Hip-hop, the biggest youth culture movement in the world, celebrates its 50th anniversary on 11 August 2023. To mark the occasion, Niko Backspin and Porsche are releasing Back to Tape 3, a cultural documentary highlighting the development of rap, graffiti, DJing, and breakdancing in the US.
Clive Campbell, better known as Kool Herc, made a name for himself in New York City’s West Bronx in the late 1960s as a young DJ who brought the breakbeat to parties. “He was the first DJ to run two identical records in parallel to play the same part of a song over and over again,” explains music journalist Niko Backspin in a press release.
It was in doing so that Herc established an early form of what is known today as looping. On August 11, 1973, the Jamaican-born artist enjoyed his first professional DJ-ing gig – an event that would go on to become known as the world’s first official hip-hop party. It was that night, half a century ago, that he, together with his sister Cindy, laid the foundations for what we know today as the hip-hop movement, with its breakdancing, graffiti, rap, and DJing elements.
Fifty years on, the Back to Tape content format returns to where it all began: the US. Niko Backspin, who has been curating the cross-media storytelling project in close collaboration with Porsche since 2018, embarks on a road trip to Los Angeles, Atlanta, and New York City – the hubs of American hip-hop culture. Back to Tape 3 is the third documentary in the series about the values and history of hip-hop.
For his latest road trip, Niko Backspin has not only chosen a special route to the three key cities but also met many inspiring artists who have shaped the hip-hop genre globally over the years. Among them are the legendary rapper and former Pimp My Ride host Xzibit, DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill), T.I., Speech (Arrested Development), Fame (M.O.P.), Tony Touch, Estevan Oriol, Murs, DJ Babu (Dilated People), graffiti artists MRBBABY and Lisette Correa, fashion designer Karl Kani, and rapper D Smoke, winner of the first Netflix season of Rhythm & Flow. In the autumn, the hip-hop magazine Backspin will dedicate additional Back to Tape: Unseen episodes to the people and places featured in the documentary, diving deep into each city’s hip-hop scene and the lives of rappers, dancers, and graffiti artists.
In total, more than 20 artists are part of Back to Tape 3, each sharing their personal stories about hip-hop. In its now familiar authentic manner, Back to Tape 3 gives them a stage and a space for the culture – and the dreams – that Xzibit, Speech, and their contemporaries have dared to make a reality. “Respect, tolerance, and integration are values that the hip-hop movement has exemplified for 50 years now and it has therefore shaped several generations and decades in terms of language, music, and fashion. But hip-hop is much more – it’s a unifying system with shared codes around the world,” continues Niko Backspin. “And the beauty is: there are so many ways to celebrate it. With Back to Tape, we’re providing the perfect stage.”