Travel Back To 1983, The Exact Moment Hip-Hop Was Played On Daytime NYC Radio (Audio)
Thirty-two years ago, Hip-Hop was emerging on a host of record labels large and small. However, while these 12″ singles and pioneering albums may have been party highlights, and closely examined in the clubs, the bedrooms, and the subsequent tapes made, they were not often heard on radio—especially at daytime.
The era would bring light to iconic radio voices and mixers including DJ Mr. Magic (who had been at his 107.5 WBLS post since the late 1970s), DJ Red Alert (on KISS), and in the West Coast, Greg Mack (on KDAY). But it was a Dance mixmaster, Elai Tubo who courageously helped bring Hip-Hop to a prime mid-may mix, on a top New York City radio frequency no less.
Following a vacancy at the lunchtime mix by Sergio Munzabai and John Morales (of the famed “M&M Productions”) due to increased studio/remix obligations, WBLS needed new hands and ears. Audition tapes were solicited from New York City DJ’s and the top six were selected. This submission, shared by and originally created by Elai Tubo, resonates as groundbreaking, as it was the first time a Rap song was mixed in a Dance set for WBLS at the prime afternoon slot.
This WBLS “Lunchtime Mix” includes Mary Jane Girls, The O’Jays, Chaka Khan—all joints that sound incredible and sonically relevant in 2015. However, almost matter of factly, Tubo drops the needle on Kurtis Blow’s “Party Time” and Run-DMC’s “Sucker M.C.’s.” This may not seem like much by today’s standards, however this single act was what it took to legitimize Hip-Hop—showing it belonged alongside Dance and R&B artists (especially in the case of Chaka and Eddie Levert) who had endured through the decades, making undoubtedly substantial art.
The Run-DMC and Kurtis Blow tracks were actually studio-mixed, by Tubo—for his debut radio spot. Both acts’ manager, Russell Simmons, who couldn’t get his artists’ records played, was reportedly “very happy and… also making this a groundbreaking , gutsy blend of R&B, Dance and Hip-Hop music.” Elai’s 30-minute mix sampling was spotted at Grand Good.
Relive the benchmark moment, and consider hearing this in a beauty salon, office, or lunch counter in 1983, during the middle of the workday.