New York Hip Hop Radio Wars
From 1861 to 1865 America was engaged in a Civil War between the North and the South. In the presidential election of 1860 Abraham Lincoln campaigned against the expansion of slavery beyond current slave states. In response southern slave states seceded from the United States and formed the Confederacy. The remaining 25 states supported Lincoln and formed the Union. The confederacy, led by General Robert E. Lee, and the Union, led by Ulysses S. Grant, fought for about 4 years before the Confederacy surrendered and slavery was abolished by President Lincoln in the United States.
As we hop in our Delorean and fast-forward to 2012, New York hip-hop radio is engaged in its own Civil War. On one side is Hot 97 FM and on the other is Power 105 FM. The fight started about two weeks ago when Power 105’s Morning Show commented on the controversy involving Nicki Minaj at Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert. DJ Envy, Angela Yee & Charlemagne of Power’s morning show declared Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex their “Donkey of the Day” for reacting to Minaj’s absence at Summer Jam.The next day Flex did what Flex does. He hit the airwaves at 7 PM and unleashed one of his famous rants that any normal person would need a cough drop to complete. Flex’s retaliation to Power’s morning show was long, loud and lasted for about a week while Power took shots at Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg and his morning show mates.
The war between Power 105 and Hot 97 is not a fight that will determine the fate of a young burgeoning country, but instead a fight between an old bitter neighbor that hates the loud rock and roll his next-door neighbor blasts from his bedroom. Hot 97 has run New York hip hop radio since the late 80s and did not have an ounce of competition until Power was born in 2002.
It seems as if the tension between the two stations began immediately. Hot 97 employees who pursued opportunities were instantly alienated and seen as the enemy. In any New York business or venue competition trumps everything else. The genuine feeling of pride for your peer’s success does not exist. Disdain and envy usually follow the promotion or departure of someone you once worked closely with. The ironic thing about this occurring between two New York hip-hop stations is that New York is the birthplace of a genre that has progressed rapidly since the Sugar Hill Gang first performed Rappers Delight. And while hip hop has its roots in trying to one up your opponent in the most clever way possible, these are DJs. Disk jockeys and radio talk show hosts are beefing over… I will let you know when I figure it out.
Like the Civil War, each side of this radio war is fighting for themselves and not the greater good. They each share the blame equally and should both just take a step back and do what they do best. Keep New York City dancing and rapping along to their favorite hits, instead of arguing back and forth like Basketball Wives.