“So you think hip-hop had its start out in Queensbridge?”
According to seminal rap artist and South Bronx native KRS-One, you are mistaken. In fact, according to his aptly titled 1986 track, “If you popped that junk up in the Bronx, you might not live.”
KRS-One and rival Queensbridge-based rapper Marley Marl fought over the question of where hip-hop was born for the better part of a decade. The two hip-hop pioneers never came to a consensus, but the feud reminded music fans that the South Bronx, more than a forgotten and violence-prone outpost in New York City, was a hotspot for creativity—so much so that the neighborhood nearly single-handedly changed the direction of music.
Today, with numerous redevelopment projects, especially in developing areas like the Grand Concourse, the neighborhood’s appeal to the co-op and condominium communities is on the rise.
Named After the River
Originally the territory of the Lenape Native Americans, the Bronx was settled by Dutchman Jonas Bronck in 1639. Bronck traveled up the East River in his ship The Fire of Troy and settled on 500 acres across from the Harlem River, according to Lisa Garrison’s The South Bronx and the Founding of America. Consequently, the river that ran parallel to the Harlem became known as Bronck’s River, and the community that grew around it was later dubbed “The Bronx.”