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Afrika Bambaataa Shows Off Massive Vinyl Collection on ‘Crate Diggers’

There are some DJs who have a record collection and own several crates of vinyl. Then you have those DJs who need entire rooms to house their collections. But when it comes to the legendary Afrika Bambaataa — one of the true pioneers of hip-hop — he needs a warehouse like space at Cornell University’s Library Annex. And thankfully, FuseTV’s Crate Diggers gives us an extensive tour.

The nearly 11-minute segment is hosted by Ben Ortiz, Assistant Curator for the Cornell Hip-Hop Collection, and he gives detailed explanations about why vinyl is still important and how it serves as the perfect documentation to explain how hip-hop began.

“Of course we understand today that hip-hop is everywhere,” he explains. “Hip-hop is something you see at the halftime show at the Super Bowl. The most mainstream of things. You can buy graffiti on a T-shirt at Walmart, right? So how did all that begin? We have the story right here in the original artifact.”

Bambaataa’s record collection is an amazing three stories tall and two layers deep on each side of the library, and he says his mother introduced him to vinyl, buying his first 200 records. After that he collected thousands upon thousands more.  He also explained how he chose the records he played, and how he saw hip-hop come together organically.

“I definitely knew I was breaking all styles of music to many different audiences that I played for,” he said. “I knew something definitely was happening in the streets. It was more of picking out the different sounds or what I was hearing in the radio station and what I wanted to play for my audience. So [it was about] giving them that different sound and taking them on a musical journey.”

Watch the video above and learn some music history from the co-founder of hip-hop culture.

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