During the Jamaica Music Conference held in Kingston earlier this month, DJ Kool Herc, a hip-hop pioneer and native to the nation shared plans to build a hip-hop museum in the country. Alongside his sister Cindy Campbell, the siblings were inspired by a trip to their native land to contribute a piece of music history to a country they believe inspired the art of hip-hop.
In an interview with Billboard, Herc and Campbell discussed their plans and what a museum of this stature in Kingston could mean for the country’s economy. “When I was looking around [Kingston throughout the weekend], I saw that Peter Tosh and Bob Marley had museums. Well guess what? I created something, so therefore, I have a contribution myself and it would add to the Jamaican economy with tourism,” Herc stated.
For Campbell, the museum will also explain why hihglighting Jamaica’s importance and influence over hip-hop in the form of a museum will further transcend the nation’s musical contributions. “It will definitely open up a whole other world musically for Jamaica,” she said. “[The island] is a core tourism Mecca and [the museum] could be a place where people would want to go to learn about history. [They will] not only [have to go to the United States]—it will be right here in Jamaica. I think if the government got behind it, it would be profitable and an asset to the country.”
The conversation later switched to the topic of accreditation where some artists outside of genres like dancehall or reggae take elements for their own gain but don’t give the proper credit. This was a point of contention during a 2016 interview Sean Paul conducted with The Guardian.
“It is a sore point when people like Drake or Bieber or other artists come and do dancehall-orientated music but don’t credit where dancehall came from and they don’t necessarily understand it,” Paul said. “A lot of people get upset, they get sour. And I know artists back in Jamaica that don’t like Major Lazer because they think they do the same thing that Drake and Kanye did–they take and take and don’t credit.”
From Herc’s recollection, the situation stems back to the mid-1970s.
“It started with Eric Clapton when he covered Bob Marley’s ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ [in 1974]. We should use it to our benefit instead of just making noise about it. It’s nice when somebody else uses our music,” Herc said. “Just give recognition and give back money where it comes from. [It’s always about] taking something from us, but at the same time they know we are powerful and to be respected. When they are picking off of you it says something about the music.”
Plans are still in an early stage of development.