By 1976 Kool Herc was the top draw in the Bronx, he was the freshest presence with the dopest threads, coming a long way from his ill snow-caps and cowboy boots to sporting Lee or AJ Lester suits, his trend followed by notorious ghetto-celebs, drug dealers and high-rollers and Harlem hustlers. Kool Herc and Coke La Rock owned the movement until 1977 when younger protégées Flash and Bambaataa captivated the Boogie-Down with their honed continuation of Herc’s legacy.
Right before their time, Herc was gearing up play an event at the Playhouse when fate sent him a terrifying signal to stand down from the turntables. At the venue he overheard a scuffle breaking out between Mike-with-the-Lights (from Cindy’s back to school party at Sedgwick) and somebody at the door. Mike had refused entry to three men who grew increasingly intolerant of this. Herc went to mediate between the two parties one of the men drew a knife and stabbed Herc three times in the side and once more in the palm of his hand when he put his hand up to cover his face before retreating upstairs out of the venue leaving Herc shell-shocked and he went into recluse. After this occasion in ’77 his flame died out and the torch was passed to his prodigal DJs’ Grandmaster Flash and The 3 MC’s and the various crews behind Afrika Bambaataa with their polished emceeing over more developed turntable skills. This put Herc at a disadvantage, he stepped aside to allow the younger generation to redefine this new-found genre of music. Herc played at his last old school party in 1984 and also appeared in the film “Breakbeat” as himself.
The impression on hip-hop’s genre Herc left has never been surpassed yet to date. The man responsible for unfolding the core elements of a generation and unleashing an unprecedented genre of music that had transcended today into the greatest influence to popular culture some thirty plus years later. To reinstate the statement, before there was hip-hop there was Herc and without him the movement would not be so. He holds sessions today standing tall as Hercules as the foremost revolutionary of not only a music genre but the messiah of a movement we know today worldwide as hip-hop before it was.
(Davey D interview w. Kool Herc)