Coke La Rock, the pioneer emcee that is credited with creating rapping, is now trying to get paid for his contribution to the culture now known as Hip-Hop.
AllHipHop.com spoke to the emcee exclusively and he shared about how he started his career with DJ Kool Herc and the Herculoids and was at (and performed) the historic party that is now known as the birth date of Hip-Hop.
One of the things La Rock shared that one of the ways he distinguished himself from the other DJs is by toasting on the mic and shouting out people in the crowd. Those shoutouts were elaborated and he rhymed them together. He also was a party rocker coming up with chants, for the crowd to participate in to keep the jam fun.
According to ABC News, one of those chants was the lyrics, “You rock and you don’t stop.” That phrase is one that is usually attributed to Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Sonic Force because they said it in their 1982 song, “Planet Rock.”
In the interview, he also said, he was the one to come up with “Hotel, motel, you don’t tell, we won’t tell,” lyrics heard in the Sugar Hill Gang classic, “Rapper’s Delight.”
He believes he should be compensated.
“If Herc is the father of Hip-Hop… everybody knows that, if Herc came out of there and I picked the mic up and I came out of there. Why am I not known for that?” La Rock asks. “Where’s the royalty money of this?”
Attorney Lita Rosario-Richardson specializes in music rights for Hip-Hop artists and says he might be owed some loot if he can prove his assertions— like with a recorded source.
“If he recorded some of those lines on those 8 tracks, he has some evidence of when they were created,” Rosario-Richardson said.
Even if he didn’t do so originally, Rosario-Richardson argued that he now has the ability to record his renowned lyrics and officially register them with the copyright office.
“Because copyright exists from the date of creation – not from the date that you file your copyright registration,” she explained. “Royalties can continue to be paid or money can continue to be earned for a time period equal to the life of the last surviving coauthor of the work plus 70 years.”
Recently, La Rock attended an art show in Soho featuring a flyer and paper fragments from the 1970s promoting live shows by DJ Kool Herc and Coke La Rock. He hopes that within all of these archives and artifacts, something will emerge to prove his case.
“It’s certainly evidence,” Rosario-Richardson said. “It’s evidence that [he] and Kool Herc… were out there doing this. It sets up a date. It doesn’t answer the ultimate fact, but it’s certainly evidence that contributes to the point.”