Hip-Hop architect Kool Herc is sick, has no medical insurance
Stephon Johnson | 4/12/2011, 4:46 p.m.
Kool Herc's in need of medical help and does not have the insurance necessary to lessen the financial burden. It looks now like someone has come to his aid.
Initially reported by DJ Premier, whose real name is Chris Martin, on his "HeadQcourterz" SIRIUS satellite radio show over the weekend, Kool Herc, whose real name is Clive Campbell, needs medical assistance as he hadn't been doing too well physically.
"He who we call the father of hip-hop, Kool Herc, is not doing well," said Premier, known mostly for his work as the co-founder of legendary hip-hop duo Gang Starr. "Since he's very sick and has no insurance, he needs to pay his bills so he can get out of the hospital." It was later revealed that Herc had been having significant problems with kidney stones.
Premier's announcement set off a flurry of activity online, with many artists calling out other artists to donate to help the man that many believe built the foundation for hip-hop by being the first to focus on the "breaks" (instrumental breakdowns) of rock, pop, soul and R&B records. Some had called out hip-hop heavyweights like Sean "Diddy" Combs, Jay-Z and Kanye West to send financial support.
It now turns out, according to DJPremierBlog.com, a fan site that has the full support of its namesake, that Herc's bills are now being taken care of.
According to his sister, Cindy Campbell, everything began back in October. At that time, Herc went to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, where doctors inserted a stent to alleviate the pain from large kidney stones. Several follow-up appointments had to be rescheduled due to weather. Last week, hospital officials told Campbell that Herc would need to pay at least a deposit on his medical bills.
At press time Herc has racked up over $10,000 in hospital bills, and further surgical procedures which are needed will just add to his medical debt.
In a conversation with legendary producer and DJ Pete Rock via Twitter, Harry Allen spoke of Herc's importance. "Kool Herc is important because he developed the essential turntable protocol that is the foundation of hip-hop," said Allen. "The idea of the 'break' being, itself, a compositional element, and the foundation of new performances, comes from Herc. Before Kool Herc, the break was something you played. After Kool Herc, the break was something you played with."
Kool Herc's parties at the housing complex at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Morris Heights section of the Bronx in the early- to mid-1970s were legendary for introducing some of the concepts that would later become the foundation for hip-hop culture and music. Herc, a native of Jamaica, was influenced by the dancehall tradition of sound system battles and toasting (where the MC would talk, or "rap," over the DJ's music).
"Being that he is the man who set this whole culture off, ya'll should be wanting to do it any type of way that you can," said Premier last week.