DJ Kool Herc Inducted Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Following Hip-Hop’s 50th Anniversary

BY Edwin Lamptey November 9, 2023 11:07 AM EDT
Photo Source: Instagram/@officialdjkoolherc

The godfather of hip-hop, DJ Kool Herc was recently honored and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Musical Influence Category).

According to LL Cool J, the Jamaican American played a major role in the culture that “changed the lives of millions and millions of people.”

The ceremony which took place on November 4 marked a significant moment for hip-hop as DJ Kool Herc and Missy Elliot were inducted into the Hall of Fame, amidst this year’s 50th anniversary of hip-hop celebrations. 

Giving a speech during the induction, LL Cool J applauded the godfather of the 68-year-old for his active participation in building the major blocks of the genre.

“It’s a culture that changed my life and changed the lives of millions and millions of people. “When Herc first started, there were no accountants or record companies that believed in it, but Herc believed in it.”

The New York rapper reflected on memories from the August 1973 party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx DJed by Herc which many cite as the birthplace of hip-hop.

“When Herc first started, there were no accountants or record companies that believed in it. But Herc believed in it… So this year, this is hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, so it’s all the more appropriate that were are here to honor and recognize one of the founding fathers of hip-hop, DJ Kool Herc,” LL Cool J noted.

Herc’s act of trying to help his sister, Cindy Campbell, raise money for back-to-school clothes in 1973 by DJiing at her party marked the monumental birth of the hip-hop genre.

‘We don’t know how much money Cindy managed to raise that day or what clothes she managed to buy but we know she changed the course of history, of music history,” LL Cool J said.

During his acceptance speech, DJ Herc was joined onstage by his sister Cindy Campbell, who hosted the famous Sedgwick Avenue party. He cited Harry Belafonte and James Brown as inspirations. Herc ultimately returned to thanking family.

“I got tears in my eyes. All the people, man, built me up. But my sister, she needs some props, too.”

Rap queen Missy Elliott was also a part of the main induction class this year, along with Kate Bush, Willie Nelson, Rage Against the Machine, Sheryl Crow, the Spinners, and George Michael. Link Wray received the other Musical Influence Award, and the Musical Excellence Award winners were Chaka Khan, Al Kooper, and Elton John’s songwriter, Bernie Taupin.

As the first female rapper to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Missy Elliot was lost for words and shocked.

“Words cannot describe [the honor of being inducted]. It just hasn’t clicked. When you’re in the hip-hop world, it seems so far out of reach… And it being the 50th year of hip hop, it’s layers. No matter what people tell you, the hip-hop world is something special and unique.”

The Virginia native also shared the news on X, as she expressed her appreciation.

 “I got to the podium [and] my mind went blank. It is a feeling that’s almost unimaginable as I listened to the cheers [and] claps of so many [people]. I felt like a little girl again singing to my baby dolls in my room.”

At the ceremony, Big Boi spoke in honor of Kate Bush. He stated that he’s been a fan of the legendary singer since middle school.

‘It’s no surprise that she had a surge of popularity decades after she emerged on the scene. After all, if you were hearing Kate’s music for the first time, why wouldn’t you believe she was a current artist? The only mistake you might make is that the artists she influenced had influenced her. She is a true artist and a true visionary and that’s why Kate Bush belongs in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”