October 23, 2023
ADecember 28-30 festival celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip hop, and that genre’s Jamaican ties, is welcomed by social commentator Clyde McKenzie. He said such an event is a long time coming.
DJ Kool Herc, the Jamaican sound system maverick widely hailed as the creator of hip hop, is promoting the festival with his sister, Cindy Campbell. Tentatively dubbed Reggae Hip Hop Connection, it is scheduled for Plantation Cove in St Ann, with a cast of hip hop, dancehall and reggae acts expected to perform.
For his pioneering work, the Kingston-born DJ Kool Herc was invested with the Order of Distinction on National Heroes’ Day at King’s House. He will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next month.
“Making the connection with hip hop can bring about different kinds of synergies for Jamaica. This does not only have implications for film projects, literary endeavours, tourism, but a slew of other business ventures including events like RHHC,” said the music industry veteran.
“Jamaica can only gain by playing up its influence on such movements as hip hop and reggaeton. Being identified with hip hop adds to the image of cool which has significant value for tourism and other related activities.”
McKenzie was part of the successful Shocking Vibes Records camp that helped introduce dancehall music to a hip hop audience during the 1990s. Beenie Man and Tanto Metro and Devonte were some of that label’s acts who won over American fans with songs like Who am I and Everyone Falls in Love.
The music industry veteran believes many persons are still in the dark about those achievements.
“Most Jamaicans and Americans are blissfully unaware that hip hop has a strong Jamaican connection, and I’m very happy that Kool Herc and his sister have decided to celebrate this significant anniversary of this important genre in Jamaica,” said McKenzie.
The 68 year-old DJ Kool Herc (born Clive Campbell) spent his formative years in Trench Town and Franklyn Town. He migrated with his family to the United States in 1968, settling in The Bronx, New York.
After making his name as a dancer in The Bronx, he became a selector at sound system parties throughout New York City’s boroughs, playing mainly funk music. It is widely documented that what became hip hop started during an August 1973 party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in The Bronx where DJ Kool Herc staged a back-to-school party for Cindy.
In May, it was announced that he would be the third Jamaican inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, for his contribution to hip hop. The others are Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff who were inducted in 1994 and 2010, respectively.
DJ Kool Herc was part of the hip hop 50th anniversary celebrations in New York in August, especially the main event at Yankee Stadium.
A number of hip hop giants have Jamaican or West Indian heritage. Among them, The Notorious B.I.G., Busta Rhymes, Slick Rick, Pepa (of Salt-N-Pepa), Doug E Fresh, and Nicky Minaj.
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