It’s not every day that you get to be a part of a conversation with a living musical legend, the pioneer of a style of music that has overtaken the world. But that’s exactly the opportunity you’ll get on Friday, Aug. 24, when the Miller High Life Theatre hosts "A Couch Conversation with DJ Kool Herc" as part of Hip-Hop Week MKE, a citywide celebration of hip-hop, conceived by Ald. Khalif Rainey.
The Jamaican-born Herc (aka Clive Campbell), who settled in the Bronx with his family, used a pair of turntables and the "breaks" he identified and isolated on a wide variety of records in the early 1970s to create an innovative new style that sparked the hip-hop movement.
The conversation – tickets for which are $40 and go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, July 9 at the Miller High Theatre box office, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave., by phone at (800) 745-3000, or online at Ticketmaster.com – will be moderated by Michael Arceneaux, blogger at The Cynical Ones and author of "I Can’t Date Jesus."
The event will begin with Milwaukee hip-hop artist, activist and entrepreneur Ed Hennings’ stories about making music and starting a business on the city’s North Side.
"‘A Couch Conversation with DJ Kool Herc’ will be a terrific highlight of Milwaukee Hip-Hop Week – it reminds us that hip-hop has always been, and continues to be, about innovation," Rainey said. "Beginning with DJ Kool Herc’s use of twin turntables in 1972, hip-hop requires invention and creativity."
Hip-Hop Week MKE runs Aug. 20-26 and complete details can be found at its website.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.