Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip-Hop

by Johan Kugelberg  (Author), Joe Conzo (Photographer), Afrika Bambaataa (Foreword), Buddy Esquire (Contributor), Jeff Chang (Contributor)

Hip hop first became a part of the mainstream music industry in the early 1980s, when major record labels released albums from such accessible groups as Run DMC and the Sugarhill Gang. But the true origins of one of the most powerful pop-cultural influences in the world are in the spontaneous, progressive musical culture that grew out of tough Bronx neighborhoods of the 1970s and led to a renaissance of poetry, music, and fashion.Through years of research, writer and curator Johan Kugelberg has pulled together the scattered remains of a movement that never had its eye on posterity. The book includes the improvisational artwork of previously unpublished street flyers of the era, Polaroids buried for decades in basements across the Bronx, and testimonials from influential figures such as Tony Tone, LA Sunshine, and Charlie Chase. Through the work of pioneering hip-hop photographer Joe Conzo–the man The New York Times calls “the chronicler who took hip hop’s baby pictures”–Born in the Bronx presents a unique introduction to an explosive and experimental period in music history.

  • Born in the Bronx is a fascinating chronicle of the early days when the beats were more important than the bling.” — Nov 2007 FILTER MAGAZINE
  • Born in the Bronx takes it back to 1977, when NYC shutterbug Joe Conzo began snapping urgent, candid pictures of local shows, where a revolutionary new sound could be heard.” — Nov 2007 **ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
  • …tells the story of hip-hop’s pre-80s “baby steps” through the work of photographer Joe Conzo and party flyer-designer Buddy Esquire…edited, curiously, by punk historian Johan Kugelberg…” — XLR8R Sept 2007
  • And before you put away your cardboard breakdancing mat, you might want to pick up Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip-Hop, a new book edited by Johan Kugelberg and featuring photos by hip-hop chronicler Joe Conzo, as well as a wealth of info from the era, from flyers by Buddy Esquire to essays from folks who were there.” — Nov 07 *E! ONLINE
  • Through Conzo’ lens, hip hop was about style, new voices, and most importantly, getting into the club for free.” — Oct 07 FADER MAGAZINE