Robert ‘Rocky’ Ford Jr Wiki, Biography
Robert ‘Rocky’ Ford Jr was a former Billboard journalist and Kurtis Blow collaborator has died at 70. Ford’s cause of death has not been made public. Simmons said in his Instagram post that Ford had suffered from diabetes during his life.
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My mentor Robert ford (far right) passed yesterday. When I met him he worked at billboard magazine. He lived in queens and one day in spring of 1978 he was given a Rush Production flyer for DJ Hollywood and Kurtis Blow show by a 13 year old Joseph Simmons. He contacted me and wrote the first music trade story on rappers and how they was a hood phenomenon. He even put me in the story as The promoter (that was the first time I ever saw my name anywhere in the media). He believed in hip hop and me. Within a short time he was my guru. I was thrilled to sit by his feet and do whatever he recommended. He gave me a book (This Business of Music) and he enabled me to give a party for Kool and the Gang and their manager Bumby, who inspired me. I knew right then i wanted to be a manager. Next thing Robert and JB Moore (another billboard exec) produced my main artist and great friend @kurtisblow Christmas Rapping. I began “managing” Kurtis blow He told me that i should be careful and honest (not charge too much 10% ) and learn everything in site he said by being honest i would have my relationships forever He was right. In a world where ripping off artists or overreaching on deals was commonplace he stressed the importance of making your partner or artist successful and having deals that when they look back they know you were fair. Around that time 12 inch records were the thing ..disco was hot ..Christmas rapping became the 2nd biggest 12 inch in the history of major labels , only the second 12 inch to be certified gold Behind Donna summer and Barbara Streisand’s “no more tears” Robert taught me to brand.. he put Kurtis’s blows image on the sleeve of the record “the breaks “ and he named him “ the king of rap “ He then taught me to produce and he built a label “street level records” where he put out the records i produced Action by Orange Krush the vocals by the great Allyson williams And Bubble Bunch by the late jimmy spicer .:these experiences shaped me and i will always cherish them Farewell my lifelong friend and mentor Robert Ford junior See u again when we are young and vibrant again Love Always
He has died at the age of 70 years old.
Ford Jr. had a son Robert Ford, who conveyed the news about his father’s passing.
Ford began working with Billboard Magazine in the 1970s and is credited with writing the first major article about hip-hop culture. Ford wrote the piece, “B-Beats Bombarding The Bronx: Mobile DJ Starts Something With Oldie R&B Disks” in July 1978. The article followed the adventures of Cool Herc and the parties he hosted. The article concluded with the lines:
Herc hopes that someday he will be able to produce an entire B-beat album featuring, “Bongo Rock,” and other obscure numbers. Till then he plans to keep packing them in at the clubs and dances he works in The Bronx.
Ford left Billboard Magazine in 1979 to work with Kurtis Blow on the early hip-hop breakthrough hit, “Christmas Rappin’.” Ford worked on the song with another former Billboard Magazine employee, J.B. Moore. As a result of the success of the song, Ford helped Blow secure a deal with Mercury Records. This made Blow the first rapper to have a major recording contract.
Ford then worked with Blow again, this time alongside Russell Simmons, J.B. Moore, and Larry Smith on the hit song, “The Breaks.”
Robert ‘Rocky’ Ford Jr Death Cause
According to his son, Robert Ford, and his longtime friend and mentee Russell Simmons, the Hip Hop veteran died on May 20. The cause of his death has not been made public, although Simmons said in his Instagram post that Ford had suffered from diabetes during his life.