What is Hip Hop? DJ Kool Herc’s Definition Of Hip Hop?

Click HERE to listen to pt of our interview w/ Kool Herc

Click HERE to listen to pt of our interview w/ Kool Herc

DJ Kool Herc‘s Definition Of Hip Hop?

Hip Hop.. the whole chemistry of that came from Jamaica… I was born in Jamaica and I was listening to American music in Jamaica.. My favorite artist was James Brown. That’s who inspired me.. A lot of the records I played was by James Brown. When I came over here I just put it in the American style and a perspective for them to dance to it. In Jamaica all you needed was a drum and bass. So what I did here was go right to the ‘yoke’. I cut off all anticipation and played the beats. I’d find out where the break in the record was at and prolong it and people would love it. So I was giving them their own taste and beat percussion-wise.. cause my music is all about heavy bass…

How Did The early Hip Hop Scene of The ’70s Kick Off?

It started coming together as far as the gangs terrorizing a lot of known discotheques back in the days. I had respect from some of the gang members because they used to go to school with me.. There were the Savage Skulls, Glory Stompers, Blue Diamonds, Black Cats and Black Spades. Guys knew me because I carried myself with respect and I respected them. I respected everybody. I gave the women their respect. I never tried to use my charisma to be conceited or anything like that. I played what they liked and acknowledged their neighborhood when they came to my party….I would hail my friends that I knew. People liked that… I’d say things like..’There goes my mellow Coke La Roc in the house’, ‘There goes my mellow Clark Kent in the house’, ‘There goes my mellow Timmy Tim in the house’..’To my mellow Ricky D’, ‘To my mellow Bambaataa’.. People like that sort of acknowledgement when they heard it from a friend at a party.
What were the early rhymes like?

Well the rhyming came about..because I liked playing lyrics that were saying something. I figured people would pick it up by me playing those records, but at the same time I would say something myself with a meaninful message to it. I would say things like;

Ya rock and ya don’t stop
and this is the sounds of DJ Kool Herc and the Sound System and
you’re listening to the sounds of what we call the Herculoids.
He was born in an orphanage
he fought like a slave
fuckin’ up faggots all the Herculoids played
when it come to push come to shove
the Herculoids won’t budge
The bass is so low you can’t get under it
the high is so high you can’t get over it
So in other words be with it..

Who were the first modern-day rappers?

My man Coke La Rock.. He was the first original members of the Herculoids. He was first known as A-1 Coke and then he was Nasty Coke and finally he just liked the name Coke La Rock. There was Timmy Tim and there was Clark Kent.. We called him the Rock Machine…He was not the same Clark Kent who djs for Dana Dane… An imposter.. I repeat he’s an imposter. The real Clark Kent we called him Bo King and only he knows what that means. There was only one original Clark Kent in the music business. This guy carrying his name, I guess he respects Clark Kent…

June 1988

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