Google Salutes Birth of Hip Hop With Interactive Doodle

Cey Adams with his Doodle sketch. Credit: Google

*Can you believe its been 44-years since the birth of Hip Hop? Well, for those of us who would know; those who recall the first utterance of the new age form of music, it wasn’t actually called hip hop. 

It was just plain rap.

Suffice it to say that it will bring joy to your heart to know that the giant known as Google is paying homage to this music genre with a commemorative doodle. 

The artist behind the image is none other than Cey Adams — a visual artist and founding creative director of Def Jam records.

The folks at Google actually sat down with the players that came up with the whole idea to pay tribute to Hip Hop in this way.

I recall the early days of rap (Hip Hop’s predecessor). I was living in the Bronx, New York, and my homies and I got down with rap forefathers Run-D.M.C., Whodini, Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow and The Sugarhill Gang. Little did we know that one day the music coming out of our little neighborhood would be — what’s the word?

Iconic.

Judging from what “The Keyword Team” of Google learned, what had happened was…

 On August 11, 1973, there was a party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx-and four decades later, we’re still talking about it. Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 44th anniversary of that party, which is widely credited as the birth of the Hip Hop movement.

In a blog post, the Keyword team writes…

To learn more about the Doodle  and the movement that inspired it, the Keyword team chatted with three of the Googlers behind the Doodle-Kevin Burke, Ryan Germick and Perla Campos. We also talked with two legendary hip hop pioneers who served as close partners in the project: Fab 5 Freddy, former host of “Yo! MTV Raps” and narrator of the Doodle, and Cey Adams, visual artist and founding creative director of Def Jam records, who designed the Doodle logo image  shown above.

Here’s a portion of that interview.

Keyword: How did you come up with the idea for this Doodle?
 
Kevin: I’m a huge Hip Hop fan. Growing up outside New Orleans, it was a part of my DNA-performing Hip Hop in my high school band, adding Hip Hop to my college radio station’s rotation, and working on the set of Outkast’s “Ms. Jackson” music video in my first job out of college. Hip Hop has been a constant thread through my life and I wanted to bring my love of it to a Doodle. I developed the concept for interactive turntables, showed it to my manager Ryan (also a fan of Hip Hop), and he lost it. He said, “let’s make it tomorrow!”
 
OK, so people were into the idea. But Hip Hop is such a big topic. How did you decide what to focus on?
 
Perla: From the beginning, we were thinking big. I mean, Hip Hop touches so many parts of culture but a lot of people don’t know much about its origins. So, we anchored the Doodle to the birth of Hip Hop, and wanted to celebrate the people who pioneered the movement. We hope to give them the voice and the recognition they deserve, which is what Doodles are all about-shining light on times of history that maybe you didn’t know about.
 
Kevin: It all started with DJ Kool Herc, an 18-year old Jamaican DJ in the Bronx. He and his sister threw a party in August 1973, and when he DJ’d the party, he used two turntables to extend the instrumental break in the music where people did their craziest dance moves (that’s actually how “break” dancing got its name!). And the Hip Hop movement was born.
 
Ryan: With each Doodle, we try to touch a different part of the human experience. But we hadn’t yet touched on a massive part of U.S. and global culture-Hip Hop. And by bringing in elements like “Achievements,” we can also make it about the real people behind the Hip Hop movement.
 
Speaking of the real people … Fab and Cey, how did you feel when you first heard about this project?
 
Fab: It was a full circle experience for me. I first went online in 1994-I even remember doing a segment on “Yo! MTV Raps” about email. And going back to when I first got on the internet, I was looking for like-minded people who were part of the culture. And now, Hip Hop is on one of the biggest digital platforms out there, in a way that acknowledges and recognizes what this culture is, and what it continues to be. It’s pretty amazing.
 
CeyEverybody on this project was so excited to be a part of it, which made me excited too. I could add an authentic point of view and represent all the people who helped start the movement, even the ones who are no longer here. The project is rooted in honoring the past.
 
Early animation explorations

What do you hope the audience gets from this Doodle?

Cey: I want people to get a Hip Hop education, and to understand that the music, the art, the dance, the fashion, it?s all part of a collective lifestyle of people who wanted to change their circumstances. And it will always be there?and will continue to spread around the world?because there?s always some young person who wants to change their circumstances.

((Top) David Lu and Pedro Vergani of the Doodle team soak in the art of the city

…and you, Perla?

Perla: My biggest aspiration for the Doodle is that people see themselves in it, that there?s something that speaks to and represents them on the Google homepage. Hip Hop originated as a way for young people to focus on something positive in the midst of the negative forces around them, so I want people to feel that same hope and positivity from this Doodle.

The Doodle team in NYC for research at 1520 Sedgwick in the Bronx – Perla Campos, Kevin Burke, Pedro Vergani and David Lu

Want to know more about this project? Read more and view the awesome photos of how it came to be at the ‘It all started party’ here.

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