Veteran hip hop journalist and historian Davey D. just posted up a four-part series of interviews, highlighting the 40th anniversary of the Black Spades, with a specific focus on how the gang activity of the 1960s and 1970s helped create the conditions, and individuals, that birthed hip hop.
From his descriptions:
The notorious Black Spades was once the largest and most feared gang in New York City. Hailing from the Bronx, the Spades had as their warlord, Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa. They were the precursors to Hip Hop.. We caught up with many of the members including original leader Bam Bam who gave Bambaataa his name. We spoke with Hip Hop legend Popmaster Fabel who is finishing up a documentary on early gang culture called The Apache Line.
We also speak with Karate Charlie who is featured in Fabel’s documentary about the legacy of the Ghetto Brothers. he talks about how the Black Spades the Ghetto Brothers united and became a family. He also talked about how they protected the community against the police… Charlie also explains how he taught martial arts throughout the community and had Ghetto brothers patrol the subway years before the Guardian Angels under Curtis Sliwa came into being..
We hear an impassioned Bam Bam, original leader of the Black Spades speaking to young gangbangers in New York, Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings etc and explaining the direction they should really be taking. Powerful words.
We caught up with original B-Boy and Zulu Charlie Rock who hails from the 22cd division of the Black Spades up on Gun Hill road in the Bronx.. He talks about how the Black Spades evolved and became the Zulu Nation.. He talks about Disco King Mario and the founding Spade chapters at Bronxdale Housing project which was known as Chuck City…
He also talks about how the early gangs were organized and became targets to corrupt police.. He talks about how three members, Wildman, Soulski and Meathead Ron were murdered by police. He noted that because the Black Spades were organized many of them were targeted by the police who tried to break them up and shrink their numbers…
Charlie Rock also talks about how New York was segregated and runs down all the racial unrest and white gangs the Black Spades and later Zulu Nation had to fight.. he talks about the Golden Guineas and the Ministers up in Parkchester.. He talks about the White Assassins and the White Angels..
Rock also explained how the police used to work in concert with some of these white gangs to try and defeat the Black Spades which was the largest gang in NY.. He talks about how the police hung him over a rooftop and threatened to kill him..
This is History Channel type stuff here for hip hop, especially for New York. Enjoy, comments are welcome as always.