Friday, February 25, 2011


DJ Kool Herc is one of the founding fathers of hip-hop music. In the early '70s, he started the practice of finding the "break" on records - the part that got people most excited - and extending it. He did this by having a sound system with two turntables.  He'd have two copies of the same record, so he could keep repeating the same part of the song.  He also yelled stuff at the crowd over the music - later known as "rapping" - and referred to the dancers as b-boys and b-girls.

He influenced some of the major early hip-hop DJs, like Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa. But unlike those guys, he didn't really start making records, so although he influenced the creation of hip-hop, he didn't do anything that would create an income stream for him through his life.

Unfortunately today, he doesn't have health insurance, and due to illness, he's been dealing with spiraling medical costs that he really isn't able to pay (like many Americans). So, there's a movement to raise money to help him pay.  Of course, someone like Diddy or Jay-Z could probably sell one of their watches or rings and have enough money to help out Herc. You can contribute at Herc's website if you want.

I had the privilege to film the "Hip-Hop For Herc" event on SiriusXM Backspin recently: Chuck D. hosted, and Treach from Naughty By Nature, Dres from Black Sheep, Doitall from Lords Of The Underground, Kangol Kid from UTFO, Dana Dane, JDL from The Cold Crush Brothers and Lil' Fame from M.O.P. all took part.  During the show, some of the artists did impromptu performances of their big songs.  Here are two of them: Treach doing "O.P.P./Uptown Anthem" and Dres doing "The Choice Is Yours."

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