Afrika Bambaataa

>"Looking for the Perfect Beat," "Planet Rock," "Renegades of Funk," James Brown team-up "Unity"—there's a lot of stuff you could point to if you ever wanted to pick out the definitive Afrika Bambaataa record. But 1983's Death Mix Live, a lo-fi, unauthorized recording of a Bambaataa/Jazzy Jay DJ set recorded in the Bronx's James Monroe High School, is a top candidate in its own right. Its fusion of disco, funk, and electro personified hip hop in its pre-Run DMC epoch, and in the digital-minded, neon-glow state of hip hop circa 2010 it sounds miles more prescient than it did 20 years ago. The Zulu Nation leader and hip-hop pioneer has only accelerated with age; one memorable aughts show at the late, lamented Foundation kept on going well into the night until curfew rules pulled the plug. And in a field where having released a single in the late '90s makes you an elder statesman, Bambaataa's enduring ability to bridge old-school blueprints with the flashing-lights future of hip hop is something to be celebrated. 18+.
Sat., March 13, 10 p.m., 2010

 
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