“The Afrika Bambaataa Master of Records vinyl archive”
at Gavin Brown’s enterprise

July 31 2013
8:59 AM

Afrika Bambaataa (born Kevin Donovan in 1957; South Bronx, New York) was a pillar of the hip-hop scene in the early ‘80s. An ex-gang member, he inherited his mother’s interest in radical politics and record collecting. After a short trip to Africa that he won in a contest, Donovan changed his name to resemble Bhambatha kaMancinza, the Zulu chief whose revolt against tax increases in the British colony of Natal led to his canonization as a role model for anti-apartheid movements in South Africa. Bambaataa pioneered the Universal Zulu Nation [UZN] in the late ‘70s, a movement aimed at promoting graffiti, break-dancing, DJs and rap MCs. During this time, UZN was played a pivotal role in channeling teenage angst, drug dealing and violence out the streets of South Bronx. Today, Gavin Brown is publicly archiving Bambaataa’s extensive vinyl collection, opening an important and rarely seen part of the process of documenting history to public view. The open archive documents the translation of records from objects of violent manipulation in Bambaataa’s turntablism to artifacts of rarified archeological relevance; from gatherers of small pieces of sonic information their functional relocation into the seamless and author-less flow of a bloc party DJ mix to stand alone units of a catalogue. (Francesco Tenaglia)

“The Afrika Bambaataa Master of Records vinyl archive” at Gavin Brown’s enterprise (New York) will run through August 10. Don’t miss the weekly DJ sets by renowned hip-hop artists playing records from Bambaataa’s collection.