Herbie Hancock – Rockit
Scratching is now an integral part of of many kinds of music. But as you should all know, it started in the early 80s with the roots of old school hip hop.
Developed in New York during the early 80s by hip hop DJs like Grandmaster Flash, Grand Wizard Theodore and Dj Kool Herc, from hip hop, to Miami bass and electro funk, you can now hear thousands of tracks featuring a Dj scratching the record back and forth to the beat, now it has even broken out of its hip hop roots to be heard in styles like pop and even metal.
While not the first record to feature scratching (that honour goes to Grandmaster Flash – The Message, in 1982), certainly one of the first songs to reach huge commercial success was American Jazz musician Herbie Hancock‘s single Rockit, a single from his 1983 album Future Shock.
Pioneer of the scratch: Grand Mixer D.ST
The cuts in Rockit are by Grand Mixer D.ST, using the record Change The Beat (check the video link to hear it), by Fab Five Freddy and B-Side. Years later, legendary DJs Qbert and Mix Master Mike would go on to describe Rockit as the spark that inspired their interest in turntablism. Check out the documentary Scratch for more. Rockit is also more recently famous for its appearance in the soundtrack of Zoolander, as it is the record used as the secret signal for Zoolander to kill the President of Malaysia.
Herbie Hancock – Rockit (the film clip)
The video itself is directed by Godley & Creme, featuring robot sculptures by Jim Whiting. Herbie Hancock himself only appears in the video playing piano on the TV screen, which is smashed to pieces in the closing moments of the clip.
Herbie Hancock certainly knew how to rock it baby. If you’re looking for the mp3, Rockit and the Future Shock album are available to download from Amazon right here.
Don’t forget – the opening night of Cold Crush, Sydney’s only monthly electro funk, Miami bass and old school rap club is this Friday night at 202 Broadway! (on the corner of City road) See you there.