The Bronx has experienced both tragic loss, and amazing growth. While the borough–recognized as the most dangerous spot in New York City–underwent a series disastrous fires conducted by arsonists hired by corrupt landlords for the sake of insurance during the ’70a that burnt down many of the neighborhood and its local establishments, from its ashes rose a movement that would–and continues to–take over the world: hip hop. Through the tenacity and spirit of the Bronx, with a mindset that you could take what you had and make anything out of it, the new music movement started permeating all other facets of youth and creativity.

At the forefront of it all was local photographer Ricky Flores, who was there to capture the streets of South Bronx, from its days of burning to its inevitable rise in do-it-yourself culture. While left to their own demise by most of the Big Apple during its time of need, this lack of focus on the area allowed the movement to grow relatively untouched. As Flores puts it, “Hip hop today is a commercial manifestation born from the real struggle of seeking and living life in community forgotten by a nation. Early Hip hop was taking what was made available and transforming it into something that spoke to us.” Check out his images throughout, and then make sure you read through Dazed Digitals exclusive interview with the photographer afterwards here.