Arts + Culture

Music's Greatest Hits

by Kara Zuaro

New York City, July 3, 1981

The Moment: The Harlem World Disco hosts the first organized battle in hip-hop history. For a grand prize of $1,000, the pinstripe-suited, toy machine gun–toting Cold Crush Brothers take on the tuxedo-clad Fantastic Five, led by Grand Wizard Theodore, inventor of "scratching." Tonight, the Five come out on top, and deliver another blow to Cold Crush's Grandmaster Caz (who two years earlier was an uncredited contributor to the Sugarhill Gang's multiplatinum hit, "Rapper's Delight"). Ah, for the innocent days before hip-hop battles involved real guns.

Where to go now: You won't find many hip-hop artists battling for a measly one G anymore. Today MCs, VIPs, and their many fans show off their bling at 40/40, Jay-Z's $4-million sports bar and cigar lounge in New York. But some of the genre's early adopters are still out there working the crowds—you can check out Grandmaster Caz's skills on one of the hip-hop bus tours he guides through Harlem and the Bronx with Hush Tours.

6 W. 25th Street
New York
Tel: 212 832 4040

Hush Tours
Tel: 212 714 3527

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