Sport and Entertainment
JAM | May 9, 2023

Jamaican DJ Kool Herc for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

/ Our Today

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Induction ceremony set for Barclays Center, Brooklyn on November 3, 2023

Herc being awarded the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award @ the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018 (Photo: Instagram @officialdjkooherc)

Durrant Pate/ Contributor

This year, Jamaican DJ Kool Herc, whose real name is Clive Campbell, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The Jamaican is one of the founding fathers of the genre and is the third Jamaican to be recognized, alongside Bob Marley (1994) and Jimmy Cliff (2010). The induction ceremony is set for Barclays Center in Brooklyn on November 3, 2023.

Some have argued that the honour is decades overdue to DJ Kool Herc, who even today continues to shape the culture through his music. He was born in the Jamaican capital city of Kingston and emigrated to The Bronx as an adolescent in the 1960s.

DJ Kool Herc (Photo: Instagram @officialdjkooherc)

Early years of DJ Kool Herc

In 1973 while at his sister’s birthday party on 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Campbell’s talent as a DJ was readily apparent. His sister, Cindy was an innovator in her own right having promoted his events, created handwritten flyers and even did styling duties for him.

Because of his height, Campbell was nicknamed “Hercules” and took the name DJ Kool Herc for short. He continued to DJ at various events through the 1970s and 1980s.

Campbell was inspired by American music but also paid homage to his Jamaican heritage with Yahoo! News reporting that he “often emulated the style of Jamaican ‘selectors’ (DJs) by ‘toasting’ (i.e., talking) over the records he spun. But his historical significance has nothing to do with rapping. His contribution to hip- hop was even more fundamental.”

DJ Kool Herc (Photo: Instagram @officialdjkooherc)

Campbell has been recognized quite a few times in his career. In 1994, former New York governor, Mario Cuomo, gave him the people’s Hall of Fame Award.

The following year, Campbell was highlighted by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. The Source, Vanity Fair, and Entertainment Weekly are just three publications that have honored Campbell.

He also wrote the forward for “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of The Hip-Hop Generation.”


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