A documentary that reveals how a forgotten record by the Incredible Bongo Band helped cement the foundation of hip hop when DJ Herc extended its percussion by playing them back to back, creating an anthem on the streets of the Bronx.
This documentary was a surprise because I thought I would jump into the hip hop era and see how the Bronx took this record and made it their own. What we see in this documentary is an idea from a man that the hip hop community embraced and extended the life of. This is all about the song "Apache" from the group the incredible bongo band. This song was a fixture as I grew up as a budding DJ in the South Bronx. Following the blueprint from Grandmaster Flash and The Grand Wizard Theodore. This was a beat you had to have and make the most of because it had everything needed for a party. But this isn't a total hip hop story. This is the making of the incredible bongo band and the many studio musicians that recorded and played the music live during its time. and by the way, made this song great and the band iconic.
This story starts with Michael Viner. as weird as this sounds, this guy worked with the Kennedy administration back in the late 60's where he connected with so many people that are featured in this documentary. After the death of Kennedy he left for California and started working in the music industry with no musical talent but was able to successfully influence people to get in to places most wouldn't be able to. Michael and Rosey Grier worked together with Kennedy and they both came to California to find their way. Rosey went into film and Michael tagged along with him gaining more influence. Both played in a cult movie "the thing with two heads" and Michael had the brilliant idea of creating the soundtrack for the movie. This is where we are introduced to the remake of the song "Bongo Rock". So the someone had to credited. So the fictitious "Incredible Bongo Band" was created. The song was a hit in Canada that they had to do something to finish a complete album. What made this incredible was the artist that toured as the incredible bongo band wasn't the artist that recorded the album. It is so amazing how Michael Viner strung together everything about this group and continued to recreate it to get it played on the radio and in live concerts. We see a lot of his connections and great know artist that had 6 degrees of separation from each other and what influence it did for the band.
But the biggest take away that actually put this band into the hands of hip hop was the great percussionist King Ericsson. This Jamaican born talent was the best studio percussionist in the industry at that time. And if you follow hip hop in its infancy. You know the leaders have been the Jamaican DJ's that used their island technique to bring it to a whole new level. This is how DJ Kool Herc found the Apache cut. From following the beats of King Ericsson. We see lots of Hip Hop old heads like Africa Bambaata, Grand Wizard Theodore and great artist speaking to there relationship to Michael and the group. Very interesting to see and worth the time as an artist and hip hop follower. Worth the look.