DJ Kool Herc, Father Of Hip-Hop, To Receive National Award In Jamaica On National Heroes Day

Three months after it was announced that he will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, New York-based DJ Kool Herc who has the distinction of being the Father and founder of Hip-Hop, is set to get another accolade, this time national honours in the country of his birth, Jamaica.

On Sunday, Jamaica’s Independence Day, the Government of Jamaica announced that Herc, whose given name is Clive Campbell, will be presented with the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander for his “contribution to the International Recognition of the Reggae DJ music genre and for pioneering the Hip Hop Music genre” on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 16.

Kool Herc birthed the Hip Hop genre on August 11, 1973, when he hosted a back-to-school party held on for his sister Cindy in the recreation room of their building at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, a date and event which he describes as “widely celebrated as the birth of Hip-Hop culture” during which he, having a preference for “more obscure ‘album cuts’, isolated the percussive breakdown parts from and repeat them on two turntables.

He has been lauded internationally for having laid “ground-breaking foundations laid for the global musical genre that has become a cultural dominance” and as a living legend who “historically used two turntables at one time to mix music and create his signature ‘Merry-Go-Round’ technique”.

Herc is to be honoured with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Musical Influence Award in an induction ceremony on Friday, November 3, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, 15 miles from the Bronx apartment building where he invented the genre in 1973. 

He will become the third Jamaican to be inducted into the Rock Hall, after Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, who were honoured in 1994 and 2010, respectively.

Herc has also received several accolades throughout the years, including a feature in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Museum and The Peoples Hall of Fame Award from Governor Mario Cuomo and the first VH1 Hip-Hop Honour.

In February 2020, the DJ, while pointing out that he has never forgotten his Jamaican roots, had explained his “own historical importance to helping to originate hip-hop music”, noting that he was the first person who started his style of deejaying “coming from Jamaica”.

“This was in the Bronx in the ’70s. I moved to the States with my mother and I started to have jams in an old building. It got very popular and then the American kids got hold of the toasting, that’s the element that they took from us,” he had told The Gleaner.

Reggae/Dancehall singers Wayne Marshall and Tarrus Riley are also among the 125 Jamaicans who will be presented with National Honours at Kings House, on National Heroes Day.

They join Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths who will be honoured with the Order of Jamaica for her significant contribution to the Reggae industry locally and internationally.  Her O.J. comes almost 10 years after she was bestowed with the Order of Distinction (Commander class) back in 2014.  

Wayne Marshall will be presented with accolades for his contribution to Reggae Music, while Tarrus Riley will receive his OD for “contribution to Reggae Music entertainment locally and internationally”.

The Order of Distinction is awarded to Jamaican citizens who render outstanding and important services to the country, and upon any distinguished citizen of a country other than Jamaica (an honorary member).

Last year Agent Sasco was among 142 Jamaicans who were bestowed with National Honours on National Heroes Day.  The Hope River artiste was inducted into the Order of Distinction (OD) in the rank of officer for his “outstanding contribution to music, philanthropy and positive pro-social message to youths”.

In addition to Sasco, Riley and Marshall will join the ranks of Lieutenant Stitchie, Yellowman, U-Roy, Shaggy, Sean Paul, and Shabba Ranks as Dancehall artistes who have received the Order of Distinction, the island’s sixth-highest honour, from the Government of Jamaica.

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