Hip-Hop Fridays: Jimi Hendrix, Frankie Crocker and Radio - A Conversation With Star
When I wrote "Star, as Frankie Crocker Redux, The Most Important Man in Radio", earlier this year, I don’t think many people fully understood the importance of the analogy that I was supporting. Part of that is perhaps due to the fact that many people across the country were not familiar with Frankie Crocker, the late great DJ and Program Director, who was based in New York City, and quarterbacked the rise of station WLIB-WBLS. Similarly, up until 2004, Star of the Star and Buc Wild show, was exclusively heard in the New York City listening market, at Hot 97, WQHT-FM. Those in the New York area, who listened to radio in the 1960s, 70s, 80s and very early 90s, and today, and saw what I wrote, were familiar with the principals in my analogy, whether they agreed fully or not with my justification for the comparison.
To understand what made Frankie Crocker so important, consider this description of his impact from, "Frankie Crocker Was An Original" at SoulPatrol.com:
Sometime in 1971, everything one formerly knew about Black radio went COMPLETELY out the window with the advent of WLIB-AM--which, after a few months, changed its call letters to WBLS. This is where the "Ace Jock" became "THE LEGEND." He became "Holly-wuddddd!" Frankie, holding down the 4-8 p.m. shift daily, became the "MUST LISTEN" for any Black kid growing up during that time. With the move to 'LIB-FM/'BLS, Frankie (in one fell swoop):
a) expanded the "typical Black radio station playlist," and in doing so;
b) expanded the "ears" of the average Black radio listener;
c) brought a new style of "sophistication" and "urbane cool" to the forefront;
d) increased the profile of a number of Black artists, musicians, and producers; and, in a sense, changed the face of Black Music, as he;
e) played not only the "hits," but album cuts as well--forcing record companies recording Black Music to increase the quality of their product, which;
f) allowed many of these artists to become more experimental and stretch out as artists, as Frankie himself;
g) became THE quintessential program director (PD) that other PDs programming Black radio stations ACROSS THE COUNTRY--AM AND FM STATIONS--took their cues from.
At around this same time, but unfortunately too early to intersect with a Frankie Croker in his prime, another Black man was experiencing a meteoric rise - Jimi Hendrix, a twenty-something year old musician and producer that many call the greatest guitar player, ever. In 1969, in a decision that shocked many, Jimi Hendrix effectively ended the Jimi Hendrix Experience and formed a new band, The Band of Gypsys with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox. The short-lived all-Black band’s impact and success is debated but most observers agree that one of the group’s desires was reaching a broader audience, Black Americans.
A couple of weeks ago I watched the video, Hendrix: Band of Gypsys. It was prior to Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney’s Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Braintrust, "Countering Culture; COINTELPRO Attacks Against Political Musicians." One of the panelists was Alex Constantine, author of, The Covert War Against Rock, an explosive book that charges that Hendrix was under international intelligence agency surveillance (including the FBI in 1969), and his inner circle infiltrated, even to the point where Hendrix manager, Mike Jeffrey, was a British intelligence spy. Mr. Constantine told me some of the peculiarities surrounding the circumstances of the musician’s death, and the explanations for it.
But as striking as that discussion was, I was equally intrigued by a portion of the video I watched wherein a discussion took place regarding Jimi Hendrix’s consciousness, his consistent concern for Black people and his desire to reach them with his music. One portion focused on 1969-1970 and the formation of the The Gypsys and in particular, the soulful collaboration of Hendrix with drummer Buddy Miles.
But there was a problem.
Although Jimi Hendrix had performed in Harlem; played with such soul music notables as Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson among others; and his collaboration with Buddy Miles clearly was reminiscent of that influence and vocally similar to the ‘Black’ music of that day, it could not reach Black people unless it was played on Black radio. And the sound of the music of The Gypsys, it was argued, did not fit the format of that day. Here is an edited transcript of that portion of the video:
Tunde Ra and Taharaqua Aleem- The Ghetto Fighters/Vocalists: "To be able to program Jimi's music to the Black audience, how would that be done?" So we tried to find something that we thought would be programmable. Yeah, programmable to the people, and at first to the program director. And the program director of that day was a gentleman by the name of Frankie Crocker.
Frankie Crocker: "Back at that time...the music we were playing was like Sam (Cooke), Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett. Just all the good R&B people that was coming up. Jimi's music they thought did not fit that type of format. And I wanted to play it but I wasn't running it (the radio station) and they had a formula that they were going for which was Soul music and you really couldn't say that Jimi was Soul music. It wasn't the color of his skin or anything it was the kind of music he was playing. His music was a little more progressive than what was happening there. It was different. It was just another thing and they weren't ready for it."
TT:"So the Band of Gypsys was more leaning (toward Black people) … it was designed to do the job that it did. It was almost like we said, "Now Jimi you need, you need an album that's gonna lend itself to Black people.” And so he constructed it, he designed it, it was designed to actually do that, and not alienate himself from White (people). But only to include Black, and it did that."
The inability of Frankie Crocker to play The Gypsys is as much a problem of the sound not fitting an established format as it is the story of power in radio. In 1969-1970 Frankie Crocker was just not powerful enough to do what he wanted to in the radio business. Perhaps he was only one year shy of the influence necessary to rotate Jimi Hendrix's music on Black radio, as he desired.
Which brings us to Star.
Anyone who has listened to The Star and Buc Wild Show over the last five years, for at least one week, has heard Star program and spin an eclectic list of songs, often in sequence, ranging from Lou Rawls, to Rage Against The Machine, to Hall and Oates, to Poor Righteous Teachers, to Kiss, to Slave to Jimi Hendrix. His tastes and music selection spans the genres and time of his forty-one years of age. Whatever he likes, or the mood or point he is making dictates, he plays. And due to his apparent encyclopedic knowledge of music – Star himself is a bass guitar player – he quite often explains what he plays and why. And because his program is so successful – beating even shock jock Howard Stern in Arbitron ratings – and he does what he does in the confines of a business, his actions and the reasons for his success have ramifications and implications for an entire industry. As a result, many with decision-making power in radio have been paying attention and studying his unique formula of talk and music.
To get greater insight into both Jimi Hendrix and Frankie Crocker; the barriers to their collaboration; what inspires him to play the music he does; and insight into whether or not in today’s Hip-Hop generation, a radio format with both ‘rock’ and ‘soul’ music could be programmed and work, I recently spoke with Star. What follows is a transcript of much of that conversation.
Cedric Muhammad: Star, where does your drive and the relationship with the music you play on The Star and Buc Wild Morning Show come from?
Star: I’ve always been a bully, man, even growing up. And that is not due in a negative sense to me being deprived of anything. My mother and father, in fact, were very supportive of me, from as early as I can remember. My father never even laid a hand on me. He just had a strong verbal command and I respected him. So, being like that at an early age gave me the confidence to explore and to just be assertive when I talk to people.
You have a lot of Negroes and other ethnicities who are scared to look White folks in the face when you talk to them. I’m just the opposite. I demand you look me in my eye when I am talking to you. So coming up like that, I’ve always pushed my agenda first. And that’s what I do within my daily grind, I push my agenda first. I promote Star. Or the brand name Star and Buc Wild. So, the music that I truly love and I need to hear at certain times – it assists my journey and helps me think throughout the show.
Am I arrogant to the point where I can’t accept other music being played? No, not really. Because I am smart enough to know that this is a totally new generation and the heroes of my era – not only do they (this new generation) really not know about them, but they really don’t care. But I do think that they pay attention when I educate them on the musicians who I grew up listening to and really having respect for.
If someone were to talk about Rick James, I would jump in and say, "Well, hang on now, don’t forget Oscar Alston who played bass in the Stone City Band." That is how I would always interject within a conversation. If somebody were talking about Parliament and Funkadelic, I would make sure they mentioned Cordell Monsoon, who played a Rickenbaker bass guitar, or Gary ("Starchild") Scheider, because that is dear to me. But do I feel the need to beat people over the head with what I consider to be a better format? Not necessarily.
There’s times when I just have to be me, to the utmost. And that will consist of throwing on an Iron Maiden record because I have to express myself within what it is that I do. But you know, today’s generation, as I call them - ‘Generation Hate’ - It is an extreme-driven generation and they are of a very contrived mindset. So, a repetitious song, such as a Ludacris record - three to four times within a five hour period, to them is actually the norm. For them to hear a Destiny’s Child song three times within one hour, sadly, that is the norm. But this is also the conditioning process of these major corporations for the benefit of sale, profit and influence. So now, it is almost a Catch-22.
Someone such as Frankie Crocker, was not only a pioneer but a true lover of the culture that he was in the middle of. He could actually be more accepting of the generation of his time because it wasn’t a reckless generation. So I take my hat off to him and his legacy. But you know these days, man, for me to sit here at the age of 41 to fully embrace half of these slick-talking fake killers and wanna’ be pimps – it is hard man, it is really, really hard. So I am fighting not just a corporate battle but also a moral battle within myself, you know? If that makes sense to you.
Cedric Muhammad: Yeah, absolutely. Now specifically on these two men –Jimi Hendrix and Frankie Crocker. You gave me a little bit on Frankie Crocker. What are your thoughts on Jimi Hendrix and Frankie Crocker, and what it would have been like if that connection would have been successful? Because when Jimi formed The Band of Gypsys – an all Black band, it represented a mixture of ‘Rock’ and ‘Soul’ which at that time nobody had done. The problem was, though, that the sound did not fit any of the existing radio formats, at the time.
Star: Well, Jimi, first, was always misunderstood, not only by Caucasians but by Negroes as well. Negroes looked at him like he was some sort of freak, which he really was not. I mean, Jimi Hendrix played with The Isley Brothers. He played with Little Richard. So the music he was playing was indeed Soul music. And when he went to England and put together the Jimi Hendrix Experience with Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding, you know, Jimi was still doing Jimi, but he had these other two cats that were more ‘rocked out’ I guess, in a White sense. So that was the birth of the misconception about who he was. But he was a total musician. And having died at the age of what was it, 27 or 28?
Cedric Muhammad: 27.
Star: That was – wow, man, he was still a baby. He was changing musically everyday. A lot of people don’t know his real history. The fact that he opened up for the Monkees during their whole heyday and he was getting booed and what not – looked upon as a freak. And the images that we see of him today – setting the guitar on fire – that wasn’t like something that he looked forward to doing every night. He was actually trying to get away from "Hey Joe" and "Purple Haze." And that was why he put together Electric Ladyland Studios, so he could do more musically.
So when he put together The Band Of Gypsys with Buddy Miles and Billy Cox, he was just doing what he had always done and playing with the cats that he always played with. If I am not mistaken it was either Buddy Miles or Billy Cox that he was actually in the military with. So these were friends of his. These weren’t some cats that he just got together with and decided, ‘Well, let me play with some Black cats,’ for the sake of not looking like an ‘Uncle Tom’ because the Vietnam War was going on. No, these were his friends. So when they laid down the album that they did, we really only caught a small portion of that whole concert within itself. You know what I’m sayin’? I mean that was an incredible jam session.
I don’t know if you have or have not – I’m not going to assume that you haven’t but if you can get some of the unedited tapes of that night, those dudes jammed for hours. These were friends.
Cedric Muhammad: They would walk out of the studio staggering.
Star: Yeah (laughter). But this was just Jimi doing Jimi. His legacy is what it is but his talent always shines through over any controversy about him. His pure talent just shined through.
Cedric Muhammad: What do you think of that music being merged with an "Urban" format? We all know rock has soul roots, but what was discussed in this video, was that they (The Band Of Gypsys) wanted Black people to hear what they were doing, and they knew they had to sell Frankie Crocker on that music. Frankie wanted to play it but he didn’t have the power and influence at that time.
Star: Right, right, right.
Cedric Muhammad: And I was trying to make an analogy to today. You play what you play because that is who you are. But as a business model and as a radio format, do you think it is potentially viable?
Star: Well, here’s the thing, now. It gets very complicated because when you talk about what the ‘expectations’ of corporate radio are – whether it be corporate Clear Channel, corporate Emmis or corporate Infinity – you can not get around the Arbitron rating system. That system is pre-historic. That system is not up to date. That system, people spend millions of dollars on. And I mean millions. There is an article that came out a couple of months back where Clear Channel’s CEO, John Hogan did not like some of the ratings that were given by the Arbitron system (See Forbes Magazine, "A Seismic Shift In Rating Radio," August 17, 2005). Now I am sure you know how that whole system works. The major channels – Clear Channel, Emmis and Infinity all pay money to the Arbitron ratings system. And last year, Infinity was bucking and decided to pull out of the system (See Infinity Broadcasting Press Release, "Infinity Broadcasting Elects Not To Renew Agreement With Arbitron", June 24, 2004) .Are you familiar with that?
Cedric Muhammad: Only a little bit.
Star: Well, Infinity did not want to be rated by Arbitron anymore, although that was hurting them in a sense. The system is prehistoric. They send diaries to people’s homes. The diaries are forms that you actually take the time to fill out and then mail back in. It is not an electronic rating system. It is nowhere in comparison as high-tech as the Nielson system which is predominately based out of the Midwest. The Midwestern television habits are considered to be much more accurate than urban cities. I don’t know if you have ever seen a Nielson box but I never saw one until I went out to the Midwest. People’s viewing habits in the city are just too scattered. People in the Midwest actually sit down and watch a television show for an extended period of time and watch it on a consistent basis. The radio rating system is nothing like that.
The radio ratings system is a dinosaur and it is all based upon the people who take the time to fill out these diaries and send them in. I will get you a couple of diaries. It is so bullshit dawg. It is so bullshit. But this is the game. And it will remain the game that is played, until somebody actually puts the new technology in motion.
Now, if you have a bad ‘sample’ from a market; if you think about the fact that most minorities don’t want to be on the grid; you have to ask the question of just how accurate can these ratings be? And who is fudging the numbers? And the biggest of all factors, you have to consider is that Arbitron collects millions of dollars to conduct this research. It is all bogus, man.
Put it like this, driving in a car these days they can detect what is being played on a station – when you look at that little radio it will tell you the artist, whether it is a rock station, an urban adult contemporary station – that should be enough to tell anybody that the technology does exist to accurately track these radio stations and the signals, to get an accurate read of what show or what station has really got it on smash.
But now, to get back to the question you asked – think about that rating system and the fact that playing different types of music would go against that contrived system. And when you have people that do the consensus and these tallies and say, ‘Well you know, that Star, he is not sticking to the format. He is not playing the Destiny's Childs or the Mariah Careys in the morning. He is playing Bon Jovi. He is playing Kiss. He may have the bigger listening audience but he is not sticking to the format. We can’t have him outshining our multi-billion dollar business. Therefore we actually cannot give him the number two or number one position. We have to give him the number three.’ I mean this is how deep it is, dawg. This is how deep it is.
So if you notice during my show in New York, you hear more of the contrived music in the morning. And I actually say, ‘OK, you know what, I’ll work with you on this.’ This is actually what I have said to Clear Channel, because their hands are tied behind their backs. If they don’t go with the flow they will lose their jobs. Now, my current contract is one that is guaranteed money. There is nothing in my contract about bonuses or anything like that – (incentives or conditional compensation) if I am ranked in the top three in the 18-34 age category, of the Arbitron numbers.
Hot 97 tried to give me a contract like that and I said, ‘Go f—-k yourselves.’ So Clear Channel has to pay me regardless. If that morning show goes down to number nine, they have to pay me. So knowing this, I have decided not to just piss in their faces, but to in fact let them have their way for a little while. This is why for the most part I will let them play the songs they want to play, or I will have Miguel (Miguel Candelaria, Executive Producer of The Star and Buc Wild Morning Show) play them. But when I have one of my moments I’ll play the Ohio Players or whoever I feel like playing. But it is a very complicated game because you have people who don’t have secure contracts, just like any other corporate game. People have to play by the rules.
Cedric Muhammad: So how do you make it work?
Star: What I try to do is not be perceived as an overgrown adolescent. I’d rather somebody hate my guts than to see me as a 41-year old man ‘cooning and bufooning’ and lying to them about the music that is played on the radio. I’ll let a record be played because I know that it is in demand, even though I don’t condone it. I’ll play it and I’ll verbally address it right after it is played. So, that is just who I am. And that is not for any shock value. That is just who I am – my consciousness and state of mind, at the age that I am. Not to sound redundant, but of course I want to hear what motivates me in the morning or what I remember.
And here is something else.
A lot of times I am telling stories in the morning and the music assists me with my explanations. So these songs and bands that I recall help me describe a story in the morning a lot of times.
But as I said, I cannot be the total bully that I used to be growing up and that was the point of making the reference and correlation to me growing up, at first. I cannot be that extreme bully that I was. I have to allow some form of give and take, because today’s generation, sadly, they don’t understand too much other than the rough, rugged and raw approach. And I don’t want to beat them over the head and challenge them all the time. I do have to try and find a medium. I have to allow them to figure out things for themselves. And not only that, I have to find within myself, a comfortable silence.
Just like on today’s show, I was playing Mase’s new song. Here is a man of the cloth, and by some people’s standards he would be considered a hypocrite but I’m not going to sit there and bash him, when these kids – some of them – might not even care what he is saying. They just might like the beat and the flow. But I’m not going to play it and not mention the fact that he is spitting all of these n-words out of his mouth and talking real subversive, slick, street-talk. I mean there are a lot of subliminal threats there. So I have to try to very slowly ration the logic to these young people so that they can say, ‘Ok, wow, I didn’t look at it from that perspective.’ You feel me?
Cedric Muhammad: Yeah.
Star: So a lot of times I will let these records go by, but I will question the integrity of these songs. I will question a lot of these songs like Destiny Child’s ‘Soldier’ – which is nothing more than an updated version of Mc Lyte’s ‘Ruffneck’. Why is she (Beyonce) talking about I need a ‘soldier’ – some type of ignoramus, institutionalized knucklehead – when in fact she is dating someone who is so far from that, in real life?
So, that is the logic or the reasoning that I give.
Even if I play some of this music that they want. And oh, do they want it, god damn it (laughter)! I can sit there sometimes man, and I can damn near give a sermon of hate for an hour and a half. But then I will throw out the question of – who is better Rakim or The Game? And I will get three times as many e-mails in response to that as opposed to anything regarding the Copernican Revolution. You know what I’m saying?
Cedric Muhammad: Now Star, you came upon this honestly, it is your personality and it forms so much of the ‘spirit’ of your show. But do you think (this diverse taste in music) is a viable radio format and business model?
Star: Hell yeah, it is viable. Hell yeah. But wherever I go they are going to have to accept who I am as an individual. And when that day is no longer a reality, for me, I simply bow out.
In a sense it is a relief to me not to have to be so aggressive with my programming of the music, because I have a lot of affiliates now. So I am more concerned with promoting myself – Star - as an individual, as opposed to doing what some would consider a ‘classic throwback.’ I want people to know who I am. So, I really, really, have to be on point now. I have to be on top of my game. I have to have a choice of twenty topics to choose from, when I open up my laptop in the morning because I am talking to people in different states now.
So the focus is more me, it is not the music. I am still the same cat and my agenda is still the same in terms of the music but, in a certain sense it is almost a relief to let each individual market play a song which they feel defines their market.
What they are getting is rational hate from me, and I don’t mean reckless banter when I say, ‘hate.’ I mean objective reasoning or perspectives.
Cedric Muhammad: What you are doing, even though you may have one intention and it is genuine; as well as a need to establish your personality, over the music, as your show successfully grows into more markets across the country; my overriding perception is that what you are doing may be hinting at a viable new format for radio.
Star: Oh yes, absolutely! Now they have a format called ‘Jack.’ Have you heard of this?
Cedric Muhammad: No, I haven’t.
Star: Jack is an actual format that if you listen to the old station where Mickey Dolan was just fired -WCBS-FM, in New York – you can hear it. But when I was sitting on Hot 97 playing one freestyle record, one heavy metal record and then one rap record, people were listening. And they were listening in awe, and watching the ratings, in awe. And this is why Power 105.1 couldn’t gain any ground on me in the mornings. Because of the fact that the format I was playing was real – really needed (laughter). You know what I’m saying?
Cedric Muhammad: Yeah and I used to remember, Hot 97 used to play the call letters over the songs.
Star: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly. Because they were concerned about…
Cedric Muhammad:…losing the listener, right?
Star:…well, jeopardizing the conditioning process they had bestowed upon the market place for so long.
Cedric Muhammad: I thought it was kind of hot! But I knew why they were doing it.
Star:…(laughter) yeah. Well, I actually recommended that (technique) to them. And Miguel and I put together that drop and that’s why you would hear, Judas Priest, "Breaking The Law," and then you would hear ‘Hot 97 (WQHT).’ So it actually worked and they would say, ‘Well we don’t get it, we can’t figure him out, but just let him do his thing.’ But no, it is definitely a format that I think could and will take off.
If you look at the radio programming in England - I have never heard a radio show from England, but I understand they do something very similar to that – they play different types of music and it is not as contrived as it is here in the States.
But just to prove my point – when 102.7 changed formats, they started playing one Hip-Hop song, and then they would play a Christina Aguilera song, then they would play a TLC song, then they would play some sort of Hip-Hop song and people were saying by way of e-mail and phone comments to me, ‘Wow, man, these people at 102.7 are trying to make a run on your format that you started at Hot 97.’ And in a sense I was flattered but at the same time I would say that I didn’t see it picking up speed because the people they had in the morning, I think were J. Lo’s sister and someone else, but they just had nothing to say in regards to why they were jumping like that (in and out of various genres of music on their playlist.)
See, here is where I give myself credit. Call it patting myself on the back or whatever.
To be able to jump around format-wise, like that, you have to know the music and be somewhat aware of the different cultures. You can’t just sit there and think you are going to play a Lynyrd Skynyrd record, and then all of a sudden jump into a Memphis Bleek record. You have to justify just why you are doing it. You can’t go from Hilary Duff to G-Unit without saying, ‘ok, here is the parallel.’ Otherwise, you will be viewed as a fraud and somebody who is just trying to benefit.
Cedric Muhammad: The talent is just as important as the playlist.
Star: Absolutely. And you see this is why the phenomenal success of someone like Frankie Crocker was so poignant, not only during his time but for years to come. Because Frankie Crocker, and I will even say, people like myself – we don’t come along that often, where we are so outspoken and we are able to relay our love for diverse music as we do. We are almost looked upon as charlatans to a certain extent, you know.
Some of the people at Clear Channel didn’t really understand why I did some of the things that I did at Hot 97 while I was there. But what they knew was that I was winning in the ratings, so they said, ‘Well god damn it hire him. We don’t get it but hire him.’ (laughter.)
So the next time you listen to an "Urban Adult Contemporary" radio staion, or one programmed according to "Classic Rock" or "Alternative" or "Top 40" formats, think about Jimi Hendrix and Frankie Crocker, and the possibility that had they connected, perhaps only a year after it had been hoped for, radio might be nothing like the stratified universe we have today.
And, the next time you listen to a "Jack" formatted station, or see the format successful, focus on the man known as "The Hater", and the possibility that, yet, again, we, collectively might have been too slow in capitalizing on a possible synthesis of genres and a synergistic music format that more naturally reflects and satisfies our moods and tastes. If that happens, we won't be able to blame Star. He has done his part. As I explained in The Genius Of Star and Buc Wild (January 14, 2005):
At 40-years of age, Star is an authentic voice for legions who grew up and lived in the 70s, 80s, and 90s witnessing the entire birth of Hip-Hop culture, and its evolution. People who have outgrown much of today’s Hip-Hop music but not Hip-Hop culture. He represents an untold number of similar people who grew up listening to the radio when there was no "Hip-Hop", "Today’s R&B", or "Classic Soul" formats and barely the presence of "Urban Contemporary" stations. Thus, every Friday, and just about whenever he feels like it, Star will decide to mix in along with today’s best-selling records a blend of the 70s’ era Ohio Players, Led Zeppelin, Chic, KISS, and Sly and The Family Stone; the 80s' - Prince, Culture Club, Rush, S.O.S. Band, and Stevie Wonder; and the 90s’ - H-Town, Rage Against The Machine, Keith Sweat and Jodeci. In the process of playing these records and spouting encyclopedic knowledge about band members and music industry history, Star reminisces – like we all do or would – about child hood memories and relationships. He also weaves in a bit of social commentary regarding the times in which the music he was playing was made. How many 30 and 40-something old Hip-Hop fans feel this comfortable admitting the fact that along with getting a whiff of the Treachorous Three, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, Kurtis Blow and Run D.M.C., they were listening to Iron Maiden, Hall and Oates and Pink Floyd and wearing tight jeans, leather jackets and patent leather sneakers?
I discussed this factor a few weeks ago with DJ Kam "The Ghetto Celeb # 1" and we both agreed that what is missing in radio today is a format that captures the crowd of listeners who grew up on Hip-Hop but who are as comfortable hearing some of the latest Hip-Hop as they are listening to Stephanie Mills, Stacy Lattisaw, and Rakim. Some have tried, but they failed to be faithful to such a format, because they did not program the music properly and did not surround it with radio personalities that could credibly speak to this special era. Star represents someone who can speak with candor and humor from experience, but who knows the language of the youth of today. He's built to bridge the age gap in the Hip-Hop generation.
In being 40 and not ashamed of it, Star adds context for his perspective, emboldens and appeals to many of his listeners who remember when Carter and Reagan were in office, and in the process enlightens many of today’s Hip-Hop fans who barely remember the Million Man March, much less the life and times in which Hip-Hop emerged.
If only we were all as honest as Star, Jimi and Frankie.
Friday, October 14, 2005