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That’s My DJ: Celebrating National DJ Day

Today is the day for the world to celebrate their favorite disc jockey, professional and amateur. It’s National DJ Day, and SwagHer Magazine wants to salute some of the most influential DJs in Hip Hop History. But before we do that, let’s tip our hats to Alan Freed, also known as Moondog, the inspiration behind this holiday. According to Nationaltoday.com, Moondog was a 1950’s American DJ who coined the term ‘rock n roll’ and helped spread the importance of rock n roll music across North America. 

Now for Hip Hop, we can credit DJ Kool Herc. The story goes, The “breakbeat” DJ style was first popularized by DJ Kool Herc. He would play two versions of the same record on two turntables and alternate between them to stretch the break. According to several Hip Hop music websites, this DJing method was dubbed “The Merry-Go-Round” by Kool Herc, a style that influenced the development of Hip Hop music. 

DJ Kool Herc wasn’t alone. Alongside Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa, they were the Holy Trinity. Afrika formed the Zulu Nation, promoting rap, breakdancing, and DJing to the youth as well as visual arts. Grandmaster Flash is the first DJ to rotate clockwise, counterclockwise, or reverse records.

The Holy Trinitiy

These men paved the way for all the DJs that came after. Here is a list of DJs that kept Hip Hop heads bobbing throughout the years. 

Jam Master Jay

Jam Master Jay

Jason William Mizell, a Brooklyn native, was the DJ for the well-known Hip-Hop group Run-DMC. He volunteered to DJ for Joseph “Run” Simmons and Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels in 1982, just after they had graduated from high school, since he wanted to be a part of the group. Run-DMC became one of the biggest hip-hop groups in the 1980s and is credited with introducing hip-hop into the mainstream. Some popular songs by Run D.M.C. are “It’s like that,” “Walk this way,” and “My Adidas.” On October 30, 2002, the world shook when news outlets across the globe reported that Jam Master Jay had been murdered inside a studio in New York. His influence on Hip Hop is eternal, and we miss him dearly. 

DJ Jazzy Jeff

DJ Jazzy Jeff

Born in Philadelphia, Jeffrey Allen Townes is ½ of the duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince with Will Smith and is credited with making ‘transformer scratch’ famous (google to learn more about this term). He started studying the turntables as young as ten years old. He would eventually win Grammy awards for the songs “Parents just don’t understand” and the duo’s most successful single, “Summertime.” This iconic DJ became a well-known R&B, soul, and Neo-soul record producer when he split from Will Smith, founding the A Touch of Jazz production company in his hometown of Philadelphia. Eric Roberson, Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild, Eminem, the Roots, Raheem DeVaughn, Darius Rucker, Talib Kweli, Floetry, Rhymefest, and many others are among the musicians that Jazzy Jeff has aided in developing. DJ Jazzy Jeff is timeless.

DJ Spinderella

DJ Spinderella

Deidra Muriel Roper is best known as a member of the hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa. Raised in Brooklyn, she began DJing at the age of fourteen. Spinderella was brought into the group when the original DJ kept missing rehearsals. The group rose to fame as one of the most popular female hip-hop groups ever. Some of their biggest hits are “Whatta man,” “Shoop,” “Push it,” “Let’s talk about sex,” and “None of your business .” Spinderella is credited for producing many songs on several studio albums. In January 2019, Spinderella was released from the group. Despite their unfortunate breakup, there will never be another Spinderella. 

Kid Capri

Kid Capri

Born David Anthony Love Jr. in Bronx, New York, he was another DJ that started scratching records at the tender age of ten—known as The Guru of Mixtapes and a star of the well-liked HBO series Russell Simmons Def Comedy Jam. Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z, Madonna, Heavy D (R.I.P.), and 50 Cent are just a few artists who rocked with Kid Capri. He also toured with giants like Diddy, Jay Z, Aaliyah (R.I.P.), Salt-N-Peppa, and Timbaland. One of his most significant accomplishments was winning a Grammy for a song on Jay-Z’s Hard Knock Life album. What a legend! 

Funkmaster Flex

Funkmaster Flex

Aston Taylor Jr. started DJing at the age of sixteen. Another Bronx native, he became the host of the first Hip-Hop radio show on Hot 97 in New York, a pop radio station at the time. Due to the success of that programming, in the spring of 1992, Funkmaster Flex began mixing and hosting his show, a specialized rap program on Hot 97. With this, Hot 97 became the first pop station in New York to showcase rap. Flex released four mixtapes entitled 60 Minutes of Funk in the mid-90s that were all certified gold. He has worked with other legends such as Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Eminem, LL Cool J,  Method Man, DMX (R.I.P), Nas, and Snoop Dogg. His influence in Hip Hop will never go unnoticed. 

DJ Clue

DJ Clue

Ernesto Shaw was born in Queens, New York. DJ Clue is known for some of the hottest remixes such as “Heartbreaker” (Remix) (featuring Da Brat & Missy Elliott)-  Mariah Carey (1999), “Thank God I Found You, /Make It Last Forever” (Remix) (featuring Joe & Nas) – Mariah Carey (1999), “We Belong Together” (Remix) (featuring Styles P. and Jadakiss) – Mariah Carey (2005), “Shake It Off” (Remix) (featuring Jay-Z and Young Jeezy) – Mariah Carey (2005). Clue’s most remarkable work may be his Backstage Mixtape: the soundtrack to a 2000 documentary. Backstage featured many heavy hitters like Jay-Z, Ja Rule, Memphis Bleek, Big Tymers, Cam’Ron, Capone-N-Noreaga, Christión, Da Brat, Eve, Fabolous, Hot Boys, Juelz Santana, Killer Mike, Lil’ Cease, Mýa, Outkast, Prodigy, Redman, T-Boz and The Lox. He is also known for announcing his name repeatedly over his tracks, a habit that other disc jockey’s like DJ Khaled have adopted. If there’s one thing DJ Clue could do, it was get the party started. 

DJ Kay Slay

DJ Kay Slay

Keith Grayson, Known as DJ Kay Slay, aka the “Drama King,” was from East Harlem, New York. Kay Slay confessed that DJing was just a hobby; he didn’t expect much from it. Kay Slay had music featured on NFL video games, and he somehow got Fat Joe and 50 Cent to do a track with him, considering they weren’t fond of each other. His Streetsweeper series held his highest charting singles and created beef between him and Nas (google for details). The music industry took a hit when Kay Slay passed away from Covid-19 on April 17, 2022. May he R.I.P. He will be forever missed. 

Who is your favorite DJ? Drop their name in the comments. 

 

Article Written by: Obsession | is a romance and erotica author, blogger, photographer, and artist from Chicago, IL.

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