A movie on the life of T La Rock, the first rapper signed to Def Jam, is in the works. T La Rock, born Clarence Ronnie Keaton in New York City and raised in the Bronx, was a highly influential hip-hop artist. His classic track "It's Yours" was sampled on multiple iconic songs including Nas' "The World is Yours" and Public Enemy's "Louder than a Bomb."
The movie will be based on Joshuah Bearman’s recently published GQ article "The Man Who Forgot He Was a Rap Legend." The piece chronicles T La Rock's recovery from a traumatic brain injury he sustained in 1994 after the pioneering rapper tried to break up a fight. T La Rock suffered memory loss due to the beating and found himself in a rehabilitation home, a Jewish care facility in Brooklyn. A large portion of the film will capture T La Rock's time at the facility.
The rights to the movie were picked up by 20th Century Fox. Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam Recordings, will co-produce the film. T La Rock released his single, the aforementioned "It's Yours," through Def Jam back in 1984. It was the very first track released by the then new record label.
In a statement, Simmons wrote, "This is a man who was literally beaten to within an inch of his life at the height of his fame. How he regained his memory and recovered from his coma while being cared for and surrounded by the most unlikely group of therapists and friends is the kind of hope-filled and hopeful true story that will appeal to everyone, whether you love rap music or not."
Simmons also wrote, "T La Rock has always been an inspiration to me and many in the hip hop community."