top of page

HIP HOP in the beginning. John "Swan" Seoane Recalls this :

In the 1970s, an underground urban movement known as "hip hop" began to form in the Bronx, New York. It focused on emceeing over break beats at neighborhood block parties held outdoors. Hip hop music has aways been a powerful avenue for us to protest injustice and tell our story. Historically, hip hop arose out of the ruins of a ravaged South Bronx, as a form of expression of the Black and Latino youth, who chose hip hop over crime.

Hip hop is characterized by four key elements: The DJ, The Rapper, the break Dancer, The Graffiti artist, Rapping is a rhythmic vocal rhyming style; DJing is the practice of making music with 2 turntables and a DJ mixer; Break dancing is the movement and dance, The original graffiti artist used spray cans and magic markers.

I remember when I was 10 years old (75’) as a 5th grader I went to school in the south Bronx and kids would bring in and play cassette tapes by rap groups like “cold crush brothers”, “Fantastic 5”, Busy bee, Grand master flash; after I heard this form of music, right there I fell in love with hip hop.

By the age of 12 (77’), I wanted to be just like GM flash and then Kevin “sugar daddy” Woodley would be the DJ that ended up teaching me how to DJ. By 15 (80’) I was already DJ Swan named swan by my boy’s way before the movie The Warriors, same year I joined Disco King Mario’s crew called “The Big Mac Crew” named after a power amp made by mackintosh. Soon after I started a group call D.J. Swan and the sure shot 4. Craig Dee (RIP), Commissioner Gordon, Jesse West and I forgot the fourth rapper. Andre Harrell (RIP) (Uptown Records) would book us for college shows.

A lot of the groups at the time started to make records:

1979 and the sugar hill gang hit us with rapper’s delight hip hops first rap record.

1980 Curtis blow hit us with the song the brakes he is the first rap artist signed to a major label.

1981 Kool Moe Dee versus busy bee live in Harlem world. The first historic hip hop M.C. battle.

1982 and Afrika Bambaataa with the soul sonic force do a record called planet rock. Which goes on to become a huge club record.

That same year Grand Master flash and the furious 5 went on to record the message which became one of the biggest Street anthems of all time.

The fearless 4 also did a record that year called rocking it on enjoy records “I love that record”.

Originating in the South Bronx, hip-hop went global by the end of the '80s.

In the beginning none of us thought that hip hop would become the number 1 music in the world. It did and I was there from day one.

D.J. Swan (Me Left) and M.C. Alamo (Right).

94 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page