Rock'n'Roll is not least of all a dance with its roots in the somewhat faster Jive. The Jive already has somewhat stronger movement accents on the off-beats (the 1 is a step backward that is immediately reversed so you cannot put weight down at this speed. The off-beats are often sideways direction changes which are much easier to accent than forward/backward reversals).
The Rock'n'Roll doubles down on the Jive by putting an actual kick on the off-beat (cf this video from the 2013 World Dance Sport games Rock'n'Roll finals).
Early Rock'n'Roll performances were largely dancing events, with the kicks being a seminal part of its youth-perverting appeal (it did show off the petticoats).
The percussion went along with the action.
Rhythms are rooted in dancing: even the highly artificial Bach solo partitas for violin (and his orchestra suites) are mostly composed of dances and thus rhythms familiar to the audience.
So the first question to ask yourself with regard to a specific rhythm's history is: was dance a part of its origin? If so, the rhythm section is shaped around it even (or sometimes particularly so) if the dance has become dissociated with the style (take a look at Piazzolla's Tango Nuevo works in concert settings for a newer example).