By David Meyer
August 11, 2017

Google regularly replaces its logo on its search engine with special versions that are designed to celebrate anniversaries, but sometimes it comes up with something truly diverting. Friday’s “Google Doodle” provides one of those occasions.

It’s a celebration of the 44th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop, which Google places at DJ Kool Herc’s legendary emceeing session at a Bronx back-to-school party. Music historians have also pointed to earlier records as arguably containing hip-hop’s roots, but the 1973 party is generally accepted as the genre’s seminal moment.

If you click on Google’s Doodle, you will first see a video, presented by hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, that explains how Kool Herc extended the “breaks” in the records he played by using two turntables. With these instrumental, beat-heavy moments extended, people had more time to dance – and emcees found the space to rap over the beat.

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What’s particularly fun about Friday’s Doodle is that the video is followed by an interactive deejaying game, where you get two turntables, a cross-fader and a selection of records to mix together. You can even scratch the records using your mouse cursor or, on mobile, your finger.

Google’s Doodles started out as simple, contextual redesigns of the search engine’s logo – in 2001, for example, Google celebrated the birth of painter Claude Monet with an impressionist version of its logo.

In 2011, Google used innovations in the HTML5 web-coding standard to create an interactive nursery mobile that celebrated the birth of Alexander Calder, the toy’s designer. Since then, the format has provided for entertaining bursts of whimsy, such as recreations of the Pac-Man game and even the Moog synthesizer.

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