The first Time Zone single was the 1983 electro song "The Wildstyle" which featured music from a German project called Wunderwerke based in Wactersbach in Germany. Rusty Egan came to see them in their studio on his way to Zurich to meet YELLO. Ian Tregonning was interested in their track "Sex Appeal"; Bambaataa was introduced to their music by Rusty Egan of Visage. The music was recorded in one evening as witnessed by Tregonning and was the first known use of a sampler. Samples of 'Trans Europe Express' by Kraftwerk and CHIC's 'Good Times' were cut into a drum and bassline created by Egan. The song became popular among breakdancers at the time.
In December 1984, Time Zone released their most well-known single, "World Destruction". A collaboration between Bambaataa, ex-Sex Pistol/Public Image Ltd. leader John Lydon, and producer/bassist Bill Laswell. The "World Destruction" single was arranged by Laswell after Lydon and Bambaataa had acknowledged respect for each other's work:
Afrika Bambaataa: "I was talking to Bill Laswell saying I need somebody who's really crazy, man, and he thought of John Lydon. I knew he was perfect because I'd seen this movie that he'd made (Copkiller), I knew about all the Sex Pistols and Public Image stuff, so we got together and we did a smashing crazy version, and a version where he cussed the Queen something terrible, which was never released."
John Lydon: "We went in, put a drum beat down on the machine and did the whole thing in about four-and-a-half hours. It was very, very quick."
Bernie Worrell, Nicky Skopelitis, and Aïyb Dieng also played on the single, which was released by Celluloid Records on December 1, 1984. The track peaked at #44 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1985.
Although this single did predate Run-DMC and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way", it is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the first rap-rock record. This is not true as Run-DMC had incorporated hard rock guitar into songs, most notably "Rock Box", in April 1984.
Although the song was critically acclaimed, Bambaataa put the Time Zone project on hold while he worked on other projects. In 1992, Bambaataa revived the project with the single "Zulu War Chant". Time Zone released a handful of singles in the early-1990s which were compiled in the 1992 album Thy Will B Funk. In 1995, the band released another album titled Warlocks and Witches, Computer Chips, Microchips and You. The album featured contributions from George Clinton and his P-Funk Horns. But neither album sold well, and Bambaataa retired Time Zone.
"World Destruction" was also featured in the first episode of the fourth season of The Sopranos, "For All Debts Public and Private". The song played at the beginning of the episode as Tony gets his newspaper and again during the closing credits.
In 2005, Bambaataa again revived the Time Zone moniker for an album of breakbeats titled Everyday People: The Breakbeat Party Album.
- 1983 "The Wild Style"
- 1984 "World Destruction" with John Lydon
- 1987 "Shake Frappe"
- 1992 "Zulu War Chant" / "Time To Get Open"
- 1992 "The 40 OZ Crew" / "Very Special"
- 1993 "What's The Name of This Nation? Zulu! "/ "Hold On I'm Comin'" / "Ghost"
- 1995 "Throw Ya Funky Hands Up" / "Down With The Nation"
- 1996 "Funky Beeper" / "Godfather"
- 2005 "Push" / "Shake Ya Bodys"
- "The Wild Style"
- "World Destruction" (with John Lydon)
- "Shake Frappe"
- "Zulu War Chant"
- "Time To Get Open"
- "The 40 Oz Crew"
- "Very Special"
- "What's The Name of This Nation? Zulu!
- "Hold On I'm Coming
- "Throw Ya Funky Hands Up"
- "Down With The Nation"
- "Funky Beeper"
- "Shake Ya Bodys"