Grandmaster Caz says the media created “rapper” and “breakdancer” labels in Hip Hop.
During a newly-released interview with Vlad TV, Grandmaster Caz gave a brief history lesson on the origins of the words “Hip Hop” and “rap.” The Bronx, New York lyricist revealed that Hip Hop was once “a derogatory term” used in “the early days” by the older generation to describe the music they were creating.
Grandmaster Caz then shared the story of Busy Bee and Keith “Cowboy” Wiggins of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five using the word “Hip Hop” at a party to imitate a marching cadence.
“Hip Hop was a derogatory term referring to what we were doing,” Grandmaster Caz said. “The early days they were like ‘When y’all gonna stop doing that hippity-hoppity stuff?’ That’s what they called it…It was no really definitive term. It was like ‘Yeah, that’s y’all hippity-hopping around.’ It was like that. I think the term was kind of defined a couple ways. Keith Cowboy of Grandmaster Flash was one of the first emcees. Flash was having a party at one of the clubs. Black Door, I believe. Back in the days. And one of Cowboy’s friends was on his way to the Army. He was going into the service. The next day he was going. So, they was messing with him on the mic. I forgot to get his name. Busy Bee knows. But they was like ‘Yeah, this and that. This your last party. You better have fun tonight. Cause after tonight every morning you get up it’s gonna be like ‘Hip hop, hip hop, hip hop.’’ You know, the cadence. The marching cadence.”
Grandmaster Caz later revealed that terms like “rapper” and “breakdancer” were created by the media to help them better understand and define the movement.
“Hip Hop was the most repeated phrase in the conversation,” he said. “When you refer to this culture, you hear those words more than you hear anything else. So, I guess that’s what defined it…’Rap’ was like in ’78, ’79. When guys started making records and started referring to ‘em as ‘rappers’ or ‘that’s a rap.’ We never called ourselves rappers. Rapper is a media term. Just like breakdancer is a media term. We never referred to ourselves as breakdancers. We b-boys. Now you needed to define it better, so you could understand it more. So you change it to breakdancers.”
Grandmaster Caz’s interview with Vlad TV can be found below.