New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a bill to rename 42 streets and places in the five boroughs, two of which honor hip-hop's birthplace and the late Brooklyn MC Pumpkinhead. On Aug. 11 1973, DJ Kool Herc threw a “back to school jam” in the rec room of 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx. This party has long been recognized as the beginning of hip-hop as we know it. The flyer was handwritten by Herc himself and the price of admission was $.25 for ladies and $.50 for guys.
With Kool Herc, his sister Carol “Firsty Lady of Hip Hop” Campbell, and Afika Bambaataa in attendance for the historic occasion, de Blasio told the press, “If you have friends on the West Coast, remember to tell them it all started here, okay? Just remind them of that fact.”
Robert “Pumpkinhead” Diaz passed unexpectedly in June of 2015 at the age of 39 after complications stemming from a minor surgery. His contributions to the underground rap scene and hip-hop overall have been recognized in the form of Robert PH Diaz Way, a street that was previously named DeGraw St. between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Brooklyn.
The Center of Hip-Hop Advocacy's Executive Director Manny Faces released a statement acknowledging the city council and the mayor's decision to rename the streets:
“We commend the New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio for naming streets in honor of hip-hop music and culture, and the late hip-hop recording artist Robert “PH” Diaz, respectively.
Recognizing the Bronx block that houses 1520 Sedgwick Avenue as “Hip Hop Boulevard” demonstrates reverence and hometown pride for the artistic and cultural phenomenon that DJ Kool Herc, Cindy Campbell, the building and surrounding neighborhood helped create.
Similarly, the naming of DeGraw Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues in Park Slope, Brooklyn to honor Robert “PH” Diaz, demonstrates a keen understanding that members of New York’s hip-hop artistic community can touch many lives in positive ways, and, as in Diaz’s case, are indeed worthy of tribute. We salute City Council members and the Mayor for honoring the wishes of Diaz’s family, friends and fans.
Hip-hop delivers significant artistic and cultural contributions throughout the city, nation and world in areas including music, the arts, fashion, commerce and education, and we applaud New York City for recognizing and celebrating its historical and continuing importance.”
Who knew that hip-hop could take it this far?