T La Rock

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T La Rock
Birth name Clarence Ronnie Keaton
Also known as The Lyrical King
Born (1961-09-16) September 16, 1961 (age 56)
Origin Bronx, New York, U.S.
Genres Old school hip hop
Occupation(s) Rapper, recording artist
Instruments Microphone
Years active 1984–1989, 2008–present
Labels Def Jam/Partytime/Streetwise Records
Fresh/Sleeping Bag Records
Virgin/EMI Records (Europe)
Associated acts Kurtis Mantronik
Nice & Smooth
L.L. Cool J
Todd Terry

Clarence "Terry" Ronnie Keaton (born September 16, 1961), known by the stage name T La Rock, is an American old-school emcee 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.


Early years[edit]

T La Rock was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx borough of New York City.[1] A former break dancer, he is the older brother of fellow old-school MC Special K of the Treacherous Three.[1] T La Rock stands 6'4" tall.[2] T La Rock has been a part of hip hop since its birth, having been a DJ, a break dancer, and emcee since the 1970s.

Hip-hop career[edit]

In 1984, Rick Rubin released "It's Yours" 12-inch single (Cat. PT-104/DJ000), 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.[3] The recording was never part of Def Jam’s collection of master recordings.[1] For its 30th anniversary, however, the track was licensed back to Def Jam/Universal, which pressed it on 180-gram vinyl.

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:

The influence of T La Rock's "It's Yours" is monumental. 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,[4] an album also produced by Rick Rubin and released on Def Jam Recordings. On the Sirius XM show "Sway In The Morning," Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys pointed out that he can be heard on the backing vocals of "It's Yours."[5]

Wu-Tang Clan did not sample T La Rock in the track "It's Yourz" on its classic album Wu-Tang Forever, but the chorus of that song clearly emulated him. Southern emcee 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 and DJ Louie Lou (La Rock's original DJ) Kurtis Mantronik also produced two songs on the album ("Back to Burn" and "This Beat Kicks"), while Todd Terry produced On a Warpath(Note) The title song "On a Warpath" was produced by DJ Hollywood from Centerfold Productions. The On A Warpath.[6]

1994 injury and recovery[edit]

In 1994, T La Rock suffered a traumatic brain injury while breaking up a fight in front of his brother's Bronx apartment building.[2] 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.[2]

After recovering, T La Rock began work on a film project about his life written by Antwone Fisher. Casting director/ Producer Bonnie Timmermann . 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.[citation needed]



Album information
Lyrical King (From the Boogie Down Bronx)
  • Released: 1987
  • Chart positions: #64 Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums
  • RIAA certification:
  • Singles: "Tudy Fruity Judy," "It's Time to Chill," "Back to Burn," "Big Beat in London" (UK only)
On a Warpath

The Lost Tapes (2000)


  1. ^ a b c JayQuan (2001-09-23). "T La Rock Interview". Magnetic Soundworx/JayQuan.com. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Radomsky, Rosalie R. (1996-10-13). "T La Rock and His New Posse". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 
  3. ^ Guerasava, Stacy (2005). Def Jam Inc.: Russell Simmons, Rick Rubin, and the Extraordinary Story of the World's Most Influential Hip-Hop Label. One World. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-345-46804-8. 
  4. ^ Ettelson, Robbie; Insanul Ahmed (July 23, 2015). "The 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Beats of All Time". Complex. Retrieved 11 August 2018.  More than one of |author1= and |last1= specified (help)
  5. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23ZlUOeiCqo
  6. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Allmusic Biography - T La Rock". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 2007-01-20. 

External links[edit]