“The hip-hop world, like the world around it, wasn’t created in a matter of days. It took years to get from there to here. But when people talk about the genres that led into (and fed into) hip-hop, they usually look at ’60s soul and ’70s funk. That’s because those are the most audible ingredients. You can feel those peas under the mattress; pass them. But that analysis leaves out a conspicuous player. It overlooks, in fact, the tallest mountain in the range, the dominant aesthetic in African-American music in the years directly preceding hip-hop. I’m talking, of course, about disco.”


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