Sonntag, 22. März 2009

Hip Hop Genealogies - Rocket in the Pocket

This is a little clip from a live concert by disco artist Cerrone in Paris, 1978. Cerrone (who is the guy behind the drums) had an international breakthrough hit in the 70s with the epic "Love in C Minor" and has continued to produce disco music to this day (here's a great song from 2002). If you ever come across one of those "The 10 sexiest/most controversial album covers" lists, you will probably find one of Cerrone's albums in there.

Anyway, back to the video: After an extended drum solo Cerrone goes into a super-heavy slow-motion breakdown part backed by weird guitar sliding noises and the chant "got a rock... rocket in the pocket" before he picks up the speed again and everything turns into a funky uptempo disco song. It will already sound familiar at this point ... just in case you're missing it, here's the break again speeded up to 45rpm:

The break became a staple in early hip hop, being played in many DJ sets and finding a way into quite a few songs. My guess would be that Afrika Bambaataa, known for his eclectic taste in obscure music, first introduced it. The Cold Crush Brothers also used it in their routines – check out this clip from the Cold Crush Brothers' MC battle against the Fantastic Five:

This was in 1981 - the first recorded use of the Rocket in the Pocket break as far as I know. The first time it was put to vinyl was in 1983, on the popular B-Boys track "Two, Three, Break":

One year later (1984) it was subtly appropriated for the intro of one of my all-time favorite tunes: Captain Rock's "Cosmic Blast" ... and I gotta admit the write-up about the break was just an excuse to post this song:

There are a lot more tunes that have sampled Rocket in the Pocket and I put some of them in a rar file:


1.Cerrone – Rocket in the Pocket (live) (1978)
2.Cold Crush Brothers – live at Harlem World (1981)
3.The B-Boys – Two, Three, Break (1983)
4.Captain Rock – Cosmic Blast (1984)
5.Run DMC – Hit it Run (1986)
6.Original Concept – Can You Feel It? (1986)
7.Eazy E – Radio (1988)
8.Beastie Boys – 59 Chrystie Street (1989)
9.MC Lyte – Cha Cha Cha (1989)



  1. Gerade als Kölner solltest du noch LSD - Ohne Warnung vom ersten Blitzmob-sampler erwähnen, die rocket in the pocket für ihren Breakdown sämplen. Übrigens der erste deutschsprachige Diss-Träck auf Vinyl...


    Dr. Wurst

  2. Absolut!
    Ein LSD Posting steht auch schon lange auf meiner To-Do Liste ;)