Over the weekend DJ Premier, as authoritative a voice as you could ask for in a situation like this, raised the alarm re: Clive Campbell, a/k/a DJ Kool Herc, the guy with as good as claim to the Godfather of Hip-Hop title as anyone. Though details are scarce at the moment, evidently Herc’s been hospitalized, sans health insurance; that info right there is hopefully enough to launch the mother of all Kickstarter campaigns. (Thus far donation-wise all that’s out there is an address, but there’s no need to be retro about this.) Herc is, of course, the Jamaican-born DJ who more or less single-handedly invented The Break as we know it, immortalizing 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx as hip-hop’s birthplace; for far more crucial detail, please see Jeff Chang’s indispensable Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation,, for which Herc wrote the forward, because who the hell else is gonna do it. As Questlove has frequently noted, artists of Herc’s stature usually only hit trending-topic status when they’ve passed — let’s get the jump on this one, shall we? Because picture a world where he never invents the Merry-Go-Round, like so . . .
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 31, 2011