Hip-hop has lost an old-school pioneer. Darryl Mason, aka Dot-A-Rock, has died, according to Billboard, which cites HipHopGods.com. Mason was an original member of the Cold Crush Brothers, who formed in the Bronx in 1979, and he soon left to join rival group DJ Grand Wizard Theodore and the Fantastic Five.
As Alan Light recounts in The Vibe History of Hip-Hop, both groups sprang up at a time when focus was shifting from DJs to MCs such as Grandmaster Flash. Grand Wizard Theodore is widely regarded as the inventor of scratching. It was the Cold Crush Brothers’ Grandmaster Caz who later said he gave Sugar Hill Records’ Sylvia Robinson the rhymes that ended up on “Rapper’s Delight.”
Dot-A-Rock appeared with the Fantastic Five, as the Fantastic Freaks, in the landmark 1983 hip-hop film Wild Style. From the soundtrack, their song “Fantastic Freaks at the Dixie” was sampled Public Enemy on “Bring the Noise.” Grandwizard Theodore and the Fantastic Five also released a 1982 single, “Can I Get a Soul Clap.”
Watch the Fantastic Five in clip from Wild Style below and scroll down to hear “Can I Get a Soul Clap.”