Yo! The Early Days of Hip-Hop 1982-84 is a new book published by Soul Jazz Books/Records that features 300+ pages of stunning photographs documenting the rise of hip hop in the early 1980s, taken by French photographer Sophie Bramly.

    Fab Five Freddy
    Afrika Bambaataa
    Grand Mixer D.ST
    Beastie Boys
    Kool Herc
    Run DMC
    Cold Crush Brothers
    Rocksteady Crew
    Grandmaster Flash
    and many more!

    Bill Adler

    Fab Fab Freddy
    Grand Mixer D. St
    Rahiem of The Furious Five
    Arthur Baker
    Muhamad of The Magnificent Force
    Lady Pink
    Mister Freeze of The Rock Steady Crew
    Patti Astor & Slick Rick

    “All these photos speak for a time that is so special, is never coming back and changed the world. It’s pretty much this experience that changed everything for ever. What makes it amazing, is that you hear stories about superheroes that changed the world, and that was us.” Grand Mixer D. St


    Sophie Bramly lived in New York in the early 1980s and became firmly embedded in the emergent scene. The book features many stunning, intimate images of a star-studded roll call of legendary hip hop figures, all of whom were only just getting known or in their ascendency. These include Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmixer DST, Jazzy Jay, Red Alert, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, Lisa Lee, the Fat Boys, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and many more.

    Bramly knew that hip hop was becoming a cultural force rather than just a musical fashion, and spent many hours photographing the four essential elements of this new world: the emcees, the deejays, the graffiti artists and the break dancers.

    Aside from the musical stars of hip-hop you will also see legendary graffiti artists captured at work and play, such as Keith Haring, Dondi, Futura, Phase One, Zephyr and Lady Pink, and break dancers including members of Magnificent Force, Dynamic Breakers and the Rock Steady Crew.


    Sophie Bramly is a French photographer born in 1959. In 1982, she moved from France to New York at age 22 and for two years documented the burgeoning hip-hop scene, taking pictures of everyone from graffiti artists and breakdancers to rappers such as the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. She returned to France in 1984, bringing a number of US hip-hop artists to Europe and then in 1987 moved to London to host and produce MTV’s first ever hip-hop show, Yo! MTV Raps.

    She currently lives in Paris and her work is featured extensively at Hip-Hop 360 a six month long exhibition showing at the prestigious Philarmonie de Paris, France (Dec 21–Aug 22)


    “One of the curious facts about hip-hop’s history is how little photographic documentation exists of the culture’s early years. Come the dawn of the Eighties, a handful of talented photographers finally began to pay attention, most notably Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, and Joe Conzo. In retrospect, it’s clear that each of them focused on a particular element or two of the multiform explosion of creativity that came to be called hip-hop. Henry zeroed in on graffiti. Martha devoted herself to graffiti and breakdancing. And the heart of Joe’s work documents the career of the Cold Crush Brothers. Uniquely Sophie Bramly, unlike the others, managed between 1982 and 1984 to put her arms around all four of the hip-hop elements: the emcees, deejays, graffiti artists, and breakdancers.” Bill Adler from the introduction.

    ISBN: 978-1-9163598-2-6

    Flexibound, 304 pages, Dimensions 224 X 284 mm, Weight 1.75Kg

    Yo! Reviews/Photo Galleries/Features:

    The Guardian

    Creative Review

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