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A break beat is the sampling of breaks as (drum loop) beats, (originally found in Soul tracks) and their subsequent use as the rhythmic basis for hip hop and rap. It was invented by DJ Kool Herc, a Jamaican, the first to buy two copies of one record so as to be able to mix between the same break[citation needed] or, as Bronx DJ Afrika Bambaataa describes, "that certain part of the record that everybody waits for--they just let their inner self go and get wild," extending its length through repetition.[4] A particularly innovative style of street dance was created to accompany break beat-based music, and was hence referred to as "The Break", or breaking. Breaking enjoyed some popularity before being largely ousted by "The Freak" in 1978[citation needed]. In the 1980s, charismatic dancers like Crazy Legs, Frosty Freeze, and the Rock Steady Crew revived the breaking movement. More recently, electronic artists have created "break beats" from other electronic music. Compare with "breakbeat" below.

Although DJ Kool Herc is usually credited with being the first to cut between two copies of a record, it is likely that there were a number of like-minded DJ's developing the technique at the same time. For example, Walter Gibbons was noted in first-hand accounts by his peers for cutting two copies of the same record in his discothèque gigs of the mid 1970s.[citation needed] Hip hop break beat compilations include Hardcore Break Beats and Break Beats, and Drum Drops.[4]