Black Music Month: 10 DJs That Helped Define Hip-Hop


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All month long we’re celebrating Black Music Month here at BAW, and what would music be without the disc jockey to guide us through the beats?

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DJs play an important role in the music industry, particularly when it comes to hip-hop culture. It’s actually considered one of the pillars of Hip-Hop, placed right next to emceeing, graffiti and B-boying, so it goes without saying that much respect goes to the DJ. That’s why we figured this month would be the perfect time to pay tribute to the hip-hop disc jockeys that helped define the genre overall.

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Keep scrolling for Black America Web’s official homage to 10 DJs that pioneered the rap game to what it is today. From the two Kools to Flex, Clue to Capri, we give each of these mixmasters the flowers they deserve for Black Music Month:

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1. DJ Kool Herc

The pioneer! The art of DJing wouldn’t be what it is without DJ Kool Herc. Peep this mix he did for Tim Westwood in the late ’90s to see what we mean.

2. Kool DJ Red Alert

As yet another founding father of DJing, Red Alert helped bring the iconic 98.7 Kiss FM to prominence while also breaking rap legends like A Tribe Called Quest and Queen Latifah just to name a few. You can still catch him on urban radio spinning through the evening hours!

3. DJ Clue

The market of mixtapes wouldn’t be nearly as profitable if not for the early days of those DJ Clue tapes. 

4. DJ Kid Capri

Whether he was spinning for Def Comedy Jam or on tour with music icons like Aaliyah during the 1997 Budweiser Superfest, Kid Capri always brought the heat. Besides, how many people can say they were in popular demand at the iconic NYC dance venue Studio 54? Capri can!

5. Funkmaster Flex

HOT97 made him a legend, but The Mix Tape series is where Funkmaster Flex really was able to prove his dominance in the game. Also, those Sunday nights at The Tunnel will always be legendary. 

6. Jam Master Jay

We lost this mixmaster almost 20 years ago, but not a day goes by that we’re not appreciative of the foundational work he laid down alongside Run DMC. R.I.P forever, Jam Master Jay.

7. DJ Screw

Putting on for the South, Houston to be exact, DJ Screw did wonders for what we now know as the iconic subgenre of chopped and screwed music. We just wish he was still here to see how big his influence was able to spread.

8. Spinderella

Representing for the ladies, Spinderella definitely proved that DJing isn’t just a man’s sport. Let’s just pray her situation with the other two ladies of Salt-N-Pepa can become amicable at best for the sake of culture!

9. DJ Jazzy Jeff

He won the first rap GRAMMY alongside Will Smith — do we need to say more?! Even his seamless transition into a comedic actor on The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air further proved his legend status as a well-rounded DJ.

10. DJ Premier

It ain’t hard to tell — Nas would agree! — that DJ Premier is one of the greatest disc jockeys of all time. His days with Gang Starr proved his king status as a producer, and his work with pop queen Christina Aguilera showed that his expertise couldn’t be contained to one genre. Premiere quality, indeed!



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