The Mask of Doom

I first heard the rapper Daniel Dumile (pronounced doom-ee-lay) when I was fourteen and hip-hop was just beginning to bloom. The music was not so much “CNN for black people,” as Chuck D would later dub it, as a lingua franca. I came up awkward in West Baltimore—a tall black boy with no jumper, no gear, and no game. But my mastery of the arcane verses of X-Clan, my sense that the decoupling of EPMD was an irreparable tragedy, and my abiding hatred of Vanilla Ice ushered me into the scowling ranks of my generation.

Disco King Mario

By 1971, Disco King Mario was an eminent DJ in the Bronx.He was known for his superior sound system and his love for combining music and a good time. Mario came up during the era where you had to be tough enough to bring your equipment out, because of how prevalent gangs and violence were in the Bronx in the early 70s. But the Disco King was respected all over, from neighborhood mothers to the grimiest gangsters. He is a major part of the creation of Hip Hop.

From Basquiat to ‘Black Panther’

“Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation,” a brilliant exhibition at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, reveals the centrality of visual art to hip-hop’s thrilling beginnings. The show prompts fresh consideration of the origins of hip-hop and the “post-graffiti” movement, which saw the street artists who had transformed New York’s urban landscape adapt their work for display in high-end galleries, as well as in music videos and fashion.