DJ Herc To Establish Hip-Hop Museum In Jamaica

Hip-hop music pioneer DJ Herc plans to establish a hip-hop museum in his home country of Jamaica. He announced his plans at the Jamaica Music Conference held in Kingston in February 2020. During an interview with Billboard Magazine, DJ Herc and his sister Cindy Campbell talked about their plans for the Kingston museum and how it would contribute toward improving Jamaica’s economy. The brother and sister were inspired toward taking action by a trip they made to their native island to make a contribution to music history as they believe Jamaica was the inspiration for the hip-hop genre. Herc said that while in Kingston on the trip he saw that reggae legends Peter Tosh and Bob Marley had museums he realized that he had also “created something” and had a contribution to make himself that would have an impact on Jamaica’s economy through tourism. Cindy Campbell said that a hip-hop museum would also provide an explanation of Jamaica’s important influence on hip-hop. “It will definitely open up a whole other world musically for Jamaica,” she told Billboard in the interview and noted that tourism is a core element of the island’s economy and that the museum would encourage more people to visit. She went on to say, “I think if the government got behind it, it would be profitable and an asset to the country.”

In speaking of the museum, the siblings acknowledged that it was a “sore point” with them that musicians working in genres like dancehall and reggae take elements of hip-hop for their own use while not giving credit to pioneers in hip-hop. The Jamaican recording artist Sean Paul made a similar point in a 2016 interview with The Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom, specifically citing artists like Drake and Justin Bieber for not giving credit where it is due. According to Herc, this situation started in 1974 with guitarist Eric Clapton and his cover of the song “I Shot the Sheriff” by Bob Marley. Herc believes that Jamaica should get the benefit of others’ appreciation and use of its music. “It’s nice when somebody else uses our music,” Herc told Billboard. “Just give recognition and give back money where it comes from.”