R.I.P. D.J.Ronnie Green aka captain Rock
Updated: May 29
By JayQuan 5/16/21
Ronnie Green wore many hats in his short but powerful and influential tenure in the world of Hip Hop. Before recorded rap he replaced D.J. Louie Lou as the D.J. for Andre Harell and Alonzo Brown who would later go by the monikers of Harlem World Crew as well as Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde. Not many outside of the boroughs of New York City were fortunate enough to witness D.J. Ronnie Green and The Harlem World Crew in action.
It was through his records as spaceman Captain Rock that Ronnie Green captured the ears of fans in the U.S. and abroad. Releasing records on the NIA label owned by The Fantastic Aleems Captain Rock had a strong 4 year run in the drum machine era of rap. Debuting in 1982 with the Cosmic Glide (a song about a "space dance") Ronnie Green would join the ranks of Sun Ra, George Clinton and Cozmo D as "Afronauts" - Black musicians who claim an interplanetary back story with outer space origins.
Although it was released only a year later The Return of Captain Rock was light years (pun intended) above the Funk influenced Cosmic Glide. There is even an interpolation of the Star Trek "final frontier" theme stating that "these are the voyages of Captain Rock". Released the same year as Sucker Mcs/It's Like That by Run - D.M.C. Return sounded a lot more in line with the drum machine heavy songs that were starting to exist in the genre. In addition to grabbing the ears of American B Boys and rap fans Return captured the imaginations of fans in the U.K. largely due to its inclusion on the Street Sounds Electro Volume 1 compilation (a series of compilations that contained songs by mostly American Hip Hop and Dance music artists pre mixed and therefore boom box ready). Attendees of the U.K. Fresh Festival will recall Green stripping down to his underwear onstage in the mid 1980s.
Captain Rock To The Future Shock in 1984 would improve upon Return adding more futuristic and space elements such as vocoder and a tempo that put him in the same space as The Soul Sonic Force, The Jonzun Crew and other Electro Rap acts. The mix and engineering credits of Future Shock contain the names Marley Marl and M2 (Mr. Magic) and those names would re appear on later Captain Rock releases.
A quick glance at the writing credits on Green's recordings up until this point will reveal that Andre Harell & Alonzo Brown (Jeckyll & Hyde) wrote all of the Captain Rock songs but in 2001 Ronnie Green told JayQuan of The Foundation that he wrote his next song in front of his projects over the course of 2 days. Cosmic Blast was not only the best selling Captain Rock record , it was by far his best received. With incredible cutting and scratching by D.J. Daryll D and equally mesmerizing beat boxing by Richie Rich, Cosmic Blast bangs from intro to outro. Even the bonus beats and dub versions of Cosmic Blast are incredible.
Released in 1986 House of Rock/You Stink didn't do well commercially or critically, but later that year Bongo Beats received a small buzz due to the L.L. Cool J like rhyme style and modern day production used on the record. Throughout the late 1990s and 2000's Captain Rock played spot dates in the U.S. and toured the U.K. quite a bit. His social media presence was absent for the better part of the last decade or more but his music will last forever. Rock on.