Afrika Bambaataa Biography

(DJ, Rapper, Producer)

Birthday: April 17, 1957 (Aries)

Born In: Bronx, New York, United States

Afrika Bambaataa is among the few names which are responsible for making ‘Hip-Hop’ one of the most popular genres of music today. Though Bambaataa has entertained party goers at various social gatherings, he doesn’t believe that this style of music is just confined to such events. Bambaataa feels that Hip-Hop music has the power to spread communal harmony. In the 1970s he inspired many youngsters to choose music over violence through this genre. Many people have also credited him for ‘Using hip-hop to save many lives’. Bambaataa is also one of the reasons why many contemporary DJs are in the music business today. In a career spanning almost four decades, Bambaataa has more than a dozen albums to his credit. He has also collaborated with various artists such as singers, songwriters, and leading band members to create timeless music. Without merely sticking to parties, Bambaataa has also used his music to express his opinions on social and political issues.
Quick Facts

Also Known As: Lance Taylor

Age: 67 Years, 67 Year Old Males

African American Singers DJs

Ancestry: Barbadian American, Jamaican American

City: Bronx, New York

U.S. State: New Yorkers

  • 1

    What is Afrika Bambaataa known for in the music industry?

    Afrika Bambaataa is known for being a pioneer of hip hop music and culture, particularly for his role in the development of breakbeat DJing and mixing.

  • 2

    What inspired Afrika Bambaataa to become involved in hip hop and activism?

    Afrika Bambaataa was inspired by the street gang culture of the Bronx in the 1970s, which he sought to combat through the positive elements of hip hop culture, such as music, dance, and art.

  • 3

    How did Afrika Bambaataa influence the development of hip hop music?

    Afrika Bambaataa's use of eclectic and diverse musical influences, including electronic music and rock, helped to shape the sound of early hip hop and laid the foundation for the genre's future evolution.

  • 4

    What is the Zulu Nation and what is Afrika Bambaataa's connection to it?

    The Zulu Nation is a hip hop awareness group and social organization founded by Afrika Bambaataa, aimed at promoting peace, unity, and positive social change through hip hop culture.

  • 5

    How did Afrika Bambaataa's activism impact the hip hop community?

    Afrika Bambaataa's activism, focused on promoting unity, peace, and social justice, had a profound influence on the hip hop community, inspiring artists to use their platform for positive change and social awareness.

Childhood & Early Life
Afrika Bambaataa was born on April 17, 1957 in the Bronx area of New York. He was born as Kevin Donovan, which he changed later. Bambaataa was raised by his mother and uncle, both of whom were activists of the ‘Black Liberation Movement’. At a very young age, he was exposed to music through his mother’s record collection.
During his childhood days, Bambaataa’s surroundings were dominated by local gangs which were involved in community service activities such as health programs, and keeping drug dealers at bay. Bambaataa too was influenced by the gang culture, and joined the group named ‘Young Spades’.
Bambaataa soon became one of the most prominent members of the gang ‘Young Spades’, and became the head of one of its divisions. Under his leadership, ‘The Young Spades’ also invaded other territories, and absorbed many new members, making it the biggest gang in the city.
Continue Reading Below
Bambaata was influenced by the hip-hop music of Disc jockeys such as Kool Herc and Kool Dj Dee. Starting in 1977, Bambaataa organised many parties where hip-hop music ruled the roost. He felt that this sensational form of music is also a good way to prevent young boys from getting involved in crimes. He even formed a musical troupe named ‘Universal Zulu Nation’ during this period which comprised of many artists who wanted to bring a social change through music.
Bambaataa’s passion towards music soon grabbed the attention of the then popular rap artist Fab Five Freddy. The latter invited Bambaataa to play music at the various clubs in Manhattan which were favourite hangouts of the whites. In 1981, Bambaata played music to a large gathering of white party lovers on several occasions. His style of music was liked by many, and soon he was in demand at various social gatherings.
In 1980s Bambaataa came to be known as one of the best musicians of the Bronx area in New York, and came to be known as the ‘Master of Records’. He formed two rap crews during this period – ‘Jazzy 5’ and ‘Soulsonic Force’.
Bambaataa and a group of artists comprising of singers and dancers, went on an overseas musical tour in 1982. The intention was to spread hip-hop music across many people and places. His efforts resulted in many youngsters embracing this genre of music.
The same year saw the release of the single ‘Planet Rock’ which was credited to Afrika Bambaataa and the ‘Soulsonic Force’. The song went on to become a chartbuster, and Bambaataa was showered with praise by music lovers across the globe. Two years later this team went on to release albums named ‘Looking for the Perfect Grenade’ and ‘Renegades of Funk’.
Other than his musical assignments, Bambaataa was also seen in the 1984 movie named ‘Beat Street’ where he shared screen space with various other famous musicians, most of whom were hip hop artists.
He collaborated with many popular names of the music industry such as songwriter Little Steven Van Zandt, singer Joey Ramone, the famous band ‘U2’ and few others to create an anti-apartheid album titled ‘Sun City’. This album, which released in 1985 was received with critical acclaim.
Bambaataa signed a contract with the music label ‘Capitol Records’ in 1988. The label backed him on an album named ‘Afrika Bambaataa and Family’, where artists such as Boy George, Nona Hendryx and others had lent their voices for the various tracks. This team had even worked on numbers such as ‘Funk You’ and ‘Beware (The Funk is everywhere)’.
Bambaataa didn’t just confine his talent to party places but also stood up for social and political causes. In the year 1990, with the help of the label ‘Gee Street records’, Bambaataa celebrated the release of political leader Nelson Mandela’s release from Prison. He organized a concert at ‘Wembley Stadium’ in London, in honour of the world famous politician.
Continue Reading Below
Bambaataa’s popular works ‘Planet Rock’ and ‘Renegades of Funk’ were revisited in the mid-1990s. While ‘Planet Rock’ was remixed, which created a new trend back then called ‘Electro House’, American band ‘Rage of The Machine’ paid tribute to ‘Renegades of Funk’ through their album ‘Renegades’.
In the 2000s Bambaataa collaborated with singers like Letfield, Jamelia, and a band named ‘WestBam’. The result of these collaborations was songs such as “Afrika Shox’ and ‘Do Me Right’.
Major Works
Bambaataa was an active participant of ‘Stop The Violence Movement’, and released the 1989 single ‘Self Destruction’ as a way of raising his opinion. The song went on to secure the number one spot in the ‘Hot Rap Singles Chart’. The ‘National Urban League’ used the song to promote anti-violence through its community programs, which resulted in raising a profit of a whopping $400,000.
Awards & Achievements
Afrika Bambaataa had featured in the list of ‘Most Important Americans of The 20th Century’ by the ‘Life’ magazine in one of its issues published in 1990.
He was chosen to be one of the judges of the 6th ceremony of ‘Independent Music Awards’, an annual music event organized to help young, independent musicians.
Bambaataa was one of the nine musicians nominated for the ‘2008 Rock n Roll Awards’.
In 2012, ‘Cornell University’ appointed Bambaataa as its visiting scholar for a period of three years.
Facts About Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa is known as the "Godfather of Hip-Hop" for his pioneering role in the development of the genre and for popularizing the use of turntables and mixing as musical instruments.

Bambaataa founded the Universal Zulu Nation, a hip-hop awareness group that aimed to promote peace, unity, and positive social change through music and community activism.

He played a key role in bringing hip-hop culture to a global audience and is credited with helping to bridge cultural divides through his music and advocacy work.

Bambaataa has been recognized for his efforts in using hip-hop as a tool for social justice and empowerment, inspiring many artists and activists to follow in his footsteps.

In addition to his music career, Bambaataa has been involved in various humanitarian and community initiatives, working to address issues such as poverty, violence, and inequality in marginalized communities.

Recommended Lists:

See the events in life of Afrika Bambaataa in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Afrika Bambaataa Biography
- Editors,

People Also Viewed

Kendrick Lamar Biography
Kendrick Lamar
Eminem Biography
Sean Combs Biography
Sean Combs
Post Malone Biography
Post Malone
Kanye West Biography
Kanye West
Will Smith Biography
Will Smith
Snoop Dogg Biography
Snoop Dogg