-born legend to narrate home-page viewers through a quick hip-hop history, toward a tutorial of pulling tunes from the digital crate (from old-school George Clinton and Betty Wright to brand-new Prince Paul beats) and working the crossfader on the decks.

Hip-hop history: Google creates epic musical Doodle to kick off 44th birthday jam 08/11/17 [Last modified: Friday, August 11, 2017 2:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Seminole Heights restaurants face struggles amid killings, post-Irma

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The neighborhood's hip circle of popular, well-regarded restaurants is feeling the squeeze in the wake of a recent killing spree. And the timing is rough.

    Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe has been taking precautions in light of the Seminole Heights killings: keeping the lights on all night and having employees walk to their cars in groups.
  2. Josbite goes all out, gets results with annual musical, 'The Threepenny Opera'

    Stage

    TAMPA — As the house lights dimmed for the second act, burglars and pickpockets, prostitutes and scam artists weaved between the little tables of the Jaeb Theater, warning customers they'd best wind down their talking and silence their phones. This was done with a wink but the point was made. This is elitism …

    Miscreants in Jobsite Theater's The Threepenny Opera, which runs through Nov. 12, include (from left) Amy E. Gray, Jonathan Harrison, Giselle Muise, Chris Jackson, Fo'i Meleah, and Derrick Phillips. Courtesy of Jobsite Theater.
  3. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 24

    Events

    On Your Feet: The Broadway musical follows the true story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan's journey as Cuban immigrants coming to America to becoming pop-crossover sensation Miami Sound Machine. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. $45 and up. (813) …

    Alma Cuervo (far left), an Academy of the Holy Names graduate, stars in the upcoming production of "On Your Feet" at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday (Oct. 24). Also pictured, Claudia Yanez (as Rebecca), Christie Prades (as Gloria) and Nancy Ticotin (as Gloria Fajardo). Photo by Matthew Murphy
  4. Hip-hop artist looks to deliver music, monologues with one-woman show

    Stage

    Tampa hip-hop artist and actress Dynasty takes her career into a new direction Saturday at Stageworks Theatre with her first one-woman show: A Star in Life's Clothing : Life. Love. Language. Lyrics.

    Hip-hop artist and actress Dynasty will present a one-woman show Saturday (Oct. 28) at Stageworks Theatre. Photo courtesy of @JoeyClayStudio.
  5. With volunteers as its heartbeat, annual Hillsborough County Fair grows larger

    Events

    DOVER — There's nothing else in the Tampa Bay community quite like the Hillsborough County Fair.

    Retired Tampa police officer Larry Henderson of Seffner sharpens a hewing ax used for squaring wood in the Hometown Hillsborough historical area of the fair. Beside him is a small sampling of the more than 7,000 tools he’s collected over the years.