Yonkers celebrates its musical contributions to hip-hop as it celebrates 50 years
The City of Yonkers had a big influence on the culture and the music of hip-hop, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Many know the Bronx as the birthplace of hip-hop.
The story goes that on Aug. 11, 1973, DJ Kool Herc tried something new on the turntable at his sister's back-to-school party. He held an instrumental beat longer, which let people break dance longer and he began to rap during the performance.
That may be the birth of the cultural movement, but it grew up right in Yonkers, which is also celebrating the genre.
"We're celebrating our heroes, the music, the culture and educating the community," said Jerome "Raw Rome" Enders. He wrote the book "Yonkers: The Lost City of Hip-Hop," and now he is one of a handful of people who partnered with Yonkers Arts to teach people about the city's contributions.
Enders classifies himself as second generation hip-hop. He used to follow his first-generation cousins around.
"I was carrying their crates and music equipment to the parties," Enders recalled.
He said those parties are one of the biggest contributions Yonkers made to hip-hop.
"Bronx didn't have no venues in the late 70s because a lot of fires and situations like that, so a lot of people used to come up to Yonkers," Enders explained.
Others saw and took inspiration.
Some of Yonkers' biggest stars include Jadakiss, Styles P, DMX, and Mary J. Blige.
Current hip-hop artists hope they will also be celebrated, and residents and hip-hop fans be able to do that all year long in Yonkers and beyond.
The biggest event scheduled right now is a 50th anniversary concert on Aug. 11 at Yankee Stadium.