Yo! The early days of Hip Hop 1982-84

Sophie Bramly / Soul Jazz Records     Recommended by    

Sophie Bramly lived in New York in the early 1980s and became firmly embedded in the emergent hip hop scene. The book features many stunning, intimate images of a star-studded roll call of legendary hip hop figures, all of whom were only just getting known or in their ascendency.

Bramly knew that hip hop was becoming a cultural force rather than just a musical fashion, and spent many hours photographing the four essential elements of this new world: the emcees, the deejays, the graffiti artists and the break dancers.

So aside from the many stars of hip-hop you will also see legendary graffiti artists captured at work and play, such as Keith Haring, Dondi, Futura, Phase One, Zephyr and Lady Pink, as well as breakdancers including members of Magnificent Force, Dynamic Breakers and the Rock Steady Crew.

This book features many stunning and intimate images of a star-studded roll call of legendary hip-hop figures, many of whom were just relatively known at the time, and while all in their ascendency – including Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmixer DST, Jazzy Jay, Red Alert, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, Lisa Lee, the Fat Boys, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys & many more.

In 1984, Bramly returned to France where she became deeply involved in bringing Hip-Hop to Europe, continuing to photograph and document this culture. In 1987 Bramly presented and hosted Yo! MTV Raps, the first ever hip-hop show on the channel.

“During the early 80s, on Saturday nights at the Roxy in downtown Manhattan and at the Bronx River Center, acts like Run-D.M.C., Afrika Bambaataa and Fab 5 Freddy created a totally new scene in New York. French photojournalist Sophie Bramly moved to New York in 1981, when she was just 21, and began photographing it all – when no one else was paying attention”. – I-D

“All these photos speak for a time that is so special, is never coming back and changed the world. It’s pretty much this experience that changed everything for ever. What makes it amazing, is that you hear stories about superheroes that changed the world, and that was us.” – Grand Mixer D. St

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