10 Popular Innovations Caused By Human Suffering

5. Hip-Hop Owes A Lot To Robert Kennedy’s Assassination

The tragic and untimely death of Robert Kennedy had tremendous consequences on 1960s politics. However, his real legacy may be the roundabout way that his death influenced hip-hop.

In 1968, Michael Viner joined Robert Kennedy’s campaign as an aide. There, he met famed football player Rosey Grier, who was working security for Bobby. Grier was the one to wrestle the gun out of Sirhan Sirhan’s hand.

Grier and Viner planned to work in Washington with Kennedy. When Kennedy died in California, Grier and Viner stayed there. Both men went to work in the movie business. Grier starred in and Viner produced the soundtrack for a forgettable B movie The Thing with Two Heads.

The soundtrack had a minor hit with “Bongo Rock.” Building off that success, Viner formed the group “Incredible Bongo Band” and made them record a cover of “Apache.”[6]

“Apache” by the Incredible Bongo Band went on to be known as “hip-hop’s anthem.” Popularized by DJ Kool Herc, “Apache” became the go-to song for his block parties. It was the first song “Grand Wizzard” Theodore scratched, pioneering turntablism.

By doing so, he turned it into the sound of the genre. Hundreds of artists—including Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, Nas, Kanye West, LL Cool J, and even MC Hammer—would go on to sample it.

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