Excerpt from an interview with KK Rockwell of the Funky 4 Plus One More posted at True Hip Hop Memoirs. He says the Funky 4 Plus One more are pioneers but he himself is a settler because he didn’t pioneer anything. Link, (via Old School Hip Hop message board)

Pioneer by definition means first, founder, trailblazer, and if you can’t say that after your name guess what, you’re not a pioneer. Some will say that as long as you were there participating, you’re a pioneer. Okay then that makes The Devastating Three MCs, Bee Stinger, The Serious Five MCs, Grandmaster Sunshine & The Jazzy Four MCs, and MC Ladie Lil Lee pioneers too (yes these are all real people on early flyers that participated). Now, Kool Herc is a pioneer. Grandmaster Flash is an innovator and pioneer; his gift to the game didn’t exist before he put it down. Grandwizzard Theodore is an “innovator,” because he built on what Flash had already pioneered. However, Theodore is also the “pioneer” of certain DJ techniques that come directly from him. In some cases you’ll find individuals that are not just pioneers, but are innovators as well. There are pioneering groups based on being first and the things they introduced to the game, but it doesn’t make the members instant pioneers. Many will be hurt and angry with these words, but the majority of the cats in our era were truthfully settlers. Settler doesn’t sound as prestigious as pioneer so I understand if the term is rejected. It’s simply a matter of connotation over denotation. Settlers are people who ride alongside pioneers participating in what has been created or founded. DJ Hollywood is a pioneer of the DJ/Emcee style of entertainment; Lovebug Starski is an innovator and pioneer. Mele Mel is an innovator and pioneer of the B-Boy Emcee rhyme; Kool Moe Dee is an innovator and pioneered a new style of rhyme. The Funky Four was a pioneering group, but I personally didn’t pioneer anything. The only trailblazer in the Funky was Sha-Rock, there was no female before her. I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but all you have to do is ask yourself, what exactly did I pioneer? Being a part of the time with no originating, innovating, or pioneering contribution makes you nothing more than a settler to me. This is not to be confused with a fan, because being a supporter of the game was the view that came directly from behind the rope.

There’s nothing wrong with being a settler, or a legend, it has its value but as I said earlier we were a generation lacking esteem. Being a part of something as world-changing as what they call Hip Hop gives our life purpose, and proves that were more than just a bunch of impoverished nobodies. Knowing this makes it hard for most of us to fall in the proper history line.