Hip hop has always had its fair share of controversy and tragedy, but it occurred countless times before the East Coast - West Coast beef in the '90s that saw Biggie and Pac lose their lives. On this day in 1987, hip-hop lost a pioneer - a person who would inspire so many, even after death.
Scott Sterling - aka Scott La Rock - was anything but a gangster to begin with.
He had earned himself a varsity letter at Vermont's Castleton State College for basketball, and ended up with a degree in business to boot. It was clear that his heart pulled in a different direction though, because the time he spent behind a set of deejay decks trumped anything he was going to do with a book. Socially gifted, he used to work at a local homeless shelter, which is where he first bumped into the self professed street prophet and outgoing soul named Lawrence Krisna Parker - or KRS-One as the world knows him today.
Over the course of a couple of years, their styles blended and friendship blossomed as they formed a crew called Boogie Down Productions, along with D-Nice (Derrick Jones). On March 3, 1987, they released Criminal Minded, an album that is considered a timeless classic in hip-hop and one that shaped the roots of East Coast gangster rap for the ensuing generations. Unfortunately, the bright star that was La Rock would have its flame extinguished in the same year.
After recieving a call from D-Nice one afternoon saying he had been bashed by a group of men in the Highbridge Projects in the South Bronx, the Boogie Down Crew ventured over to attempt to diffuse the situation. It has never been publicised what exactly transpired with the group at the projects, but as Scott and the others went to enter their vehicles, gunshots rained down on them and two .22 calibre rounds slammed into La Rocks jeep, hitting him in the neck. He died in Lincoln Memorial Hospital that night.
It's a life that was cut short, like so many others that showed similar promise over the course of history. Two men were arrested over his murder, but were later acquitted in court, leaving this as another killing unsolved.
The thing is to remember those before us who aided hip-hop as a culture and a lifestyle, and progressed it in ways that we sometimes forget in this day and age. South Bronx is on the map, and men like Scott La Rock made sure the world knew about it.
Rest in paradise.