From everything I’ve been reading the past few days (heavy on the Spin magazine archives with dabbles elsewhere), it feels that a whole lot radiates back to two 1982 tracks: Grandmaster Flash’s The Message, and Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock. Though the music is pretty different – Planet Rock has a pop/dance/disco vibe, while The Message is a much starker rap - both have hearts clearly in social righteousness and self-empowerment. Both are Bronx-based groups.
I'm going back a ways to set the stage, but remember - this is the defy authority and get things done your own way music that Thomas and Rosemary would have grown up with.
and NB: this is the beginning of music videos, and these two contain some great New York footage.