Sounds Visual Radio
Sounds Visual Radio
Episode 104: A (Brief) History of Rap & Hip-Hop Radio & Culture, Part I of II (New York City) with Kool DJ Red Alert  

Kool DJ Red Alert is widely recognized as one of the founding fathers of hip hop music and culture. He was one of the first deejays to perform with the architects of the Universal Zulu Nation, and when cassette tapes gained popularity in the 1970s, Red Alert was the first disc jockey to record mix compilation albums–which were later known as mixtapes. Kool DJ Red Alert appeared on New York City radio stations such as 98.7 Kiss-FM for over eleven years and worked at Hot 97 for seven years. He built his fame and expanded his name recognition when his fans within the Tri-State area began recording and trading cassette copies of his radio shows.

Red Alert also played a vital role in the so-called hip-hop “Bridge Wars” beginning in 1986. His legend grew immensely after being the first deejay to break the record “South Bronx” by Boogie Down Productions on his KISS-FM weekend radio show, and appeared at club gigs in support of the Bronx-based hip hop group versus MC Shan, Marley Marl, and the Juice Crew. Red Alert has also been noted for breaking in such acts and artists as A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, and Black Sheep. 

He has received numerous awards and accolades including a special award at the first annual Rap Hall of Fame Awards show, the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from IMPACT magazine in 1998 and the 1997 “Mix Show DJ of the Year” award from GAVIN. In addition, DJ Red Alert was named one of the 50 most influential people in music by Rolling Stone magazine. Red Alert is also featured in an exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

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