Watch: DJ Kool Herc Speaks Tearfully at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction

Throughout 2023, the hip-hop community is being honored to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the genre. What many don’t know, though, is that it all stems from New York’s DJ Kool Herc, who hosted a party in the South Bronx in August 1973 dubbed the “Back To School Jam.” Here, DJs showed off their record-scratching skills in front of dancing attendees. It would go on to be recognized as the first-ever hip-hop gathering that officially birthed the new music style.

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On Friday (November 3), the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honored Herc for this contribution, as well as his impact on music as a whole. Inducted into the hall alongside legends such as Kate Bush, Sheryl Crow, Missy Elliott, Willie Nelson, and more, Herc’s allotted time on stage at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, was nothing short of sentimental.

Herc was welcomed to the stage by fellow hip-hop icon LL Cool J, who recounted Here’s origins and the great influence he had on rap culture.

“Herc had learned about the dancehall music and toasting he heard in his native country of Jamaica,” LL began. “He moved to the Bronx with his family when he was 12 and he molded it into a new form of music that evolved into a street culture—DJing, rapping or MCing, b-boying, better known as breakdancing; writing, better known as graffiti—Herc has his hand in every area of hip-hop. … It’s a culture that changed my life, obviously,” LL added. “It changed the lives of millions and millions of people.”

[RELATED: Watch: Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello Gives Passionate Revolution-Inspiring Speech at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony]

In his induction speech, Herc opted to spotlight other people in his life like his sister, instead of accepting all the praise for himself.

“All the people, man, built me up,” he said with tears in his eyes. “But my sister, she needs some props, too.”

Right on cue, Herc’s sister, Cindy Campbell, who stood by his side, stepped to the mic to celebrate her brother.

“I want to congratulate my brother DJ Kool Herc for staying on that path and getting where he is today,” she said.

Check out DJ Kool Herc’s full induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame below.

(Photo by Mike Coppola/WireImage)

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