Sunday, October 25, 2009


Photographer Joe Conzo, while a student who was in love with pictures and the making of them in the 1970's happened to go to high school with a few members of now legendary and mythical rap group, Cold Crush Brothers. Invited by them to hang at one of their parties, and his thinking that he might make a few dead presidents taking pictures there, he began to document the birth of rap music and Hip-Hop culture developing in the Bronx. The true seed planter of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool Herc. Joe shot him. A youthful Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz, Grandmaster Flash on wheels- Joe aimed his lens at them as well and hesitated not when it came to squeezing the metaphorical photographic trigger. Don't know if the world will ever tire of seeing images such as these that are found in his new book "Born In The Bronx" (Rizollo Books). The pictures illustrate something that has become fable, myth, legend. But at the same time it offers up portaits of real truth- a reality that was not just fable upon the turntable. These were true life events created by trues lives, flesh and blood, Black, brown and a handful of Whites- living, struggling and trying to survive in a bombed out world that was a real life version of Hollywood's vision of what it would look like the day after World War III.

And by the way, "trying to survive in a bombed out world", those words should not be taken lightly. From what we've heard (on NPR, and we trust them) if the Bronx was seperated from NYC and made into it's city, it would be, in terms of population, one of the 5th or 6th largest citites in the U.S. Indeed. The Bronx and many of the poor Black and Brown people living there were partying in a neglected world alone and on their own by most accounts.

Learn more from an interview and tour of the Bronx over at the BBC with Joe Conzo.

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