Today’s Google Doodle Celebrates “The Break” and the Birth of Hip-Hop While Letting You Play DJ

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Hip-hop is one of the most influential genres in music today. It’s hard to believe that the form is still relatively recent in the grand scheme of things (hasn’t hip-hop just always existed?), but today Google celebrates the 44th anniversary of one of music’s most defining moments: the invention of “the break,” and the birth of hip-hop.

Google got hip-hop pioneer and first host of Yo! MTV Raps Fab 5 Freddy to do the voice over on an animated video celebrating a pivotal moment in music history. On August 11, 1973, DJ Kool Herc was DJ-ing at his sister’s back to school party in the “Boogie-Down” Bronx when he began his technique of isolating the instrumental part of a songthe “break”so that people could dance longer. This technique, in which he spun two copies of the same record, going back and forth between them to elongate the break, was called “the Merry-Go-Round.”

Not only was then 18-year-old DJ Kool Herc responsible for the break, he also began speaking over the break, which gave birth to the MC, or Master of Ceremonies, and the entire concept of rapping over a beat. Kool Herc also coined the terms “break boys” and “break girls” (or “b-boys/girls”) for those who would dance to his breaks doing, you know…a little thing called breakdancing that was kind of a big deal.

You can check out more info on DJ Kool Herc and this important moment in music history over at this essay from Google, which features insight from YouTube’s Global Head of Music (and former head of Def Jam Records) Lyor Cohen on the importance of this moment in hip-hop history.

Meanwhile, you can play DJ yourself with today’s Google doodle! After the animated video on the birth of hip-hop, prepare to get drawn into the most fun time-suck ever as you get to choose from a bunch of records (all songs that were spun during the beginning of hip-hop) and spin them, mix them, scratch them, and create your own never-ending dance party.

Yes, yes y’all! And it don’t stop!

(image: screencap/Google)

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Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.