Lights Out

lights out

Back in the summer of 1977, two young DJs named Disco Wiz and Grandmaster Casanova Fly were spinning records for a growing crowd on a busy street corner in the Bronx.

Around 9:30 that night — July 13th — the city experienced a massive blackout, with power failing in all five boroughs. Looting, arson, and rioting happened across the city, but Disco Wiz and Grandmaster Casanova Fly have their own theories about how the blackout influenced the creative life of the Bronx and the birth of hip hop.

Lights Out explores what happened that night.

This story was produced with a grant from In the Dark, a UK-based radio organization. It has since aired on Re:sound, RTE Radio 1, and BBC Radio 4, and was written up by the Guardian’s radio critic.


One response to Lights Out

  1. Tommy Pi

    I bookmarked this article and when I finally write my memoirs and include how I have been inspired by hip hop legends, classics, and history–I will definitely be referencing this right here! What an amazing take on what I consider to be like the first literal record spinning of Hip Hop as a whole! Hip Hop started in The Bronx, no doubt about it. I was always representing that truth, though Queensbridge had come out with unbelievable hype and records, The Bronx stayed true all day and continue to represent Hip Hop History and Culture to the max. Then Brooklyn, Essex County (New Jersey – where I hail from) and then the West Coast in the early 90s with Gangsta Rap. And it just continues but nothing can compare to the originals: Kurtis Blow, Grandmaster Fly and Flash, Afrika, The Furious Five, Run DMC, LL, Beastie, Sugar Hill, KRS (of course), and so many more. Amazing article, once again, so happy I found this! Just watched the 2nd episode of 3rd season (new) of “Portlandia” on Netflix and there was a ’77 New York City reference so I Google’d it because I remember the blackout being at that time and did not realize this story with Casanova. So cool. Peace

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