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The History Behind Today’s Hip Hop Google Doodle

Google Doodle
You don't even have to be a fan of Hip Hop to love today's Google Doodle. Head over to their website immediately and have a look for yourself.

google doodle

How many times have you seen the Google Doodle and wondered where it came from?  I sometimes know just by looking at them, but most of the time I have no idea.  Which leads me to the story behind today's Google Doodle.  On August 11, 1973 there was a part at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx.  And over 40 years later we are still talking about it.  Today's Google Doodle celebrates the 44th anniversary of that party.  Why?  Well, that party is largely credited with the birth of the Hip Hop movement.  The creators of today's Doodle – Kevin Burke, Ryan Germick and Perla Campos sat down with Google to tell them how they came up with the Doodle.

Kevin grew up outside of New Orleans.  He has been a huge fan of Hip Hop his entire life, adding Hip Hop to his college radio station's rotation and working on the set of Outkast's "Ms. Jackson" music video after college.  It has been a constant thread throughout his life and he just wanted to bring his love of it to a Doodle.  It was Kevin who came up with the concept for the interactive turntables.  Once he showed that to his manager, Ryan, they decided to make it, and right away.

But because Hip Hop is such a big topic, it makes you wonder how they were able to focus on this particular topic.  According to Perla, they were thinking big.  "Hip Hop touches so many parts of culture, but a lot of people don't know much about its origins".  Which is how they decided to celebrate the people who pioneered the movement.  they wanted to give them the voice and the recognition they deserve.

Further, they decided to focus the Doodle around DJ Kool Herc. He was an 18 year old Jamaican DJ in the Bronx at the time.  DJ Kool Herc and his sister decided to throw a party in August of 1973, during which time he DJ'd the party.  He used two turntables to extend the instrumental break in the music where people did their craziest dance move.  Note – this is how break dancing got it's name.  In short, that is how the Hip Hop movement was born.

google doodle

Perla and Kevin had to narrow down their design even further.  Hip Hop pioneers, after all, is a pretty big category.  They compiled a list, and narrowed it down based on research and conversations they had with people who are well versed in Hip Hop.  They also wanted to make sure that they recognized the diversity in Hip Hop, including featuring women who were a large part of that in the early days.  But, who often don't get recognition for their work.

The Doodle itself created challenges for the team to create.  According to Perla, it was both unnerving and exciting to be able to tackle this because so many people have been touched by Hip Hop in some way.  And they just wanted to make sure they could do it the justice it deserved.

A lot of heart and soul went into the development of this Doodle. Not just because it's interactive, but because the creators had to dig deep in order to think about Hip Hop from a holistic perspective.  It's not just a genre of music, it's a culture that includes fashion, art, music and even dance.  It also was about people wanting to change their circumstances.  Not everyone knows that, so there was also an impetus to ensure that people understand what Hip Hop is.

If you haven't seen today's Doodle, get over there immediately.  The first part of the Doodle is a video explaining how breakdancing and MC'ing came to be, and the second part is the interactive tool, which allows you to mix for yourself.  I don't always take the time to research and understand the Doodle's.  Mostly because I'm busy and I don't always think I have time, but this is one that you shouldn't miss.  Even if you've never really been a Hip Hop fan, this will introduce you to something amazing, and give you a history lesson in the process.

 

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