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Hip Hop 50


Scorpio (Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five) on unsung heroes from the early days in the Bronx, and total respect for Chuck D and LL Cool J
(Credit: David Becker/Getty Images for Nightclub & Bar Media Group)

Fifty years ago hip-hop started a revolution, not just in music but in fashion, film, TV, art. Is another revolution possible now? 

That’s really a hard question. We never really seen hip-hop takin’ it this far from when we created it back in the Bronx around 50 years ago. I can’t really see another genre really dominating like hip-hop because hip-hop is truly the people’s music.

It’s the only thing that broke down all barriers like racism and this and that. I am not saying racism don’t exist, but if you look at the majority of the hip-hop fans, they are white. They from every color. They ain’t afraid to come next to us because of the color of our skin like how a lot of them had been taught by the ancestors and the people in their families. So it broke down a lot of barriers. 

It’s really hard to see another genre do what hip-hop has done, and hip-hop is still growing. To answer the question directly, no. We’re still growing, and there’s still new styles coming out. Drill music is popping again. There’s so many branches to this tree. The only thing that’s new is another version of hip-hop. 

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Fifty years from now, in 2073, who will people still be talking about from hip-hop 2023? Who will have a lasting impact?

If I had to take a guess, I think the music with real substance will still be talked about, like the J. Coles and Kendrick Lamars. Believe it or not, I think they’ll still be talking about brothers like Chuck D. He has a way of just cutting through. He’s brutally honest without offending people. It’s just so magnificent. He’ll be the one, when you talk about hip-hop being talked about in colleges, I think Chuck D will be that face. He will be the main face. 

He came after us, but I’ve learned so much from him, just how to navigate the system. You can’t get caught up in ego and stuff like that. Talent-wise, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and LL Cool J. He’s holding the culture on his back, and that’s some serious heavy lifting. I think he’s single-handedly putting respect on all of the legends and the pioneers’ names. Whether people want to see it like that or not, he’s feeding a lot of us. What he’s doing with the Rock the Bells movement—not just the radio station, the movement—he’s always putting us in a great light. He doesn’t have to do this. He’s paid. He’s a multi-millionaire. He’s into the legacy part, so LL Cool J will definitely be talked about even 100 years from now. 

Looking back over the last 50 years, who is an unsung hero, someone who made a big impact on hip-hop who doesn’t get credit? 

I think some of the unsung heroes, I would have to go back to our era. Brothers like the Fantastic 5, Master Rob, the original Clark Kent, King Tim II, them type of brothers helped mold the Bronx. Even though our group was the most dominant of the Bronx eventually, those are the cats that nobody ever talk about. 

They set the tone for emceeing. They were like our Michael Jackson. Even though we were in competition with all them, we have to recognize their contributions. There were so many brothers who came from that era that never transitioned to the record part, so they never get they props. But people don’t know, those were the ones who was holding the Bronx on their backs when this music we call hip-hop was being formed. They the ones who made us wanna become an emcee. I know I’m missing a lot of names, but those are the ones I can think of off the top. 

Interview with Kyle Eustice