- Also Known As:
- Master of Records
- Date of Birth:
- April 17, 1957
- South Bronx
Afrika Bambaataa (born Kevin Donovan on April 17, 1957 in South Bronx, New York) is an American rapper and DJ. Afrika is the founder of the first hip-hop group Zulu Nation, and largely credited with spreading the hip-hop movement itself. He grew up in the Bronx River Projects, where at the time, gangs were law. He rose the ranks in the gang Black Spades and became their warlord, making it the biggest gang in NYC. After winning an essay contest that won him a trip to Africa, he became fascinated with Zulu culture, changing his name to Afrika Bambaataa after the Zulu chief Bhambatha. Starting in 1977, Afrika started hosting hip-hop parties in the Bronx to get kids out of gangs and into music, and they formed Universal Zulu Nation. In 1982, Afrika and his crew were the first act to ever go on a hip-hop tour. The prolific DJ then formed two rap groups: Soulsonic Force and the Jazzy Five. Soulsonic Force had a legendary record, Planet Rock, and Afrika’s work with the group created the subgenres “turntableism” and “electronica” in the 90s. Over his career, his most recognized songs included “Planet Funk,” “Renegades of Funk,” and “Unity.” Unfortunately, in 2016, Afrika was accused of rape and sexual molestation by Ronald Savage, who went by “Bee Stinger” when he was a teenage member of Zulu Nation in the 1980s.
Best Known For:
Afrika is best known as a DJ and the founder of the first hip-hop group, Zulu Nation.
Afrika became a visiting scholar at Cornell University in 2012. His archives became part of the university’s Hip Hop Collection, the largest historical collection of hip-hop music in North America. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.