Afrika Bambaataa [Aasim, Kevin Donovan]
- David Toop
- , revised by Margaret Jackson
[Aasim, Kevin Donovan]
(b New York, April 10, 1960). American hip-hop DJ. DJ Afrika Bambaataa’s musical eclecticism and his vision of African American unity helped to shape rap music’s early sound, and he is often credited with lending the burgeoning musical style, and the larger culture from which it emerged, the name “hip-hop.”
Born Kevin Donovan, he grew up amidst an omnipresent gang culture that emerged in the wake of urban planning and deindustrialization that devastated New York’s South Bronx neighborhoods. He became a founding member and warlord of one such street gang, the Black Spades. Exposed as a youth to the politics of the black liberation movement, however, he sought ways to transcend gang life. As an expression of racial unity and spiritual rebirth, he changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Asim, adopting the name of a Zulu chief who led an armed insurrection in pre-Apartheid South Africa. In 1973...