The history of hip-hop begins in the South Bronx, New York City. In the 1970s the South Bronx was already one of the most notorious urban areas in America; unemployment levels were high because of the construction of the Cross-Bronx Expressway in 1959, which caused many businesses to flee the area. As a result, many middle class whites left the area, turning the South Bronx into a ghetto for disadvantaged minorities. Poverty was rampant and violent gangs roamed the neighborhood streets. This is the environment hip-hop flourished in.
Hip-hop music was created by the Jamaican-born DJ Kool Herc (Clive Campbell), who followed in the tradition of early pioneering club DJs like Pete “DJ” Jones and DJ Hollywood. Kool Herc was the first DJ to use break beats in an extended manner, and also the first to use Jamaican-style toasting and chanting over the beat of the music. Kool Herc hosted large block parties at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the South Bronx, and other public venues, by tapping into city power lines to connect his stereo equipment, which included huge stacks of speakers, turntables, and microphones.