Watch Anthony Bourdain Explore Hip-Hop’s South Bronx Roots
Chef, author and television host Anthony Bourdain spent his life on a constant quest to explore the hidden histories and cultures of cities around the world. In October of 2014, he brought his Parts Unknown show to the South Bronx to learn about the birth of hip-hop.
In between sampling the neighborhood's finest deep-fried pig parts and Jamaican herbal remedies, Bourdain – who died of an apparent suicide this morning at age 61 – interviewed hip-hop pioneers DJ Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa about the revolutionary genre's beginnings.
Bambaataa revealed how he helped develop the art of crate digging, and the lengths competing DJs would go to keep the records they were using secret from their peers. "We'd put tape on it, or we'd soak the label off. You had spies in each other's camps trying to find out, you know, 'what was that beat Bambaataa was playing?'"
Bourdain also talked to Herc about the famous 1973 basement birthday party where he invented "the break" and by extension, helped kick-start hip-hop music and culture.
"I didn't start hip-hop with four guys in a club, I started it in a residential building," Herc explained. Back then, his every move was made under the watchful eye of the building's manager. Luckily, the director couldn't find anything negative to say about the new sounds Herc was creating. "Good music sells itself. And this was something good."
Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of the award-winning Parts Unknown series when he was found unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning (June 8).
"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," CNN confirmed in a statement Friday morning. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."
You can see Bourdain's entire Parts Unknown Bronx episode here.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/