Robert “Rocky” Ford Jr. has died. The hip-hop journalist and producer, who served as a mentor to a younger Russell Simmons at first of the music mogul’s profession, handed away on Could 19, in keeping with an Instagram post from Simmons and The New York Times. “In a world the place ripping off artists or overreaching on offers was commonplace he confused the significance of constructing your companion or artist profitable and having offers that once they look again they know you have been truthful,” Simmons wrote of Ford. He was 70 years outdated.
Ford acquired his begin within the music trade as a author for Billboard within the late 1970s, giving the nascent style its first look in a serious music commerce journal with the publishing of “B-Beats Bombarding Bronx” in 1978. He pivoted from writing live performance evaluations and scene items to songwriting after assembly Russell Simmons. Alongside J.B. Moore, one other Billboard colleague, he wrote a music known as “Christmas Rappin’,” enlisting Kurtis Blow to be the performer. It was a shock hit, resulting in Blow’s document cope with Mercury and his historic single “The Breaks,” additionally co-written by Ford. “The Breaks” would go on to turn out to be the primary rap document to ever be licensed gold by the RIAA.
Ford and Moore would proceed to work collectively all through the ’80s, persevering with to supply for Blow in addition to teams like Full Pressure and the film tie-in music “Metropolis of Crime,” rapped by Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd within the film Dragnet.