The life of a late hip hip icon from the Bronx was recently commemorated with a street co-naming.
On Friday, May 19, Councilman Fernando Cabrera, Universal Hip Hop Museum executive director Rocky Bucano and members of the hip hop community gathered at Kingsbridge Road and Jerome Avenue to rename the location ‘Scott La Rock Boulevard’, to pay homage to the late hip hop legend.
DJ Scott La Rock, born Scott Monroe Sterling in 1962, grew up in the south Bronx and graduated from Our Savior Lutheran High School in 1980. He then attended Castleton State College, now Castleton University, in Vermont.
After graduating in 1984, Scott La Rock found a job as a social worker while spinning hip hop records at night. As a social worker at Franklin Armory Men’s Shelter, he met fellow hip hop artist KRS-One and formed the group Boogie Down Productions along with D-Nice.
After BPD’s 1987 release of the ‘Criminal Minded’ album, which documented the realities of life in the south Bronx during the 1980s and is considered a blueprint in hip hop history, Scott was tragically shot in the neck while trying to diffuse an altercation at Highbridge Houses.
At Lincoln Hospital he was pronounced dead at just 25 years of age on Wednesday, August 26, 1987, just five months after the group’s first album release.
Hip hop artists and DJs in attendance included D-Nice, BPD affiliate Kool DJ Red Alert, Ced-Gee, DJ Jazzy Jay, Grand Wizard Theodore, Cut Master DC, Tyrone “Fly Ty Williams, DJ Kay Slay, DJ Pete Nice and DJ Eclipse, among others.
“DJ Scott La Rock gave us a gift and left us a legacy by documenting a human experience that has been widely ignored,” said Cabrera, who sponsored the street co-naming legislation. “Scott (La Rock)’s creative genius helped forge a unique urban art form and put the Bronx front and center in worldwide entertainment – and his legacy continues to influence dance, fashion and language.”
“I can’t explain how special this moment is – it really touches my heart,” said Ced-Gee, producer for the hip hop group Ultramagnetic MCs, who used to play basketball with Scott La Rock. “It’s great to know that Scott has continued to and will always be highly respected and remembered.”
The street honor took place right next to the Kingsbridge Armory, which many Bronx hip hop advocates hope will be the future location of the Universal Hip Hop Museum.
Before the ceremony, the street was turned into a late ‘80s hip hop scene – as large speakers blasted classic tracks from the ‘Criminal Minded’ album.
“My son was a great musician but an even greater person,” said Carolyn Morant, Scott La Rock’s mom. “He really was a wonderful, kind-hearted, loving human being who always wanted to make the world a better place. I am honored that he is receiving recognition and his legacy is being preserved.”
KRS-One has mentioned Scott La Rock’s name in many of his songs, including the single ’Outta Here’ from his first solo album, ‘Return of the Boom Bap’, where he says “Scott (La Rock) would say ‘just keep rapping, I’ll keep spinning,” and “Scott was killed and that **** got to me.”