DJ Kool Herc Promises Biggest Names For Upcoming Reggae Hip-Hop Connection Event In Jamaica

Father and founder of Hip-Hop DJ Kool Herc will celebrate the genre’s Golden Jubilee with a two-day event in Jamaica in December, featuring some of the “biggest names” in Hip-Hop, Dancehall and Reggae, in what is being described as the “show of the year.”

Since the announcement was made on Reggae Hip Hop Connection’s Instagram page on October 3, the event has been receiving good responses from music lovers.

According to a Reggae Hip Hop Connection statement, the celebration is being staged by Kool Herc, who recently received Jamaica’s Order of Distinction and his sister Cindy Campbell, who not only intends to honor the 50th anniversary of hip hop but also pay homage to its Jamaican roots.

The event will also celebrate the induction of Kool Herc, and rapper Missy Elliot into the 2023 class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

“We are inviting the very best, both past and present, from the realms of hip hop and Jamaican music. We are immensely proud of our Jamaican heritage and want the world to share in our pride,” Campbell is quoted as saying.

Kool Herc, who has credited vintage sound system operators such as King Stitt, Count Machukie, U Roy, and Big Youth, who influenced Hip Hop’s sound system techniques, has said he eagerly anticipates the grand finale in Jamaica, where it all began and that the event “is going to be huge”.  

There have been a slew of events within the United States to mark Hip Hop’s Golden Jubilee, among them, block parties in Washington, D.C. a weeklong celebration at Lincoln Center in Manhattan and a festival in Atlanta. 

On Monday, National Heroes Day, the Government of Jamaica bestowed Herc, whose given name is Clive Campbell, 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”.   Herc, however, was not able to be in attendance, and so his award was collected by Hugh Meikle.

Kool Herc birthed the Hip Hop genre on August 11, 1973, when he hosted a back-to-school party held on for 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”. 

On that day, according to Herc, having a preference for “more obscure ‘album cuts’, he isolated the percussive breakdown parts and repeated them on two turntables, marking a turning point in the history of music.

Kool Herc 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 honored 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.

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.

The DJ has received several musical 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, while pointing out that he has never forgotten his Jamaican roots, Herc had explained what was described as his “own historical importance to helping to originate hip-hop music”, and said 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.

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