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Afrika Bambaataa

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South Bronx, New York (1957 – present)

Afrika Bambaataa (born April 10 or October 4, 1957 or 1960, though his birthdate is hotly debated; he himself refuses to comment on his age) is a , Hip Hop musician and community leader from the South Bronx, New York, who was instrumental in the early development of throughout the 1970s.

During Bambaataa’s early years, he was a founding member of the Bronxdale Projects-area street gang, The Savage Seven. Due to the explosive growth of the gang, it later became known as the Black Spades, and Bambaataa rose to the position of Division Leader. After a life-changing visit to Africa, he changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim. Bambaataa was influenced by the depiction of the Zulu warriors attacking British troops at Rorke’s Drift in the Michael Caine film Zulu. He took his name, which roughly translated to “affectionate leader”, from the film.

After the visit, Bambaataa decided to use his leadership to turn those involved in the gang life into something more positive to the community. This began the development of The Organization, which soon later became known as the Zulu Nation, a group of racially and politically aware rappers, B-boys, graffiti artists and other people involved in hip hop culture that gained fame in the early eighties to mid nineties.

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