I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie to the hip hip hop, a you don’t stop
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the
boogie to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat.
Now what you hear is not a test. I’m rappin to the beat and me,
the groove, and my friends are gonna try to move your feet..
-Sugar Hill Gang-”Rappers Delight”
(Go ahead and rap the rest to yourself…You know you want to!)
If you have heard any hip hop lyric every in your life you have heard the lyric above in some form or fashion. If you hadn’t heard the original by the Sugar Hill Gang you have heard the remake by the Def squad or some hip hop artist flipping some lyric of this song. Rappers Delight was many people’s introduction to the burgeoning musical movement in the many vast boroughs of New York. Every borough has some form of claim of their contribution to hip hop but most will not dispute the beginning innovations of the vast array of DJs and MCs who lived in the Bronx- one particularly being DJ Kool Herc.
Kool Herc is considered the founding father of hip hop though this high disputed (and rightfully so). Kool Herc the night of August 11, 1973 while spinning and MCing a party in a basement did something no other DJ had done up till that point. DJ Kool Herc extended an instrumental beat (breaking or scratching) to let people dance longer (break dancing) and began MCing (rapping) during the extended break dancing. (Source) No other DJ until that point was able to extend the song unless the record was in an extended fashion. Kool Herc even gave birth to the term break boys and girls (later coined b-boys and b-girls). This new style of music exploded through the different boroughs of New York and eventually spread throughout the country and the world because of one man’s innovation.
Kool Herc is now in the hospital with kidney stones and they have asked the hip hop community for donations to help out since he has no health care (You can find out more info here). It so ironic that the person who has helped create this art form that many of us love is in a situation of needing donations and aid. I applaud the people who have come together to help out someone who has done so much for the art.
It’s interesting how many people say they are hip hop fans but know nothing of the contributions of DJ Kool Herc. Being a hip hop fan and not understanding the significance of Kool Herc is like a Jazz fan not knowing the contributions of Miles Davis to Jazz, a blues fan not knowing WC Handy, Rock n Roll fans not acknowledging Jimmy Hendrix. Hip Hop maybe the only genre of music that does not pay proper homage to their pioneers. Just like much of our society’s outlook on life, hip hop consistently has a “what have you done for me lately” attitude. Some people don’t think they have a have a need to understand where the hip hop has been in the past. This is where much of the disconnect occurs with hip hop connoisseurs/artists today and hip hop pioneers such as Kool Herc.
Though I was not born when Kool Herc did the first scratch and break I understood and knew its significance. One can love whatever rapper they wish since it is their choice but one can’t understand the music without knowing where it comes from. I have no problem if you think Lil Wayne, Waka Flocka, Gucci Mane, T.I., or Wiz Khalifa are the best MCs since sliced bread was created but make sure you take time to understand things like the legendary Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, etc.
My dude @Shadzilla said a dope quote to me the other day about people’s unawareness of DJ Kool Herc’s contribution to Hip Hop. He said, “Niggaz know the price of everything…but value the importance of nothing.” He definitely has a point in what he said because without a doubt (and I say this with a heavy heart) hip hop has its fair share of blame when it comes to “The Culture of Ignorance” that has taken over our generation. Hip Hop has even forgotten about the greats that have paved the way. If it wasn’t for MTV’s Run’s House and Jam Master Jay’s death and his association with 50 cent would most people even give a care about colossal contributions of the great Run DMC?
At the end of the day how can you say you love Hip Hop so much but don’t know who Kool Herc is. That makes me have to ask you the question: How much love do you really have for Hip Hop…?