DJ KOOL HERC: 44th Anniversary of Hip Hop
Interview Questions with Bessbad Music Producer, Sound Engineer from Brooklyn, NY
Thank you for sitting down with me in this interview to discuss one of HIP HOP Legends. DJ Kool Herc developed the style that was the blueprint for hip hop music. I’ve been following your work for some years now. I read in another interview that you have been in the music industry for over 20 years.
1. Tell me when was the first time you heard about DJ Kool Herc?
In a hip hop song back in the 90’s, for years KRS One talk about him, DJ Red Alert speak about him on the radio on WBLS FM in NYC. As years went by, I realized more and more on he was. In my own research, I found out he is Jamaican – immigrant – it tied in dancehall, hip hop and reggae.
I was in Jamaica in 1989 when reggae started heating the radio stations. 1992 was the last time I went to Jamaica. Jamaican artists and the style of reggae and hip hop are very similar to hip hop artist, DJ and MC are the same thing, in Jamaica the DJ was the music “Selector” He really pioneer and moving the needle on the hip hop, he should be compensated for it. Him being Jamaica is very something – “Started in the mud,” Reggae and Hip Hop.
2. You were raised right in the middle of the birthing of Hip Hop being from Brooklyn, with Jamaican roots like DJ Kool Herc. What was the energy like being surrounded in the emergence of a movement that would literally change the way the world views African Descent people in America?
It was ill, my oldest brother, introduced us to Hip hop in 1998-1989 I was 10. I like how he spoke, how he dressed, He was in the streets and he had money and had all the dopest stuff. All the women wanted him and all the men wanted to be like him. He was like a Young LL Kool J. Eric B & Rakim “He got soul” when I heard this song I didn’t like it.
3. DJ Kool Herc was known for spinning records from the 70’s like James Brown and Jimmy Castor, what do you think about sampling from today’s hip hop artist and what songs have you sampled as a producer?
That’s hip hop! They didn’t have instruments, they only had records. So they created they own band by sampling other artists that came before them – music ship evolved. Now you can have all the instruments on one machine or a plug in. Or effects that make it sound like an instrument. I don’t like to sample that much because it most time you have to get it cleared and most of the time they want all the publishing rights are an upfront fee and
you won’t get paid much from it. If you are really that good, create something original. There nothing with inspiration from previous artists, but it’s better to create your own.
4. DJ Kool Herc was known to have a large sound system in the Bronx. Your Father was also a well - known DJ in Brooklyn – immigrated from Jamaica as well and for having a large sound system during the same time. How did all these influences inspire you into the music industry?
My pop’s was also a well - known DJ, but throughout BK. But he died when I was only 1 yrs. Old. And although, he was gone, his records & sound system became a sacred symbol in our house because my mother wouldn’t allow us to touch them. I remember seeing his albums and sound system stacked all the way to the ceiling – it was like an altar. He had a lot of music equipment, records. I grew up seeing how sacred it was to him. Hip Hop was very valuable back then. Hip Hop created a culture of being “clean” and taking pride in yourself and the culture you represented.
“I am 41 and Hip Hop is 44, Hip Hop is like an older brother to me.”
5. DJ Kool Herc’s musical influence was Dancehall, Soul, Funk, and Reggae. What are your musical influences?
Dancehall/Reggae, Ski Reggae (which is like an old Reggae genre), Hip Hop, and Afrobeat.
6. DJ just released his only album this past spring, have you heard it? What did you think? Would you be interested in working with him in the future?
OF COURSE I HEARD IT. It’s Dope. It sounds just as I hoped it would sound – it has that vintage, scratchy vinyl sound – a sound that the creator of Hip Hop would have. It doesn’t have high and low peaks – the sound is smooth. I never knew he didn’t put out anything. That’s crazy to me.
7. What artists are you currently working with now?
“I am currently working with young artists in West Africa and Brazil.”
8. What’s your recent project?
“I released a song every month to the end of the year. It takes a lot outta me to release a song. The last song I released was in December called, “Would You Be My Baby?”
9. What’s next for you in 2020?
More releases, more singles in the AfroBeat genre, more collaborations. I am more interested in collaborating with women because of the energy they bring. I want to work with Akon & Pitbull.
10. Where can the viewers find your work?
All of my work can be found on: Apple, Spotify, Soundcloud, Tidal, Apple Music, YouTube, IG, Facebook, and Twitter all @bessbad.