Afrika Bambaataa
Afrika Bambaataa

Birth name

Lance Taylor


17 April 1957 (age 60)


The Bronx, New York, United States


Hip hop, electro, disco, electro house


DJ, producer, activist

Years active



Tommy Boy (2004)

Associated acts

Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force, Busy Bee Starski, DJ Jazzy Jay, DJ Kool Herc, Jazzy Five, MC G.L.O.B.E., Melle Mel

Afrika Bambaataa Aasim (born Lance Taylor; 19 April 1957) is an American DJ, record producer and activist from the Bronx, New York. He is notable for releasing a series of genre-defining electro tracks in 1980s that influenced the development of hip hop. Bambaataa is one of the originators of breakbeat DJing and is respectfully known as "The Godfather" and "Amen Ra of Hip Hop Culture", as well as the father of electro funk. Through his co-opting of the street gang the Black Spades into the music and culture-oriented Universal Zulu Nation, he has helped spread hip hop culture throughout the world.

In April 2016, Bronx political activist Ronald Savage accused Bambaataa of molesting him in 1980, when Savage was 15. Following Savage's allegations, three more men accused Bambaata of sexual abuse. Bambaataa issued a statement to Rolling Stone denying the allegations. On 6 May 2016, Bambaataa left his position as head of the Zulu Nation.

Early lifeEdit

Born as Lance Taylor (previously falsely assumed as Kevin Donovan) to Jamaican and Barbadian immigrants, Bambaataa grew up in The Bronx River Projects, with an activist mother and uncle. As a child, he was exposed to the black liberation movement, and witnessed debates between his mother and uncle regarding the conflicting ideologies in the movement. He was exposed to his mother's extensive and eclectic record collection. Gangs in the area became the law, clearing their turf of drug dealers, assisting with community health programs and both fighting and partying to keep members and turf. Bambaataa became a member of the Black Spades, a street gang active since the late 1960s. He quickly rose to the position of warlord of one of the divisions. As warlord, it was his job to build ranks and expand the turf of the young Spades. He was not afraid to cross turfs to forge relationships with other gang members, and with other gangs. As a result, the Spades became the biggest gang in the city in terms of both membership and turf.

After Bambaataa won an essay contest that earned him a trip to Africa, his worldview shifted. He had seen the movie Zulu and was impressed with the solidarity exhibited by the Zulu in that film. During his trip to Africa, the communities he visited inspired him to create one in his own neighbourhood. He changed his name to Afrika Bambaataa Aasim, adopting the name of the Zulu chief Bhambatha, who led an armed rebellion against unfair economic practices in early 20th century South Africa. He told people that his name was Zulu for "affectionate leader". Bambaataa formed the "Bronx River Organization" as an alternative to the Black Spades.


Studio albumsEdit