Ghetto Blaster Poster : vibrate the concrete

music portrait explained quote print

Here is the little story of the portable sound system which was the icon of the 80s.

Widely associated with Hip Hop and heavily concreted areas, here is the story of the ghetto blaster AKA the "Boombox".

ghettoblaster poster vibrate the concrete
 Impossible to imagine the Hip Hop story without this huge box flanked by two speakers, wear on the shoulder, the cassette "K7" player, Graffiti and Breakdance dancers.

The ghettoblaster or boombox is made for "vibrate the concrete" !
vibrate the concrete


1.Boombox origins : the portable cassette recorder invention.

We must first congratulate Lou Ottens, engineer from Philips, an electronics company from the Netherlands. In the year 1969, philips introduce a new musical support that will change the world of music: the audio cassette.

Lou Ottens Philips radio cassette


At this time, vinyl records were used, but the players were bulky and needed a power supply. The cassette will allow you to read media while walking around without a power outlet - just few battery packs needed !

Philips releases the first portable music player and recorder, the size of a radio.

Thanks to it, we will be able to record the radio on a cassette by pressing two buttons, or even record ambient sound using a microphone.


boombox record play


These small devices are starting to become popular, people buy audio cassettes, record their favorite songs from the radio and play them back whenever they want.

Japan, with its technological skills, is beginning to take a significant place in the cassette player market and is striving to meet consumer expectations!
boombox drawing wall art

2.Boombox made in Japan

To meet the strong demand for radio cassettes, Japan is working hard and all companies are participating in the race for radio cassettes: always bigger, louder and above all : more powerful.

Between the 1970s and 1980s, Japanese companies :JVC, Panasonic, Pioneer, Sanyo, Hitachi and Toshiba manufactured boomboxes.
boombox japan manufacturer jvc hitachi toshiba


At the end of the 1970s, the radio cassette very quickly became an object that fascinated and brought crowds together around a common passion : music.

To organize a good party, all you need is a Boombox with new batteries and people to party. This device creates instant and spontaneous parties: Magic!
boombox instant party


3.Boombox and the 80's

Quickly monopolized by the urban youth of the 80s, it became one of its striking symbols. Buyers demanded louder radios, more dynamics and above all more low frequencies. The 80s will be under the sign of the boombox.

It didn't take long to find them on album covers like LL Cool J's first solo album entitled "Radio" which was released in 1985.

It is also the JVC RC-M90 which will be used to illustrate the album cover.
It is one of the most popular Ghetto Blasters among boombox enthusiasts.

"while my JVC vibrates the concrete" - LL J Cool

lljcool my jvc vibrate the concrete


Worn by increasingly well-known groups such as Run DMC or Beastie boys, boomboxes become the emblems of a group or a musical style.
The Ghettoblaster becomes an object of competition, a symbol of reputation, for whoever has the biggest or most powerful one.

run dmc ghettoblaster boombox


The first radio which will be considered the first real Boombox came out in 1978. It is the JVC RC-550 "El Diablo". because red LEDs light up when sound comes out of the speakers.

boombox drawing poster

4.Definition of a Boombox

The boombox is a radio cassette player. He got different nicknames like "Boombox" in the United States, Ghettoblaster in France and Germany or "Brixton suitcase" in London.


poster ghettoblaster vibrate concrete quote


Its definition remains the same:

  •     The ghetto-blaster is massive: it has two or more stereo speakers with sometimes two tweeters or two subwoofers to increase the bass.
  • The Ghettoblaster has batteries to make it portable and usable anywhere!
  • The boombox has a cassette player to easily play your favorite songs (play, pause, fast forward, etc.). For Hip Hop composers, there will be two cassette players, a recording function and a microphone in option to record voices!
  • The ghetto-blaster, due to its disproportionate size and its sound power, must be capable of "exploding the silence" (to blast). We hope to reach 100 decibels with such a device!
  • Heavy and bulky, the boombos is worn on the shoulder, with the arm holding the top and the speakers on either side of the ears.
    “Vibrate the concrete” - ghetto Blaster


boombox definition


Some Options :

The boombox will modify over the years and feature features such as

  • removable speakers
  • An Anti-Theft alarm like on the Conion C-100F, which includes a motion detector
  • LEDs for equalizers
  • C or D size battery packs in your pockets to enjoy the sound a little longer.
ghettoblaster battery DC power

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