DJ Rob Swift Slams Tariq Nasheed’s “Hidden History Of Hip-Hop” Claims

AllHipHop recently spoke with the controversial internet personality to discuss the documentary, which disputes Latinos’ role in Hip-Hop’s birth.

DJ Rob Swift, veteran turntablist and member of the X-ecutioners, had some choice words for Tariq Nasheed, director of Microphone Check: The Hidden History of Hip-Hop. The exchange began last week in a series of tweets addressing the origins of Hip-Hop. It was still going on as of Saturday (June 2).

The discourse appeared to kick off after Swift tweeted, “Not all of the founders of Hip Hop say it was ‘100% Black.’ Some first generation Writers were White. Some first generation B Boys were Latino. Felipe Luciano (member of the Last Poets) is Puerto Rican. The founders who say it was ‘100% Black’ are victims of the Mandela Effect.”

Nasheed quickly challenged Swift, retorting, “What first generation B Boy was Latino? What’s his name?” Swift replied, “In Hip-Hop, no element was ‘invented’ by a single individual. In the case of Breaking specifically, the dance was codified by a community of dancers over a period of time. The Zulu Kings might have laid the first cornerstones, yes.

“Still, B-Boys like Trac 2 (Luis Angel Mateo) and Spy (Lein Figeueroa), Latinos, played integral roles in continuing to develop the dance throughout the mid to late 1970s. Spy, ‘The Man With A Thousand Moves,’ is explicitly credited with inventing moves like Swipes, 6 Step, and the Baby Freeze. Remember their names @tariqnasheed.”

Nasheed dug up a passage online that he thought contradicted Swift’s claim and fired back, “boom..These dudes were NOT 1st generation B boys at all.”

However, Swift’s gripe is bigger than who was a first generation b-boy. Instead, he’s baffled by Nasheed’s shift from an author who wrote books about how to pick up women to an overnight Hip-Hop historian.

“No one is denying the pioneering that’s occurred in Hip-Hop on behalf of Black Americans,” Swift continued. “But in recent years things have taken a curious turn among the “FBA” commentariat online, with a fixation on causing dissension in the culture. You weren’t the one thinking about Hip-Hop when you wrote “The Art of Mackin’” in 2001. I WAS WHEN I WROTE MY AUTOGRAPH ON A LOUD RECORDS RECORDING CONTRACT (Kool DJ Herc, Grandmixer http://D.ST and GrandWizzard Theodore literally passed the Hip-Hop torch over to my crew The X-Ecutioners).

“But then Hip-Hop 50 rolls around, and all of a sudden you’re a historian of DJing, Rapping, Breaking and Graffiti? F### OUTTA HERE! You’re attempting to steal the Hip-Hop torch! You’re a sophisticated fraud, an intelligent grifter, a clever crook, and while you’ve succeeded in turning some of us against each other, you’ll never wipe out the Latinos, and Whites, and other races who’ve had a hand in making Hip-Hop the universal movement it is today!”

Swift continued, “The values you espouse run counter to everything Hip-Hop stands for. You’re not Hip-Hop, you’re a liar ! What you are is a ‘pick up artist.’ Your platform emerged out of ‘hook up culture.’ You teach incels how to get women to sleep with them. You educate lonely, demoralized men on ‘The Art of Gold Digging.’ You’ve used your voice to push manure ideology to weak men, under the guise of empowering them. But in reality, you’re just a modern day pimp.”

Nasheed replied by insulting Rob Swift and essentially calling him washed up with, “You are posting things about me that were extremely SUCCESSFUL. My books got raved reviews by the New York Times and they sold hundreds of thousands of copies. You on the other hand are a wack DJ and a failed tether. Who is jealous of foundational black Americans. That’s because you come from a fleeing failed background and homeland.”

Nasheed then attempted to school Swift on how to use the word “break dancing,” which Swift essentially laughed off.

“‘the proper term is BREAK DANCING,’ I’m sorry @tariqnasheed, but a pimp does not get to instruct me on Hip-Hop vernacular. Trixie was the precursor to Breaking. He and his peers catalyzed what would become Breaking. According to Cholly Rock, a Black contemporary of Trixie’s, Breaking didn’t start to form until 1975. So you lie when you claim dudes were performing Backspins, Windmills, and Flares in 1970.

“Also, I don’t doubt Sammy Davis Jr. learned from Will Mastin and Sammy Sr. (very seldom is an idea 100% original), but neither his uncle nor father were performing ‘kickouts’ or ‘swipes’ when they danced. Sammy Jr. added to the trio. Hence, they integrated him into their group; ironically, that’s the beauty of Hip Hop: it expands. It’s pimps like you who restrict.”

Nasheed was recently in New York City promoting Microphone Check: The Hidden History of Hip-Hop. AllHipHop spoke with Nasheed to discuss the documentary, which disputes Latinos’ role in Hip-Hop’s creation. Nasheed, a leading voice of the Foundational Black Americans movement, thinks there was a corporate-led effort to rewrite Hip-Hop’s history.

“In the last 15 years, there’s been this push by the corporate media to say that Hip-Hop was started by Blacks and Latinos,” Nasheed said. “And they’ve been pushing that narrative real hard. And that’s just not true. Not taking anything away from the Latino brothers and sisters, but they came later. And they did phenomenal things. But in the early stages of Hip-Hop, all the pioneers have said this: ‘We was just out there by ourselves. We were doing it by ourselves.’ And the Latino cats were the first students.”

He continued, “We gotta be very careful with people doing that ‘we co-created something together’ because what I’ve seen, people try to ease over and say, ‘Well, the Latinos actually started it first and then we started learning from them.’ And that’s where it gets dangerous because then we’re gonna end up in the same realm we were in with country music.”

Microphone Check features interviews with Grandmaster Melle Mel, Grandmaster Caz, Busy Bee, Sha-Rock, MC Debbie D, Coke La Rock, DJ Hollywood and more. But he was unable to land interviews with two of Hip-Hop’s most prolific pioneers: DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash.

Nasheed claimed he tried to interview Latinos for Microphone Check, but insisted no Latinos would participate because there’s no proof they contributed to Hip-Hop’s origins.

“It shouldn’t be so hard to give credit to Black people for creating something,” Nasheed said. “When Hip-Hop was negative, we got all the credit. When it was looked at as violent and degenerate, oh [it’s] Blacks. Now that it’s a corporate thing, it’s going to the Olympics, well, other people contributed … If we let them, they’ll say everybody created it. So, we have to put our foot down and say, ‘Look, This is what it is. This is the definitive narrative of the story and we’re gonna leave it at that.’