Make us your home page
Instagram

Hip-hop history: Google creates epic musical Doodle to kick off 44th birthday jam

The dawn of hip-hop can be traced to a fateful Bronx back-to-school party in August 1973, so to celebrate the symbolic 44th birthday Friday, Google has teamed with two superstars to provide an epic global interactive jam.

Team Google Doodle includes lifelong fans of hip-hop spanning from California to Indiana to Louisiana, and its artists and engineers reached east to the legendary graphic artist and designer Cey Adams and the pioneering artist/host Fab 5 Freddy to create the tech titan's dopest and most dazzling work of interactive art yet.

To land the graffiti-art aspect of Friday's Doodle, the team traveled to the New York studio of Adams, the brilliant Def Jam creative director responsible for the looks of decades of iconic album covers, logos and ad campaigns.

Adams emerged from New York's graffiti movement alongside Basquiat and Haring, and so lived firsthand how such visual art intertwined with the rise of rap.

"First and foremost, the (visual) art component predates the other art forms," Adams says. "Certainly music has been around, but when it comes to graffiti - that's been around since the late '60s. It was a thing unto itself, that had its own movement.

"So by the time the late '70s came around, and all the elements become a collective," Adams continues, "graffiti art took a back seat to rap music. Music has always been universal, whereas art has an elitist edge to it because it's shown in museums and galleries - it's not as attainable. Music lives in the air, music is everywhere - it doesn't cost you anything.

"That said, hip-hop is a visual movement, (and) graffiti will remain a necessary element of creative expression within the culture."

Google wanted to create a Doodle that also tapped hip-hop's musical roots, so they traveled, too, to 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx, where the Jamaican-born teenager DJ Kool Herc first played the instrumental "breaks" of songs at that famed back-to-school jam.

The Bay Area-based team also tapped the talents of Lyor Cohen, the global head of music for Google-owned YouTube and the former Def Jam president. Cohen says on Google's blog that hip-hop "shows that people in any situation have the ability to create something powerful and meaningful. The progression of this culture and sound - from Kool Herc spinning James Brown breaks at a block party to Jay-Z, Kanye West and Drake being some of the biggest forces in music 44 years later - is something that few people at that first party could have anticipated."

Team Google Doodle leader Ryan Germick grew up watching Fab 5 Freddy as host of "Yo! MTV Raps," and his creative crew was able to get the Brooklyn-born legend to narrate home-page viewers through a quick hip-hop history, toward a tutorial of pulling tunes from the digital crate (from old-school George Clinton and Betty Wright to brand-new Prince Paul beats) and working the crossfader on the decks.

Hip-hop history: Google creates epic musical Doodle to kick off 44th birthday jam 08/11/17 [Last modified: Friday, August 11, 2017 2:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Oct. 18

    Events

    Dali and Schiaparelli: Opening Day: A retrospective exhibit of designer Elsa Schiaparelli and her collaborations with Dali. It features gowns, accessories, sketches, objects and photos, as well as new designs from the House of Schiaparelli. Remains on display through Jan. 14. 10 a.m., Dali Museum, 1 Dali Blvd. …

  2. Fresh figs take a starring role in this fig cake

    Cooking

    Figs are showy fruit.

    They can't help themselves. Even the plainest, drabbest fig will reveal a scarlet belly, flecked with shimmering seeds, once you take a bite. Whether they're sliced or halved, arranged in a tart shell, on a crostini or just on a plate, there are few visions more enticing. This is why most fig …

    Chopping fresh figs and folding them into cake batter is not something you usually see, but that’s exactly what happens in this recipe for fig cake.
  3. As Faith Hill and Tim McGraw come to Tampa, here's why their love fascinates and endures

    Music & Concerts

    Eight years ago, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill stood on the sidelines of Raymond James Stadium, waiting for Hill's cue to perform America the Beautiful before Super Bowl XLIII. He held her hand and they kissed as the Steelers, Cardinals and a television audience of 150 million waited in the wings.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw perform during the “Soul2Soul” World Tour at Staples Center on July 14 in Los Angeles.
  4. From the food editor: Five things I'm enjoying in the food world right now

    Cooking

    Sometimes your notebook is scribbled with little thoughts here and there, things you come across in the food world and want to share but aren't sure how or when. Well, folks, I need to get some of this off my chest. Here is a somewhat random collection of culinary things I am really enjoying right now:

    Espresso Sea Salt Cookie Sandwiches with a cooked buttercream frosting, from St. Petersburg home bakery Wandering Whisk Bakeshop. Photo by Jennifer Jacobs.
  5. Michael McDonald and Kenny Loggins: Yacht rock paradise at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Music & Concerts

    Frosty wine coolers and a misty sunset sea breeze. White linen pants and a tilted captain's hat. Coconut milk and an awful lot of rum.

    Kenny Loggins performs during Little Kids Rock Benefit 2016 at Capitale on October 5, 2016 in New York City.