Father of Hip Hop Kool Herc in Dire Straits Needs Surgery

The Father of Hip Hop culture, DJ Kool Herc is very sick. He needs surgery, has financial difficulties and has no health insurance. In short he’s in dire straits.

I have long dreaded the day when I would read this type of story. How many of our pioneering heroes and sheroes, not just in Hip Hop but in other music genres and in Black history have gone down this road? One would hope that after 35 years and us in Hip Hop having the luxury of hindsight and knowing the history of those came before us who suffered similar fates, this scenario would not be happening. Sadly we see history repeating itself..

What’s going on with the Father of Hip Hop Kool Herc is not only a commentary on the callousness of our society that wishes to slam other countries who allow their people to suffer for being ‘less than civilized’, but its also a commentary on us…

No,  I don’t expect every deejay, emcee and break dancer to dig into their pocket and give money. We’ve done this time and time again..From Sam Sneed to MC Breed, the Hip Hop community has had to hold some sort of fundraiser to help folks with medical expenses…We all recall the tragic passing of Professor X from X-Clan.. He could not afford medical care when he was feeling sick.. a few weeks later he passed away..

This should not be happening, As far as I’m concerned we all need to take a look and ask ourselves why is Health care so much? Why is the GOP wanting to repeal an already shoddy bill that doesn’t even have a public option? It was just this morning (Sunday Jan 30th) I was watching a TV show on NBC called ‘Press This’ that featured the former governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson. He was on there gearing up to run for President in 2012,  and pretty much saying we don’t need health care reform at all..

‘Let the free market take care of things’, is what he said..In other words survival of the fittest. If you fall through the cracks c’est la vie..

All I could do is shake my head. Obviously things are not working…Such assertions usually come from those who already have enough, money, resources and understanding of this system to survive. Most of us are at severe disadvantages which are compounded by the erroneous assumptions and arrogance of those who aren’t in trouble but are granted national platforms to espouse their flawed philosophies.

Right now the spotlight is on Kool Herc and hopefully we can rally to his aide.. After all, he’s the Father of a culture that is worldwide and makes billions of dollars a year for all sorts of corporations and selected individuals. But what about the other folks who aren’t named Kool Herc? What about you who is reading this who found yourself having to decide between paying skyrocketing rents or dropping your Blue Shield coverage after the rates increased a whooping 39%. Thank you Bruce Bodaken CEO of Blue Shield California…. You greedy Fortune 500 executive..

Anyway, while we ponder the state of our Health care and try to figure out why its a for profit business and not a basic human right, we may also ask ourselves,  how many of us seriously care and revere our pioneers? Why is Kool Herc in trouble and what are the fates of other pioneers? Keep in mind Herc is not the only pioneering figure who is sick and in trouble.. I don’t wanna put people’s businesses on front street without their permission, but the situation is not good and trust me.. the difficulties they face are not because people brought a million dollars worth of jewelry  and cars before taking care of themselves.

In addition there are a number of activists and organizers who are in serious trouble. Over the past few years there have been at least 5 or 6 that I can name who passed away from heart attacks and other’ preventable’ ailments. It was just this week a well known activist and friend in his 40s had a heart attack… Its one thing to show up at the emergency room at the 11th hour to get saved. Its another thing to have resources to go in for routine checkups. Some of this falls on us to try and keep ourselves healthy…but a lot of this should be all our collective responsibility…We have to make room for everyone to stay healthy and make it affordable.

We should be asking ourselves what role if any do these corporations who make billions off of Hip Hop play in looking out for them? For example, Kool Herc has been to the Bay Area on numerous occasions and I think maybe once he’s been on the commercial stations that plays Hip Hop and R&B.. The one time I recall was in ’96 when I had him on and maybe once when author Jeff Chang was promoting his book.. Other then that .. it’s been an absence.. Just as it was the other night when Afrika Bambaataa the Godfather of Hip Hop  was in town and there was no mention.

Meanwhile across town, let Mick Jagger break a fingernail or  we discover a 50 year old poor quality photo of the Beatles and time stops.

Again this happens way too much..

I spoke with Kool Herc’s sister Cindy Campbell, the Mother of Hip Hop. She said Kerc isout of the hospital for now and will need surgery next week. They are trying to figure out how this will get paid for.. I know that there’s a found raiser for him this coming Tuesday at Sutra which is in SOHO.. I also let Cindy know her and Herc along with any other pioneer and musician should reach out to Dave Marsh’s organization Rock and Rap Confidential. For years these guys have been trying to keep musicians up to date on a number of political issues including ways in which they can obtain Healthcare.  Several years ago I sat on a panel at SXSW where this was touched upon.. Also on the panel were the folks from  Rock A Mole productions who p[ut together an excellent documentary about musicians and healthcare.. Please visit the following links where you can find a ton of information.



I would strongly urge musicians to get involved with these organizations. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Anyone reading this please pass the information along. Take a few dollars from your next show and donate to theseplaces to make sure ALL musicians get covered.. We should not be having scenarios like the one Kool Herc is experiencing in 2011.

For those who have a couple of bucks Here’s a PO Bx for Herc… Kool Herc PO bx 20472 Huntington station, 111746..

Cindy said they will soon have a pay pal account.. What I would like to see are some of these radio stations who make upwards to 80 MILLION dollars a year playing Hip Hop to jump start a fund. It would be nice if some of the labels could do something as well.. It would be encouraging if folks who work at these companies get the ball rolling. Realistically most of these outlets will not do the right thing.. Black life is devalued. Pioneers in this culture are disposable, so while I think we should advocate and agitate, the likely scenario is it will come down to each and everyone of us.. so hollar at the folks from Rock & Rap Confidential.

Here’s an early interview I did with Kool Herc back in 1989 at the New Music seminar

-Davey D-



Big shout out to the folks over at All Hip Hop and DJ Premier for keeping folks us to date.. I hope that all of us in Hip Hop can raise our level of conversation to keep all of us informed….

(AllHipHop News) Hip-Hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc is currently in the hospital suffering from an unknown health condition.

According to Gangstarr’s DJ Premier, Kool Herc‘s health is deteriorating and he is in need of financial assistance, because he reportedly doesn’t have health insurance.

“Kool Herc is very sick,” DJ Premier revealed on his XM Satellite radio show Live From Headqcourterz. “For those that know about Hip-Hop, who we call the father of Hip-Hop, Kool Herc, is not doing well. It’s funny how we have a father of a culture that still lives, where as in some cultures they are dead and gone even though they may still be worshipped or reflected on in some kind of way.”

According to DJ Premier, he spoke to Herc, who revealed that he was in need of financial assistance because he didn’t have medical coverage.

Kool Herc, 55, is recognized by music historians as the Founding Father of Hip-Hop for his style of “Break” DJ’ing, which isolates the rhythm of a particular portion of a record.

He is credited for laying the foundation for the most popular genre of music in the world, after a party he hosted at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, in the South Bronx.

DJ Kool Herc is also a community activist who led a multi-year effort to prevent the sale of 1520 Sedgwick to greedy real estate speculators.

In September of 2010, the building received a $5.6 million dollar federal loan that halted the sale of the building, allowing hundreds of tenants to keep their homes.

Additionally, the  building has officially been recognized as the place Hip-Hop music during the party, which took place on August 11th, 1973.

“Being as though he is the man that set this whole culture off, y’all [the fans] should be willing any type of way you can.”

65 comments on “Father of Hip Hop Kool Herc in Dire Straits Needs Surgery

  1. Pingback: Entertainment News: ‘Father’ of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool Herc Hospitalized. « YOSEXI

  2. Thanks for the post. Kool Herc is the best hip hop dancer ever! I love the way he dance. I love to see him performs on stage. It’s so sad to hear that by now he’s really in need of surgery. I know he’s sick. Get well soon Kool. I would love to see you performing again.

  3. Pingback: Kool Herc, Father of Hip Hop, Facing Medical Crisis – Hospitalized, needs surgery – Donate – Donations

  4. Davey,
    Healthcare has been an issue in this country long before Kool Herc ever sampled a beat. It will continue to be an issue probably long after you & I have left this world. So let’s put that aside for a second because I’m not gonna put Kool Herc in front of all of the other people out there struggling with lack of healthcare or its rising costs.

    This isn’t a healthcare issue but a lifestyle issue. Since the days of his early fame, one would have to question if perhaps he thought he’d be famous forever; why he never ventured into commercially recorded music either. It’s easy to believe one’s own hype, yes? Until, as in Kool Herc’s case, you realize that you’ve missed the boat that everyone else jumped on.

    With the ship having sailed without him, he fell victim to drug addiction and inactivity. His only notable accomplishment was leading a campaign to prevent 1520 Sedgwick Avenue from being sold to developers (not too hard to question his real motivation on that one, right?). So let’s stop putting the blame on the USA or our many social issues and start putting the blame on those who didn’t take full advantage of their blessings. Kool Herc probably has only himself to blame for the situation he finds himself in.

    Let’s look at the likes of Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa for what they really are: flawed human beings just like the rest of us who didn’t do enough with their talents and now find themselves dealing with hard times. If you plan to be like them, you’ll only end up like them. That’s the real lesson here. Why not take the best of what they had to offer (innovation, creativity, vision) and improve upon it? Their failures have led to the likes of Diddy, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, 50 Cent and others to seek business opportunities to sustain them long after their recording artist days have passed. And don’t worry, Kool Herc won’t be alone. When 97% of the rappers today find themselves at 50+ years old, they’ll also be just as broke with their own careers having fizzled out decades ago.

    PS – and for God’s sake, could we please stop comparing the likes of Kool Herc & Afrika Bambaataa to the Rolling Stones or Beatles? They maintained their greatness for decades allowing them to influence several generations. Your heroes did not. Nuff said on that.


  5. Dan,
    No I will not stop comparing the Rollingstones and Beatles with Herc and Bam..They ‘ve influenced folks for decades.. Travel the world and you’d know that.. Now lets put aside your hatred for a second.. Drug problems..?? Rollingstones?? Beatles?? nothing more needs to be said.. If we’re talking about the stones in particular Herc bout is nothing compared to theirs.. Musicians of all stripes have crazed lifestyles.. thats first point..Did Herc fall prey he sure did.. and your point is what? Let them suffer in old age?

    Second accomplishments.. a building getting renamed.? if thats all you can think of then obviously you don’t know enough and your not the person we need to be speaking to.. Thats a ridiculous statement..

    third, if fame passed them so what? We still owe as far as I’m concerned.. We pay tribute to ‘washed up folks’ all day long in a variety of fields.. Hell we’re about to celebrate the 100th birthday of a washed up B level actor turned President complete with a revised history.. The list is long..

    Lastly, this is not about rappers..it’s about people having good Healthcare.. Herc is the spark for the larger convo.. Yes 97% of those rappers who never made it will be broke, just like the garbage collector who saw his pension vanish during economic downturn or the newcomer to the job market who never got benefits in the first place.. When your without Health insurance, let us know your survival strategy.. Until then.. I can only see what you wrote as a high form of arrogance..

  6. Davey,
    There’s was no intention to “hate” nor sound “arrogant” in my post. I’m just speaking the truth that I know and as I see it. It’s OK to agree to disagree which is what I admired about hip hop in its hay-day – the expression of opinions. I’m 42 years old and was born and raised in the Bronx (28 years). So I saw Hip Hop grow from its very beginnings.

    I also have a disdain for what Hip Hop has become. But I’m gonna let Kool Herc live with the consequences of his life’s choices. And I’m gonna bite my tongue (really hard) on the whole Beatles/Rolling Stones thing 😉


  7. Mr dan,
    i dont know but when you dont know the person dont give statement first
    AFRIKA BAMBAATAA and yes i put on caps lock so you can read it again and again.
    he not drug addict like you pretend to say and trust me this person travel more then anyone of those rappers then you kiss them AZZ like p.diddy or jayz or whatever.
    he got more culture and knowledge then anyone in hip hop industry so please next time
    read first or do some research before to say anything specially on this site.
    im sure you have good insurance and you will help brother KOOL HERC.

  8. Dan Perez,

    You know not what you speak of homie.

    The Beatles were excellent, however, they were nothing more than a carbon copy of the Isley brothers(even the great Jimi Hendrix acknowledged this), as so for the sake of appealing to the white majority. The Beatles weren’t shit compared to alot of groups, i.e the temptations. However, they had more appeal.

    Think about this, groups like Boyz II Men, New Edition and etc were and still are light years better than Nsync, Backstreet Boyz and New Kids on the block. However, they aren’t nearly as popular. Every time New Edition performs it’s in some club or its at some carnival. But New Kids on the block gets a chance to perform at fucking arenas.

    I guess Elvis is better than chubby checker and little Richard, yea right. You need to do more research when it comes to music.

    They might have been big commercially, but that doesn’t mean that they are more relevant than someone else. The white majority embraced them and that’s that.

    Kool Herc did something more special than the Beatles and the rolling stones put together, those groups intimated, he created(although he did have influences).

    I noticed that you said Kool Herc should have made better decisions. Well, America should make better decisions. This country is in trouble, really big trouble.

  9. Dan say as you will thats exactly what it was.. First, you obviously didnt read what I wrote.. I started out by talking about the plight of Healthcare for all.. Thats first and foremost.. Herc’s situation is not unusual.. Thousands die every year for lack of affordable care thats reprehensible.

    second.. I raised the issue of pioneers..and how they are treated compared to other genres..you decided to weigh in and give a song and dance about drug addictions etc..which makes my point even more.. Fact Herc, Stones, Beatles did drugs.. Fact: Herc, stones, Beatles have influenced entire generations of those who followed them..When I’ve gone over seas I seen love and respect for all of them. herc, bam, stones and Beatles… Did one sell more albums? of course.. thats not the measurement for impact.. herc never did records. he wasn’t a rapper.. He was a deejay

    At age 42.. that would’ve made you 3 or 4 years old when Herc first hit the tables.. so you weren’t there in the beginning..unless you were being dragged around as a kid to something that was relatively unknown.. By the time you hit teenage years in the 80s, Herc as a pioneer along with many others was no longer around and there’s some pretty specific reasons for that that extend beyond drugs.. so there’s no way to really understand or appreciate his impact..on the folks who he inspired.. Thats one of the reasons I said it was arrogant..

    There’s also no way to understand what the scourge of drugs did to entire generations of people from that time period.. Heroin in the 70s to crack in the 80s..This didn’t happen to rappers..It happened all across the board.. the way meth is decimating entire communities now.. They all deserve help..Now if you feel like you don’t wanna help thats fine..it doesnt change whats needed and whats going on in this system

  10. Jay Z n Diddy could write checks in a sec and tell Herc, don’t worry, Pops, we got you…


    These are comments coming up on Face Book. Word is getting around. Richy rappers
    c’mon. ONE LOVE!!!

  11. A couple of points Here:

    First of all. Financial situation of dude is irrelevant. Lets give respect to someone who is currently ill.
    Beattles. Some are better off financially now then other members So What????
    Paul Mccartney-billionaire. Ringo Starr struggling and barely out of alcohol rehab.
    They both had impact.
    Kool Herc-major impact to some communities.

    Being a teenager in early 80’s in NY; I personally witnessed, not read or heard of or other wack, many artists and promoters doin the nose. The Fever which was the spot was where it all went down. They had a room called the white room.
    Some peple recovered from that time others never were able to.
    If you here Sals interviews it wouldn’t be uncommon to see rus S. or Ly c. up in there. Melle Mel, Junebug-ect.

    Point is we should focus on Dudes accomplishments and positve impact to his community or community at large.

  12. As I said on the other version of this article, helping your hero is a noble cause. However health care is not a ‘right.’

  13. Davey, I do agree with a lot of what you’ve said and believe it or not, I knew of you before this post and I respect what you do. Really. I will respectfully agree to disagree on some of the other issues. That’s how I feel and I’m sticking by it. But I did enjoy the conversation 🙂

  14. I’m sorry but I am with Dan Perez on this one. Now, trust I love, love, love hip-hop; I am a DJ and I give credit to my forefathers for every innovative idea that has made it the culture that it is presently. But let’s keep it real: Kool Herc gave birth to an IDEA. Grandmaster Flash ran with it and made it known worldwide for what it is. Grandmaster Flash will not have to worry about paying for an operation or any other expense for his health because he put the necessary energy into making an idea profitable. There are many ideas that people put into action but if the necessary creative energy is not exerted for you to reap monies of it; then yes all you will get for the most part is props.

    Now as a humanitarian I will donate to Kool Herc’s cause but let’s not get this twisted people; we are not OBLIGATED to give anyone anything in this life. The situation of him being hospitalized and his condition not being disclosed to us, is unsettling to me and yet I am supposed to feel obligated to reach into my pockets to give money from my hard earned paycheck?? Let the people rallying for Kool Herc ask for donations because they are assisting a man who is sick, but not because he is entitled to anything. He Dj’d in the 70’s (and I thank him very much for the invention of break beats) got stabbed, got on drugs and has not contributed to hip hop since then.

    Law of Attraction states: That is which is like itself is drawn to it. Poor health is a result of poor thinking and most importantly, feeling poor. At the end of the day, we won’t have to worry about healthcare if we spirtually, mentally and physically loved ourselves and others more.

    Peace and Love, and I do wish Kool Herc the best in health and wellness.

  15. I can’t beleive what the fuck im reading here Kool Herc is the father of HipHop kulture.We need to help point blank an to the idiots who claim HipHop an don’t think we should help im just saying fuck u!!!!!!!!!!

  16. Mr. Perez, when most people talk about hip hop history, they are referencing something that they read in a book or saw on a documentary. I was there. I lived in New York City when hip hop was in its infancy. The genre that you call hip hop would not have existed without the Kool Herc. Hip hop is like gumbo and Herc brought the shrimp and crab to the party. If this wasn’t true, rappers would raise unholy Cain every time Herc was mentioned as the godfather of hip hop. There are a million reasons why great artists have trouble transitioning to the next season in music. The Wright Brothers didn’t build their own airline but that doesn’t diminish the invention of the airplane. Like I said, I was there and the billion dollar industry called hip hop might still be sequestered in the South Bronx and Harlem, had it not been for Kool Herc. Get well, brother. Send a check the rest of y’all.

  17. I never knew kool Herc but wish him well and pray for his family.
    The remainder of my statement is not by any means aimed at the gentleman mentioned (Herc) because i do not know his specific circumstances.
    The point i wanted to make is that, yes , it’s true that this country’s healthcare system is flawed and corruption goes on. However, what i have noticed among athletes, musicians and other entertainers, is the continuous lack of proper money mangement. So we can complain till we turn blue about the system, but it is not going to change overnight. What people in these industries CAN do is educate themselves better on investments and retirement planning services, so that healthcare and other programs may still be attainable to them even when the rates are raised.
    They should think hard about that next time they are at a car dealer spending a quarter mill on a car or worrying about what house to buy to be flossed on on the next “cribs” show with their bling on.
    I have seen too many big names in these industries that were financially well off fall on hard times and it has to stop. They have put in the hard work and desreve to live comfortably with benefits.
    Knowledge is power. And the decisions we make today will affect our future. So i encourage everyone to think about that and learn from the mistakes of others and stop this trend. Thank you

  18. @Delovley76

    All humans are ENTITLED to receive help. We should be ready to help anyone who needs help.

    Either way he is the father of Hip-hop!

    He needs help, so let’s help him. He can serve as an example as to what’s taken place in this country.

  19. i agree that diddy, jay, russell, kevin liles or any record exect who ate off Herc’s plate should chip in…

    but i want to address this comment:

    “could we please stop comparing the likes of Kool Herc & Afrika Bambaataa to the Rolling Stones or Beatles? They maintained their greatness for decades allowing them to influence several generations. Your heroes did not. Nuff said on that.”

    nuff said?

    the only thing i can say to that is, that’s some ig’nant-ass shit. let’s start with the first assumption that the stones and the beatles maintained their greatness for decades. first of all both bit off of chuck berry, muddy waters, john lee hooker, etc. you did know otis redding wrote satisfaction, right?

    second of all, the beatles as a group were around for LESS than a decade. they broke up in 1970. how can you maintain greatness for decades when you’re not even recording together?

    third, we can argue about the post-Beatles relevance of the individual members, some of whom did make some classic songs after disbanding–but i dont think there’s any question that the mantle of greatness was bestowed upon them, even through some of their more medicre solo recordings. the same goes for the Stones. Those geezers have been living off of past glories for decades. They haven’t had a good album in at least 15 years, yet they’ve continued to milk fans with multi-billion gossing tours.

    fourth, and this should be apparent and obvious, there’s a clear double standard when it comes to hip-hop legends and legends in ‘white’ music genres.

    fifth, both the Beatles and the Stones essentially became mega-rich from exploiting and appropriating black music. Keith Richards could afford to get his blood replaced so he could continue to do heroin. i dont think too many of the jazz or blues greats had that option.

    sixth, as far as influencing people for decades, bambaataa and herc were among the first hip-hop DJs, if not the first. Do DJs still play hip-hop? a-ight then.

    seventh, it can easily be argued that bam and herc influenced a lot of people in genres other than hip-hop for decades as well. bam made a record with yellowman in 84, way before reggae became a crossover comemrcial success. He was a pioneer of electro-funk. And he founded the Zulu nation, which continues to this day. As for Herc, he wasn’t a recording artist, but you’d have to give him the same respect and courtest as an Alan Freed or Wolfman Jack or anyone else who played a seminal role in cultural development.

    on the eve of black history month, it’s really appalling to hear borderline racist comments being made, even out of ignorance, in this day and age.

    dan, i disagree with you, but not at all respectfully, as your comment was so disrespectful to an entire culture–and several generations—that i’m actually in favor of scalping your stupid ass and leaving your pelt outside of Bill O’Reilly’s office, Apache-style.

  20. While I think it is noble for people to support their heroes in times of crisis, health care is not a “right.” To assert otherwise is simply ignorant.

    Nor do I — as someone who hates hip hop — feel like I should be obligated to pay for the medical care of someone who has created a culture I find loud, obnoxious, and destructive.

    As for the Beatles, I don’t much like them either.

  21. Hi Davey D my name is Maitreya One I spoke to a leading nutritionist named Gary Null he said he would be interested in helping Kool Herc with his health.

  22. e-scribblah,
    Here’s the problem with your hero Kool Herc – he had an idea, set it in motion, then watched as everyone else took his idea and took it to other levels, expanded on it, made money with it. For whatever reason (and I’m sure you can make up a bunch of excuses for him), he failed to act himself. And soon, he must have realized that the time for action had passed and he found himself a spectator…an afterthought.

    Grandmaster Flash, Run DMC, KRS-1, N.W.A., Public Enemy all made a bigger impact on the art form than your hero Kool Herc. Kool Herc just missed the boat, failed to act. Life don’t give us many opportunities, when it does we need to take advantage of them because if we don’t, we just might end up broke.

    As for the Beatles & Rolling Stones having a bigger impact on music, the reason I mention them was because they are the bands mentioned in the article. I’d like to see you sell your “Kool Herc was more influential to music and culture than the Beatles or Rolling Stones” argument on a British Pop blog. They’d all laugh their proverbial “arses” off. Matter of fact, you can try that argument on any non hip-hop blog and you’ll get the same response.

    You wanna make it a race thing, go ahead. I’ll add Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Sly Stone, Funkadelic, Fela Kuti, Gil Scott-Heron, Stevie Wonder, Fishbone, Bad Brains, even Prince to the list of artists that had a bigger impact on music AND culture than your boy Kool Herc. Happy now?

  23. Dan you just don’t get it.

    it’s not about him making bad decisions, it’s about him being a human being in need of help and he shouldn’t have any worries since he created something that has put food in the mouths of so many.

    None of the artist that you mention created a genre.

  24. @loverboy all humans are PRIVILEGED to receive help. No one is saying that this brothah doesn’t need help; of course he does. If I were in his position, I would hope someone would have compassion and assist me. However comma, I would not feel I am OWED this. Big difference. My issue is not giving assistance, but the way the organizers of this fundraiser for Kool Herc are going about asking. Jay-Z, Diddy, LL and even Flash don’t OWE this dude issh. If they want to give, that is beautiful. But if not, that is their business. Kool Herc wasn’t there with Jay-Z and LL in the booth recording their demos, and hustling at their shows.

    At the end of the day Kool Herc came up with a wonderful idea, did some dooope parties and yes he was a pioneer of the culture we call hip hop. However, he gave up too early in the game and missed out on the fringe benefits. And is that Jay-Z’s or Flash’s fault? Nope. So I say yes give to help save Kool Herc because he introduced the people in NY to a wonderful culture, but no one should be made to feel less than if they don’t. 🙂

  25. Why does idiots like Dan come to this site? The D.J invented hip hop, not the m.c’s, but the D.j’s, I’m not from NY, but I heard too many old school bring up Herc in their convo. Dan probably also believe that Elvis is the king of rock and roll, not knowing Elvis got his music from black r&b singers. Just because Elvis and the Rolling Stones made money and became famous off of the talent of black people, doesn’t mean mean we should forget about who really started rock music.

  26. I’m sorry to hear about Kool Herc. We should ALL get politically involved and make sure the Republicans do NOT try to overturn the healthcare law.

  27. Matter of fact I agree with e scribblah since punk ass Dan wants to disrespect our Kultural four fathers then u should be slapped in the mouth along with sucker ass Jose fuck u both. Sorry Davey D but these guys are assholes

  28. De Lovely U dont have to give anything.. do for self and if ur ever in trouble.. maybe from an acciccdent or maybe you got swindled the way thousands of elders did during the economic downturn, then we should remember.. we’re not obligated to help u..Why give my hard earned check to you.. poor thinking might’ve led to the drunk driver who puts u or a loved one in a coma..

    I guess its poor planing or the law of attraction that someone’s parent has demensia or alhtzmers or cancer and insurance simply doesn’t cover that.. I think the movie SICKO pointed all that out

    In terms of respecting pioneers.. thats just being ethical

  29. Maitreya One … Oh so I’m an ass*ole because I have an opinion that doesn’t agree with yours? Learn to spell before you talk back to grown folks…

  30. dan, the fact that only the well-known hater Jose–a guy who hates for hate’s sake–agrees with you should tell you something.

    Kool Herc is my hero, you got that right. so is Grandmaster Caz. and Bam. and Flash. and the Last Poets. and Too $hort. and Hammer. and Phase 2. and Futura. and Crazy Legs, etc., etc.

    if you have a problem with that, i suggest you seek professional help.

    But there are quite a few things you got wrong. first of all, your moralizing over the drug issue is just straight-up hypocrisy. second, you fail to see there’s a double standard between white culture icons and black culture icons. third, the only thing Britain sets the standard for as far as culture is men in drag.

    also, it’s pointless to argue over who “made a bigger impact on the art form.” and actually, you are the only one arguing that.

    my point is that there may not have been an art form in the first place without Herc. so put that in your crack pipe and smoke it, along with your BS.

    and why would i care about what matters to British pop blogs ? that’s just a non-sensical reference.

    i never said, btw, that Herc had a bigger impact on music and culture than the Beatles or the Stones, but i will say that neither of them can be considered musical pioneers, unless you think that appropriation counts as innovation. That’s like saying that Colombus discovered America, or Elvis created rock ‘n’ roll.

    Herc, OTOH, gets founding father props.

    maybe not from you, but so what? your opinion doesn’t really matter.

  31. “dan, the fact that only the well-known hater Jose–a guy who hates for hate’s sake–agrees with you should tell you something”-
    really, a known hater? huh… hating for hates sake, that’s pretty heavy, I didn’t know I did that… I just disagree with certain views and I am viewed as a well-known hater… wow, I wonder what would happen if i really tried to hate.. why your computers would explode i guess.

  32. Thank you so much for posting this, Davey, and alerting us to Kool Herc’s situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kool Herc and his family, and may he be BLESSED with improved health.
    We are so thankful for all that Kool Herc has done for ALL of HUMANITY in that he aided in the creation of this culture and movement we call HipHop. He has stated in interviews that HIS PURPOSE was to UNITE EVERYONE through the means of using his skills a DJ. He has also stated in an interview that he was never interested in becoming famous like many of the more famous “rappers” of today. That does not mean he wasn’t interested in making money for himself, it means he wasn’t interested in going the route of signing a record deal and becoming a celebrity recording artist. For the most part, he has been doing all that he does in the name of PEACE, LOVE, and UNITY and NOT solely for money, every since DAY ONE.


    Bro. Davey, here you are raising awareness about the health condition of The Founding Father of HipHop, and how we can help, and people are attacking this! One thing we should learn from this article is this: As long as there is hatred, “beefing,” and degradation going on within HipHop, there are people that are very comfortable with that. Whenever there is love, unity and a sense of looking out for one another, not only do these same people hate that and feel heavy discomfort, but you will find these same people having many reasons to justify their stance. Davey, not only did you mention the fact that Kool Herc, a very important figure to so many of us, was not doing well health wise and financially, you also mentioned his contributions and importance to HUMANITY and showed how we can help him, and people posted comments attacking you, him and HIPHOP!
    Another thing we should learn is this: Many problems pertaining to HipHop isn’t always a HipHop problem, more so than it is people’s attitudes and feelings towards HipHop.
    For someone to have the notion that he caused this on himself, and therefore, we should not help him is PURE NONSENSE! Let’s be real. For one thing, this is Kool Herc we are talking about! Why do people have a serious problem with the HipHop community not only looking out for him, but showing him great respect? Kool Herc, as well as Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash, and many other pioneers, formed HipHop in the name of Love, Peace and Unity, so should we fault them when big corporations corrupted the culture and tried to alter the purpose? Should we be mad at them whenever we hear wack dj’s or when we constantly hear rappers we don’t like? Should we turn our backs on them the way many major radio, television, and magazine outlets have turned their backs on us?
    Since The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were made reference to throughout the comments, here is a question: If Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, or any member of one of those groups were not doing well financially and health wise, and someone wrote an article (e-mail or otherwise) to not only help them, but to point out the contributions that they made to music and to society, what would be the chances of someone disputing what they did, or telling others why they should not be helped, or stating that it is their own fault as to why they are the way they are, and therefore no one should help out. What would be the chances of someone saying that The Beatles and The Rolling Stone are ordinary people and that they should not be helped? Someone mentioned in their comment earlier that if it was argued on a British pop blog, or any non-HipHop blog that Kool Herc was more influential to music and culture than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones that that person would get laughed at. Yet that same person came to THIS site, a website on HIPHOP CULTURE AND POLITICS, and showed heavy disrespect for HipHop’s founding father, and HipHop culture! I don’t have anything bad to say about The Beatles of The Rolling Stones, but I have this question: Would they have the respect and influence they had if they did not record music and sell records? Anyone can sell millions of records and have importance and influence, but we have to remember, Kool Herc DID NOT sell records and have major importance and influence. The Beatles and The Rolling Stones STEPPED into something that was already there. Kool Herc CREATED something that did not exist which benefits people to this day.
    What we should keep in mind is that whenever there is Peace, Love and Unity shown within HipHop (Three tenets that Afrika Bambaataa taught about a long time ago in addition to Having Fun) there will be people speaking against that and having a philosophy to back them up. What is ironic is that the same people that are against others helping Kool Herc, would be the same people to say things like “the HipHop community did not help their founding father,” if we didn’t do anything. Let us all learn from these things that are said and done towards HipHop culture. The problem isn’t always HipHop. Many times it is other people’s attitudes and feelings towards the culture and people of HipHop.

    May we all help out Kool Herc anyway we can, and may THE MOST HIGH see him to improved health!

    Thanks, Bro. Davey!

  33. Yo Dan and Dans cheerleaders,

    No disrespect but you need to keep it REAL. Your creating beef when there aint no beef there. If you were to ask all those artists about each other Herc, Beatt, Stones they probably would have nothing but admiration for each other for there differing accomplishments.

    I’m from NY as well. Ocaean ave. S. Brooklyn. One way forced ticket out here.
    Been to the Bronx numerous occasions. We had connection with some club owners.
    Saw Herc as a teenager many times. Trust me he would slap your sh.. silly; he was decent size and athletic as far as musicians go. Best keep the smack on the website.

    You bein from Bronx should realize:he was
    The force behind explosion of block parites

    Started the Break. 2 of the same records; right when there’s heavy percussion put other on.

    From there follwed the b-boys and girls

    Was pioneer for many others in Bronx future rap scene

    P.S. Didn’t start hittin the pipe until his father passed I believe. Not the crazed drug addict your puttin him on.


  34. К чёрту политику! К чёрту ваши американские законы о здравоохранении! Речь идёт о брате, который нуждается в нашей помощи! Нет страховки? херня какая! Весь мир должен помочь брату! Так как, он обязан ему!

    Храни его Господи! Дай ему сил преодолеть невзгоды… Kool Herc ты сможешь!!!

    Я верю!


  35. It funny that it is the begining of Black History Month and this article is posted. Chuck Berry the man who Invented Rock n Roll. Kool Herc the man who invented Hip Hop! Wheeled walkers you are a complete dumb a**. Sorry to bust you out. : (

  36. i never got to see Herc DJ, but i did interview him in person one time when he came to the Bay. He was Kool, that’s all i can say.

    i remember reading about him as a teenager in Steve Hager’s book Hip-Hop, which mostly got it right.

    Over the years as hip-hop grew, you didnt see Herc represented anywhere, which is sad. He got a little shine when Jeff went and wrote about him, but that probably did more for Jeff than for Herc. now it’s come to this.

    I don’t know what it is with East Coast folks, why they gotta hate on their own. There’s not a single rapper in the Bay who doesn’t give props to folks like $hort, Richie Rich, Hammer, APG Crew, Mac Dre etc. Look how many guest appearances $hort has made on other people’s records. Even the Team put Hammer on a track…

    I dont know if anyone can answer this, but how many times did Funk Flex have Herc on his show?

    The point i wanna make here is that Herc’s not the only East Coast pioneer who should be at a much higher level than he is now.

    If i was Jay-Z or Andre Harrell, i would make sure that Caz didnt have to DJ in a strip club in Hunts Point just to make ends meet.

    Look at someone like Grand Wizzard Theodore, he never hosted a Superman or DMC battle… people probably would have forgotten about him, were it not for the ITF, which was based in SF. It wasnt until after he got a lifetime ITF award that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Brooklyn Museum wised up and did events with him.

    We had Caz and Theodore out in UC Berkeley in 2002 for a conference, put them up at a hotel, they were elated to be treated well. Industry people in the East didnt give a fuck about them.

    In 2000, Q-Bert and them had a skratching convention, they had Mixmaster Ice from UTFO, Cash Money, DJ Alladin, Craze, Babu, a bunch of other folks from all over the country. Nothing quite like that ever happened in NYC. why?

    A lot of true East Coast hip-hop artists get treated better in Europe then they do in their own backyards….look at J-Live, he’s teaching high school…When i came out to NYC in ’95 i met dudes from the Fearless Four and shit who were working construction jobs… Nas had those remixes for “Where Are They Now” with hella pioneers a lil’ while back, but people in the East still didnt get the message.

    It’s not just rap artists or DJs, either. look at the graf world…Futura was a bike messenger for awhile until he started making t-shirts and then got put back on by James Lavelle at Mo Wax. Even Doze had to come to the West before the downtown art scene in the East finally recognized his talent. people like T-Kid are way more famous in Europe and Japan then they are in NYC. what’s up with that?

    Not saying that only the East hates on its own, but y’all could have done a lot more to preserve hip-hop as a culture, considering you created it and everything.

    Look at people like Dan Perez, he’s claiming the Bronx but dissing Herc. that is twisted to me.

    Nick i know we’ve differed in the past but you get props for keeping it real this time.

    lastly, anyone in or around Oakland this friday –feb. 4–needs to come through to the Joyce Gordon Gallery on 14th for the Aero Soul Art exhibit…it’s gonna be dope. They got Gem7 CMK and Phade TC5 from NYC, Refa and Phresh from the Bay, Orko from Chicago, Mode2 from France, writers from LA along with Emory Douglas (Black Panther Party)…


    keeping black history alive, not just this month but forever

    peace out

  37. Jose just disagrees with some of the views expressed here, that’s all. Especially the view that white people aren’t superior. He emphatically disagrees with that.

  38. Coming back to the post today, I’ve really enjoyed some of the comments I’m reading. Let me just say my last few words. First of all, I never dissed your boy Kool Herc – I just stated facts. Secondly, I never dissed anyone for wanting to donate to his cause. But I will say this: If you all really think that Kool Herc was the only one in the USA that was creating breakbeats, or that he was even the first, you need a reality check.
    You might want to check the trailer for this award-winning Hip-Hop film that played at the Chicago International Hip Hop Film Festival in 2009 (along with my own Hip-Hop documentary film, “P.A.T.H.”) that presents a different view: http://bit.ly/eSVgEZ
    Whether you want to believe what the film states is irrelevant, the truth is that DJing was going on all over the East Coast so someone would’ve eventually been given the credit for starting this movement anyway (e-scribblah: you might want to put that in YOUR crack pipe and smoke it).
    @Davey Yeah, I never went to one of Kool Herc’s house parties, But at 10 years old in the Bronx in 1979, I was listening to the hip-hop & electro-funk artists that actually decided to go into a studio and make a record. (Your boy Kool Herc never did that (Hmmm, maybe that’s why he’s broke?) And don’t make it seem Kool Herc was ever a household name, even in the Bronx. House parties and block parties were going on every weekend all over NYC.
    @Jose Don’t worry about the hating (I certainly don’t) as people who hate on those with a different opinion than their own usually end up broke, too.
    PS – Why are all your idols broke anyway? I’m out.
    PSII – @stevie Elvis isn’t the King of Rock and Roll?

  39. Yo This dude Dan is going to get shut down thats my promise im going to make sure of that an to Jose u pussy I will stomp a mud hole in u. Dan u don’t want beef with the HipHop community I suggest u fall the fuck back. What u doing is disrespectful to the HipHop community disrespecting the father like that is going to get u in alot of trouble.

  40. Wow, Dan, thanks! I for one thought Kool Herc was the only one creating break beats. Thanks for setting me straight. You’re enlightening. You should write a book called the Snob’s History of Hip Hop. Be sure to have an entire chapter mocking rappers who couldn’t afford treatment for health problems due to their lack of money management.

  41. LOL 1- Dan if ur gonna show founding fathers.. as proof that djaying existed in NY which no one disputes then lets pull out some facts.. 1- many of those founding fathers are broke and in similar situations.. i.e 2- Our good friend the Late Grandmaster Flowers would be among that group and he too passed tragically with health issues.. Paradise I think you put Flowers on tour for a bit to help him out. bc people like Dan were to arrogant to help..probably telling a guy like Flowers he was broke because he didn’t do like those who came before him..as he pulls out a Frankie Crocker documentary..LOL

    2-What Herc did was unique and caught on. it didn’t with the others.. Hell my cousin who is 5 years older than Herc played break beats as a disco deejay.. but damn he’ll be the first to tell u as much as he spun, people wanted to see Herc not him.. with that being said, If pete DJ Jones or anyone of those founding fathers was in dire need they would and deserve our help as well….

    3- at age 10 you weren’t in any listening to no electro-funk artists in the Bronx fam in 1979 …so stop.. fam..

    4-having a different opinion and making ignorant statements are two different things..You took shots at Herc

    5-my idol are the good natured people who recognize the plight of someone in need and reached out to help Herc.. some were broke in funds but rich in love and compassion…

  42. Where u live so I can show up an break your face. Be a man don’t hide behind a computer bitch @ ROB THOMAS

  43. Dan,
    White people can call Elvis “the king”, but I know Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Etha James all help invent rock and roll. Without those people you wouldn’t have your hero The Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Hell, you know some of Elvis greatest hits, he stole from black people.

  44. @ Dan: I actually agree with everything you said. Herc’s problems he’s having is probally because of his choices. By the one thing I don’t agree with is him missing the boat. We gotta remember when he invented hip hop I’m sure he didn’t think it was going to be as big as it was, and if he realized it he probally didn’t want to be apart of that. I’m just a dj that do house parties, not a rockstar. : )

  45. UPDATE: I went to Premier’s blog the other day to donate, and it had a caption saying they removed the paypal button because Kool Herc’s family secured the monies they needed for his surgery. I wish him well in his recovery and I can definitely say this thread has been…INTERESTING! 🙂 BTW Thank you Davey D, for the article, it was very insightful and again; I never disagreed with the brothah getting help. I just wanted to emphasis that receiving help from others is a blessing but when people start to feel entitled to help because the world owes them w/o giving; it can create a window of disappointing expectations. Kool Herc is a great pioneer who started something beautiful and I am glad he is getting what he needs now. I just hope he takes care of himself just a little bit better financially and holistically so he won’t end up in this situation again.

    Peace and Love!

  46. “First of all, I never dissed your boy Kool Herc – I just stated facts”

    “Here’s the problem with your hero Kool Herc – he had an idea, set it in motion, then watched as everyone else took his idea and took it to other levels, expanded on it, made money with it. For whatever reason (and I’m sure you can make up a bunch of excuses for him), he failed to act himself. And soon, he must have realized that the time for action had passed and he found himself a spectator…an afterthought.”

    Dan, those arent facts. it’s assumptive speculation. and it’s in extremely poor taste.

    saying breakbeats would have eventually been created by someone completely misses the point.

    and dan, i’ve never smoked crack so i’m not sure what your point is. you dissed yourself, basically, and now everyone hates you for being an asshole. hope you can cash your reality check.

  47. @ e-scribblah: “saying breakbeats would have eventually been created by someone completely misses the point.”

    I feel you there e-scribblah its more than a break. You see Dan people have always spun funky beats its more than that. They said Ike Turner’s Rocket 88 is the first record rock song. They say this because on his way to the studio to record the song Ike dropped his amp and cracked it and it had this distorted sound but there was no time for a new one so he just ran with it. Kool Herc not only created the break, but he was from Jamaica and “BUILT” his own speakers thats what makes him dangerous, its also an AUDIO thang. He built his owned speakers and leveled the sounds of the breaks to that of 60’s SKA records like in his home land and completely changed the sound of James Brown funk, like George Clinton and Berine Worrell did when they added more bottom and slump. Its what gave hip hop its GRIT sound. This might be a little more advance for the common listener to understand, I’ve been producing hip hop music over 20 years, but ALL hip hop music is mixed and engineered to sound like Kool Herc. Thats why when you get into a car of someone who doesn’t listen to Hip hop you start changing the levels, to sound like Herc more Bass less highs etc etc.., theres the standard sound. And the effects he put on the MC’s voice to blend with the beat invented RAP music altogether. There was no Grandmaster flash and Bambatta adding on, it was bascially a done and finish project. They just put they’re own special spin to it like Wu Tang or Dr. Dre did. Its more than just playing breaks. I hope to meet the man one day.

  48. Thanks Davey D and Elder Paradise The Architect for your contributions to Hip Hop, and also for enlightening us on Kool Herc, A SEMINAL force in Hip Hop. I don’t have much, but will send a little something.

    Secondly, Mr. Perez, is a real-life version of that white character from Bamboozled, Mr. Dunwitty. I bet he says, when away from this discussion board, “I know N$!@#%s better than you!”. Mr. Perez, let’s realize a few facts about your boys The Stones, and The Beatles:
    1)Many white rock musicians, especially when interviewed cite BLACK MUSIC and BLACK MUSICIANS as what they listened to, during their formative years;
    2)The Rolling Stones took their name FROM A MUDDY WATERS RECORD, and I bet they didn’t even ask Muddy. Your boy Elvis constantly hung around Black Musicians and even copied from them countless times-and you know what else? He DIDN’T EVEN CALL HIMSELF THE KING, and he told many of his fans that. But did Y’ALL LISTEN??? NO!!!!! Big Mama Thornton recorded “Hounddog” THREE YEARS BEFORE Elvis re-released it, but do we hear about her? NO! I’ll say this, paraphrasing one of my favorite MCS: Elvis was a hero to most, BUT HE DOESN’T MEAN SHIT TO ME. Y’all can keep calling him ‘the king’, but the BLACK MUSICIANS he COPIED, were musical GODS & GODDESSES.
    “Satisfaction” was recorded by a BLACK FEMALE BLUES SINGER and written by OTIS REDDING before sir mick even sang a note of it.

    In closing, get your facts straight, mr. perez. You claim you’re from the Bronx, but SEVERAL Bronx residents, and even Davey D himself showed MATHEMATICALLY that you would have been droppin deuces in your diapers and drinking similac when HERC was laying the groundwork for what GLOBAL ( get it?????!!!!!) cats would pick up in ensuing years. Therefore, HERC made it possible even for these imbecilic knuckleheads who are disrespectfully misrepresenting the genre, to do what they do. Time happens in a CIRCLE, thus why watches, copied from the Ancient African sundial concept, are ROUND, representing the CONNECTED and INFINITE continuum of past, present, and future.

  49. Critical Eye, can you give the name of the blues singer who recorded Otis’ “Satisfaction” and the date it was released? I’ve always believed Otis wrote it and have never liked the Stones because they failed to give him credit, even after his death. I’ve also heard that the Stones heard Otis sing it and bought the song from him. Any evidence of this?
    I’ve always resented both the Beatles and the Stones for ‘stealing’ material from so many Black artists without giving them due credit. I also hated how their music dominated the 60’s, cutting off our access to so many wonderful Black Blues and R&B greats.

  50. Kool Herc is not the father of Hip Hop.

    KRS ONE is.

    Back in the 70s Lawrence was captured in an original Herc tag.

    If you not an MC ur not Hip Hop.

    Kidney stones… Real Hip Hop doesnt get kidney stones… Or die of cancer…

    Can guarantee you that the Teacha is in betta health then an 18yr old man and only gettin better.

    I wish Herc nothin but the best.

    Much Love

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