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Word Count: 1,578
Rap started in the South Bronx of New York which had been a mainly black and Hispanic ghetto for decades By 1930 nearly a quarter of the people who lived there were West Indian immigrants And most of the Spanish speakers living in the Bronx now either came originally from Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and Cuba or are the children of Caribbean immigrants The Cubans began arriving in the Bronx in the 1930s and 1940s and the Puerto Rican community goes back even further There are now three million Puerto Ricans living in New York - as many as live in Puerto Rico itself The Bronx had never been prosperous But in the 1960s it went into a sudden decline and by the end of the decade it had become the poorest toughest neighborhood in the whole of New York City In 1967 a DJ called Kool Herc immigrated to the States from Jamaica and came to live in the West Bronx Herc knew the Jamaican sound system scene and had heard the early talk overs of the new DJs like U Roy By 1973 Herc owned his own system This was much louder and more powerful than other neighborhood disco set-ups and it had a much fuller and crisper sound But when he began DJing at house parties he found that the New York black crowd would not dance to reggae So he began talking over the Latin-tinged funk that he knew would appeal To start with he merely dropped in snatches of street slang He would shout phrases like Rock on my mellow This is the joint The talk was meant to keep the people dancing and to add the excitement that comes from live performance Gradually he developed a style that was so popular that he began buying records for the instrumental breaks rather than for the whole track The lead guitar or bass riff or sequence of drumming
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