Coke La Rock (aka Coco La Rock) is an old school New York City rapper who is often credited as being the first MC in the history of hip-hop.
In November, 2010, Coke La Rock will be inducted into the High Times Counterculture Hall of Fame at the annual ceremonies at the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. He was born on April 24, 1955.
Kool Herc and La Rock
La Rock was a friend and musical partner of DJ Kool Herc, who himself is generally considered to have laid down the foundation for hip-hop music starting in 1973. Although it has been written that La Rock comes from Jamaica, in reality his parents were from North Carolina. La Rock joined Kool Herc for his first party, in 1973, to celebrate Herc's sister Cindy's birthday. It wasn't until about the fifth or sixth party that he took the name Coke La Rock. The name came to him in a dream. Before that time, he had no name and did his rapping out of sight from the audience, so no one knew who was doing the rapping. His original raps were usually shout-outs to friends, but gradually the poetry emerged. He originated such phrases as "You rock and you don't stop" and "Hotel, motel, you don't tell, we won't tell" (which was immortalized on the first Sugarhill Gang single Rapper's Delight although La Rock received no credit.
La Rock's raps were always purely improvisational, unlike those of later 70s-era rap groups—such as the Furious Five L Brothers Funky Four and Cold Crush Brothers ; who wrote down and also rehearsed their rhymes and created elaborate routines. According to La Rock, while rapping "at first I would just call out names. Then I pretended dudes had double-parked cars; that was to impress the girls. Truthfully, I wasn’t there to rap, I was just playing around."