WABAC: 50s Philadelphia DJ Jocko Henderson

Undernews: Flotsam & Jetsam: Jocko Henderson

Jocko hosted his “Rocket Ship” show at Philadelphia radio stations WHAT and WDAS from 1954 to 1964, calling himself the “Ace From Outer Space” – “Not the imitator …not the duplicator …but the ORIGINATOR!”From the WABAC machine, here’s an old aircheck from the WFMU archives:

To be sure rock ‘n’ roll already existed, but it was known as “rhythm ‘n’ blues” or “R&B.” In the jargon of white broadcasters, it was “race music,” although some white teenagers, myself included, listened almost surreptitiously to stations like Philadelphia’s WDAS, where DJ Jocko Henderson proto-rapped:

Get a little cash from out of your stash,
And make like a flash in the hundred yard dash
Right down to my man John Kohler at 4th & Arch
And tell him Jocko sent you!

Years later Jocko Henderson would be recognized as one of the fathers of rap and hip hop.

Here’s a recording of Jocko rapping; the song was recorded for Sugar Hill Records in 1983.