44 years ago today, the entrance fee to DJ Kool Herc's "Back to School Jam" was 25 cents for ladies and 50 cents for guys -- a steal considering the all-night party, held in a west Bronx apartment building, would prove to be a historic one, birthing what we now know as hip hop.
To celebrate the anniversary of the iconic bash -- plus the music and culture it spawned -- Google has debuted a multi-faceted doodle commemorating hip hop -- the first of its more than 2,000 specialty nameplates to do so.
Google worked with hip hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy (a.k.a. Fred Brathwaite) and the brand's Universal Head of Music Lyor Cohen, a music industry vet who produced hip hop acts for more than three decades, to conceive the doodle. Production shop Decon and media company Mass Appeal also collaborated on the effort.
Running globally over 48 hours, it opens with an animated video featuring Fab 5 Freddy, who revisits the early days of hip hop and then invites users to flip through a digital record rate and play iconic samples on an interactive turntables. Playing with the DJ set unlocks "achievements," which manifest in informative slides on some of the genre's most legendary individuals: Grand Master Caz, Roxanne Shante, Run DMC, and more.
Google also tapped hip hop producer Prince Paul (a.k.a. Paul Huston), to create three new beats for the platform. Each sample is 110 beats per minute, and Prince Paul's are available alongside other classics like Michael Viner's "Incredible Bongo Band."
"They threw some stuff in there that was like, wow, only hip hop heads know what this is," Prince Paul says. "They tackle some pretty real stuff."
One of the initiative's goals is to bridge the divide between younger hip hop fans and those of past generations.
"My son DJs for Lil Uzi Vert -- and he's my son -- so he knows practically everything," says Prince Paul. "But a lot of kids in his era don't know about the origins. Some don't even care."
Forty-four years after the creation of hip hop, Google is hoping to change that.