Ben Ortiz, the assistant curator of the Hip Hop Collection at Cornell University, was talking about his latest hire: D.J. Afrika Bambaataa, the South Bronx hip-hop legend and creator of the Universal Zulu Nation.
“Who better than the man who named hip-hop?” Ortiz said of the appointment, which will have the legendary artist visiting the campus several times a year for lectures, meetings with students and community groups, and performances at Cornell. Bambaataa, Ortiz said, was the first to “identify” hip-hop as a cultural movement in an interview with The Village Voice in 1982. He cited, as many do, a very specific point of origin for the form: a house party on April 11, 1973 at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx; Bambaataa is thought to have attended.