EXPIRED: 10/02/09- Mr. Magic, 53, singlehandedly brought rap to the radio. He was persistent, helping unknown rappers hit the big time.
Born John Rivas, Mr. Magic was the first host on commercial radio to devote a program exclusively to rap. His show, “Rap Attack,” hit the airwaves on New York’s FM dial on WBLS-FM in 1983 just when disco was dying out. Rap was the new sound of the street and Mr. Magic prowled the housing projects looking for talent to showcase.
Many radio stations and music labels were wary of the violence and aggressiveness of the language so up and coming stars had few places to turn. Because of this Mr. Magic had access to a wide array of new artists like Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne and Kool G Rap.
But once hip-hop became mainstream, and big labels realized there was money to be made, Mr. Magic wasn’t needed and he was out of a job.