T La Rock
Is an American old-school MC best known for his collaboration with Def Jam Recordings co-founder Rick Rubin and the 1984 single “It’s Yours“.
He disappeared from the hip hop scene after a traumatic brain injury in 1994, but as of 2008, he was back on stage.
T La Rock was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx borough of New York City.
A former break dancer, he is the older brother of fellow old-school MC Special K of the Treacherous Three.
T La Rock stands 6’3″ tall.
T La Rock has been a part of hip hop since its birth, having been a DJ and MC since the early 1970s.
In 1984, Rick Rubin released “It’s Yours” 12-inch single, which was the very first release on Def Jam Recordings.
Although some might argue that LL Cool J’s “I Need a Beat” 12-inch single was the first, this is not exactly true.
The “It’s Yours” recording was something that Rick Rubin put out a few months before joining forces with Russell Simmons.
The song was the first single to feature a Def Jam logo, but it was released through producer Arthur Baker’s independent label Partytime, which was the hip hop division of his dance music label Streetwise Records.
The recording was never part of Def Jam’s collection of master recordings.
In a 1996 interview with The New York Times, Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons commented about the effect T La Rock and “It’s Yours” had on the early hip hop scene:
“It’s Yours” was big; big in the underground. T La Rock started the trend and a new direction in hip-hop. He used 40-letter words. He created a special poetry.LL Cool J was the second release on the label. He borrowed ideas and attitude from T. LL would agree.
The song was sampled by countless artists, including hip-hop group Public Enemy in “Louder than a Bomb” from its 1988 release It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back; Nas in “The World is Yours” from his seminal 1994 album Illmatic; by many sample-based house-music tracks by Todd Terry.
The song was later in the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto IV, on the old school hip hop radio station the Classics 104.1.
It was also used by the Beastie Boys on its song “Paul Revere” off the famous 1986 album Licensed to Ill,an album also produced by Rick Rubin and released on Def Jam Recordings.
Southern MC Mystikal did a remake of “It’s Yours” on his 1997 album Unpredictable.
The song sampled the original drums and had a similar hook, but it had a southern twist to it as it was titled “It Yearns“.
On the strength of “It’s Yours“, T La Rock was signed by Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records and released two albums: Lyrical King (From the Boogie Down Bronx in 1987, and On a Warpath in 1989.
Lyrical King was produced by T La Rock, Kurtis Mantronik, and DJ Louie Lou (La Rock’s original DJ), while Todd Terry produced On a Warpath.
1994 injury and recovery
In 1994, T La Rock suffered a traumatic brain injury that almost killed him while breaking up a fight in front of his brother’s Bronx apartment building.
He spent part of his recovery at the Haym Salomon Home for Nursing and Rehabilitation in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, where he recovered from memory loss and a loss of motor skills.
After recovering, T La Rock began work on a film project about his life written by Antwone Fisher in 2001.
He also began to record new music.
He is back on stage performing all of his hits, both in the United States and internationally.
He performed in Brazil on August 2008.