WHH Pioneer Award Recipients
The World Hip Hop Pioneer Award recipients were chosen by The Consortium of Hip Hop's Board of Directors for their historic contributions to the Hip Hop culture.
"The King of Soul and Hip Hop" - James Brown
By the time he was in his 30s, James Brown was more than a dominant musical voice: he was an outstanding African-American personality, period. Important enough to be drawn into the murky waters of national politics as an inspiration and role model, he was also feared and sometimes ridiculed. But he would not be denied. Nearly stillborn, then revived by an aunt in a country shack in the piney woods outside Barnwell, South Carolina, on May 3, 1933, Brown was determined to be Somebody. He called his group “Famous” before they had a right to; called himself “Mr. Dynamite” before his first Pop hit; and proclaimed himself “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business” before the music business knew his name. His was a fantasy, a sweet dream. But James Brown had singular talent, and the vision to hire the baddest. In his own time, he became “Soul Brother Number ONE,” a larger-than-life Godfather of Soul.
“JAMES BROWN is a concept, a vibration, a dance. “It’s not me, the man. JAMES BROWN is a freedom I created for humanity.”Some say it was a freedom too bold. Night after night, on stage and in the studio, his blood swirled, his legs split and his body shook. But talking to a crowd stretched at his feet in the late 1960s, James Brown reassured them: “If you ain’t got enough soul, let me know. I’ll loan you some! Huh! I got enough soul to burn.” Brown recorded 16 singles that reached number one on the Billboard R&B charts. He also holds the record for the most singles listed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart which did not reach number one. Brown has received honors from many institutions, including inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In Joel Whitburn's analysis of the Billboard R&B charts from 1942 to 2010, James Brown is ranked as number one in The Top 500 Artists. He is ranked seventh on the music magazine Rolling Stone's list of its 100 greatest artists of all time.Rolling Stone has also cited Brown as the most sampled artist of all time.
I don't think there's any way to reduce the importance of James Brown's music to hip-hop to 25 examples because without James Brown there is no hip-hop (not to mention any other form of modern club or dance related music). And that applies whether you're talking hip-hop constructed via samples, or played by keyboard or band, or built from (turntable) scratch. That said, James Brown - will always and forever be the KING..
Clive "DJ HERC" Campbell - Founder of Hip Hop
DJ Kool Herc was the earliest major figure to emerge from the mid-70's Bronx, New York music scene that would eventually come to be known as Hip-Hop. Born Clive Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica, Herc immigrated to New York City and was exposed at an early age to both American and Jamaican musical traditions. Influenced by soul, rock, funk, reggae and dancehall, DJ Kool Herc staged parties that spawned a global youth culture, rooted in the African American experience. As a teenager, Campbell borrowed his father's massive sound system to throw block parties that brought together his west Bronx community, often until dawn. DJ Kool Herc didn't invent hip-hop's musical aesthetic as much as he unearthed it, buried in the drum breaks of soul and funk records. Realizing that dancers became most energized during the parts of songs where the sole instrumentation was percussion, Herc used two copies of the same record to endlessly loop a beat, driving the dance-floor crazy. During performances, to further excite the crowd, Herc’s crew of hype-men, in the style of Jamaican dancehall toasting, would recite rhymes over the microphone, pioneering the art of rapping. These innovations would gain Herc notoriety across the five boroughs, leading him to club performances around the city for a wide spectrum of audiences.
Campbell's DJ style was quickly taken up by young dancers. He called his dancers "break-boys" and "break-girls", Campbell's announcements and exhortations to dancers helped lead to the syncopated, rhymed spoken accompaniment now known as breakbeat DJs, Campbell used two copies of the same record to elongate the break. The innovator and creator of the Hip Hop culture - DJ Kool Herc stands as the originator, without whom an entire WORLDWIDE generation would lack a soundtrack.
Lawrence "KRS-1'' Parker - Hip Hop Schlor
Appearing on the rap scene in 1986 as Boogie Down Productions releasing his first hit single “South Bronx” with his late DJ Scott La Rock, KRS “the one” made it clear that Hip Hop was going to have to take itself a lot more seriously than simply being a music genre.
KRS, an acronym for ““Knowledge Reigning Supreme”, has been called the “conscience of Hip Hop” (Rolling Stone), “the greatest live emcee ever” (The Source), the “spokesperson for Hip Hop” (Wall Street Journal), “master teacher” (Zulu Nation) and the “son of Hip Hop” (Kool DJ Herc). With 20 published albums to his credit and his numerous appearances with other artists, KRS-One is believed to have written the most rhymes in Hip Hop’s history. In the 1990s as “hip-hop” grew more and more commercialized and corporate, it was KRS-One that openly rejected such cultural exploitation and materialism grounding Hip Hop in its original principles of peace, love, unity and safely having fun.
Teaching everything from self-creation to stopping violence; from vegetarianism to transcendental meditation, from the establishment of Hip Hop Appreciation Week (every third week in May), to establishing Hip Hop as an international culture at the United Nations (2001), KRS-One has single-handedly held the history and original arts of Hip Hop together now for over two decades.
In addition to lecturing at over 500 universities in the United States and publishing three ground-breaking books; “The Science of Rap” (1995), “Ruminations” (2003), and the Gospel of Hip Hop” (2009), KRS-One has also established the Stop The Violence Movement (1989), influenced the creation of the “West-Coast All-Stars’ anti-gang anthem “We’re All In The Same Gang” (1990), warned the Hip Hop community against giving up their humanity for technological advancement (H. E. A. L.—Human Education Against Lies-1991), and has established the Temple of Hip Hop for the spiritual exploration of Hip Hop’s culture (1996). It was KRS-One who first argued that “rap is something we do; Hip Hop is something we live” and introduced the “I am Hip Hop” philosophy in 1994 which Black Entertainment Television uses as the title of their Hip Hop Lifetime Achievement Award today. Without question, KRS-One has been the loudest voice for the actual preservation and expansion of original Hip Hop worldwide.