DJ Kool Herc was among the class of 13 inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Friday night (November 3) at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Following an introduction by LL COOL J, DJ Kool Herc walked arm-in-arm with his sister Cindy Campbell to accept the Musical Influence honor. But before he could even get to the stage, Kool Herc began to cry, overwhelmed with emotion. As LL COOL J noted in his speech, August 11, 2023 marked the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, the same date in 1973 Kool Herc and Campbell threw their iconic back to school jam at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx.
As a result, DJ Kool Herc is often referred to as the Godfather of Hip-Hop, a title he clearly doesn’t take lightly. AllHipHop was backstage as Kool Herc took the stage to accept his trophy from LL COOL J. Once at the podium, DJ Kool Herc again couldn’t contain his tears.
“Herc used two turntables to isolate these hot instrumental breaks of classic soul and R&B tracks like James Brown’s ‘Give It Up & Turn It Loose’ and kicked the dance floor into a frenzy,” LL COOL J said. “Soon, all of New York City knew him as DJ Kool Herc. Herc had learned about the dancehall music and toasting he heard in his native country of Jamaica. He moved to the Bronx with his family when he was 12 and he molded it into a new form of music that evolved into a street culture—DJing, rapping or MCing, b-boying, better known as breakdancing, writing, better known as graffiti—Herc has his hand in every area of Hip-Hop.”
DJ Kool Herc joins Kate Bush, George Michael, Sheryl Crow, The Spinners, Link Wray, Chaka Khan, Missy Elliott, Al Kooper, Bernie Taupin and Don Cornelius as the latest inductees into the famed Rock Hall. The show, recorded live for the first time in Rock Hall history, will be streamed on Disney+.
(Article originally written for AllHipHop.)