Fat Joe, who is of Puerto Rican and Cuban descent, is facing Twitter’s wrath over some controversial comments he recently made about the origins of hip-hop.
On August 26th, Fat Joe posted a video on social media paying homage to the Latino pioneers who, he said, played a pivotal part in the creation of hip-hop culture.
“Thank you Thank you Thank you for your contribution to Hip Hop,” he wrote to his followers. The video featured legends like DJ June Bug, Ruby Dee, Rock Steady Crew, and more.
Thank you Thank you Thank you for your contribution to HIP HOP pic.twitter.com/hoKWTuWTzj
— FAT JOE (@fatjoe) August 25, 2022
However, this didn’t sit well with everyone. Many people felt as though Fat Joe was discrediting the Black community’s contribution to hip-hop.
If every single element of hip hop culture was created by Foundational Black Americans
& 1 or 2 Latinos just happened to wander off into a hip hop party in the 70's
how does that equate to Blacks & Latinos being "half & half" in the creation of hip hop?
The math aint mathing pic.twitter.com/8jcSCm9GH6
— Tariq Nasheed 🇺🇸 (@tariqnasheed) August 27, 2022
After receiving plenty of social media backlash, he hopped on Instagram Live the following day to give props to DJ Khaled’s “God Did” album and address the controversy.
“I go on there to see they always hating on me,” he said in reference to the Twitter backlash. “Lately, they’ve been talking about, ‘Latinos wasn’t in rap.’ These guys are f-cking delusional. We’re from the Bronx, New York. Sh-t happens. This is where Hip-Hop started. It’s Latino and Black, half and half.”
As Fat Joe – unapologetically – doubled down on what he said, the comments on social media continued to come in stating that Foundational Black Americans (FBAs) were the only creators of hip-hop and that Latinos were never involved in the origin of the culture.
Is Fat Joe wrong?
It’s not necessarily a case of who’s right or wrong considering that this is a complex topic. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Every year, the birth of hip-hop is honored on August 11th. It was on this day in 1973 that the Jamaican-American DJ, Clive Campbell – aka DJ Kool Herc – hosted the infamous Back to School Jam at 1520 Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx, the home of hip-hop culture.
This party marked the first time anyone had ever heard of or seen turntable experimentation. It was at this moment that “the break” was created.
“The break” is the isolation of rhythm sections. It is also what birthed what we know today as breakdancing.
Thus, solidifying the basis that hip-hop culture is at the core of the Black community.
Latinos’ contribution to hip-hop culture
Still, Latinos undeniably brought life to the music on the dancefloor. Many of the breakers were of Puerto Rican descent – Rock Steady Crew, and New York City Breakers, to name a couple.
Latinos also played a huge role in graffiti culture, especially in the Bronx. Lee Quiñones is arguably one of the most influential street artists, alongside Basquiat, who was also half Latino.
Of course, this is all a simplified perspective of a very dynamic culture.
In my opinion, Fat Joe was not trying to erase anyone from the origins of hip-hop. He wanted to shine a light on the contributions Latinos made to the culture, especially the ones from the Bronx.
Is it 50/50? That can be debated.
When you look back at the beginnings of hip-hop culture in New York, it can’t be denied that both communities came together through various art forms to create the culture that we know today.
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