After watching the sale of Rice University’s college radio property KTRU be sold to neighbouring University of Houston, spelling the impending death of the college radio show that gave me my first opportunity to participate in this thing we call hip hop music in a capacity greater than simply telling my friends that what they listened to was wack, I think it’s important that people voice their opinion when it comes to the importance og independent radio; especially when it comes to independent Hip Hop radio.
If you’ve been coming to this site for for any amount of time, you know I’ll always be a ‘backpacker’ at heart. Not because I hate money, but because I love Hip Hop music and what i feel is it at its most purely inspired and creative, not necessarily at its shiniest, most flossy and financially motivated. When independent Hip Hop outlets whither and die off like they have been (whether they be legendary stores like Fatbeats, or once upon a time artists that pretended to stand for something other than lining their pockets or being accepted by all the rich, mainstream artists they used to rail against), and I am clearly stating the obvious here, that’s less places for you to get the hip hop we like to listen to, as the lines of what encompass this genre get blurrier and blurrier as some of hip hop’s biggest names choose to, well, sell out to Pop and Mainstream markets for the sake of “expanding Hip hop’s horizons”. Yes, Kanye West comes immediately. Or Black Eyed Peas.
On one hand, as a 30 year old, still crying about “keeping it real”, or “selling out”, or “purity in Hip Hop music”, or “not being Pop” is kind of corny, but on another hand I don’t want to see Hip Hop go the way of Jungle and Drum and Bass, and like, only be heard on Volkswagen commercials, or turned into a pretentious wank-fest genres like IDM (Intelligent Dance Music for those that don’t remember) until all the life and energy you (read: I) grew to love this music for in the first place is no longer present.
A lot of this gripe comes from having worked at the biggest, and most important mainstream Hip Hop radio station in the country (and therefore the world, and therefore the galaxy and so on) for 3 years and 9 months and saw a side of the industry that people will never know or be privy to. All the politics, the petty reasonings why certain songs did or did not get played, or the tastemakers with absolutely no taste calling shots on what artists blow up next, further warping the minds and desires of young black and brown children all across the Tri-state; and some of it comes from remembering and an amazing time I had while in college, showing up for the weekly Hip Hop show, listening to and spinning some of the best (and worst) of independent Hip Hop without any of the politics whatsoever, as well as meeting some of (whom I consider to be) Hip Hop’s most ardent activists and critics. Even if I don’t talk to many or any of those guys that helped me fine tune and shape the way I view this genre of music I love so much, if not my outlook on the world and life in general, if it wasn’t for the local watering hole that was (Hip Hop) college radio, I wouldn’t a) be who I am today or b) be where I am today (wherever that is).
Peace to D.L. of Vinyl Frontier, Damien Randle, DJ Cipher, Kevin Jackson, Frank Fellows, and DJ Lil Tiger; you’ve all changed my life in ways I will probably never fully appreciate or know.
Now that that emo moment (albeit sincere and poorly worded) is over, sign the petition below to at least make your voice heard that a independent Hip Hop institution, in the city that birthed Hip Hop, is in danger of being shut down.
Without further delay, Sucio Smash of Squeeze Radio’s letter to the people.
As of Oct 7, 2010 I’ve been informed by Columbia University that after 20yrs our beloved radio show will come to an end. In Oct of 1990 two friends Stretch Armstrong and Bobbito Garcia started a radio show that revolutionized how we look at Hip Hop programing. 8 years later, after Stretch left the show, Bobbito continued with Lord Sear what was known then as the CM Famalam radio Program. 2 years after that I joined the show until Bobbito and Lord Sear’s retirement in 2003. From that point on the Squeeze Radio Show has remained a pillar in the Hip Hop community in New York City and has been named the best radio show in NY by Time Out Magazine.
In the past the program introduced NY and the world to Wu-Tang, Nas, Jay-Z, Big L, Fat Joe and more. Since 2003 The Squeeze Radio show has introduced NY and many listeners in the world to Kanye West, Consequence, Lupe Fiasco, Blu, Roc Marciano, Torae, Tanya Morgan and more.
I ask for your help. Lets show C.U. that this show is important to not just to us but to the community in general. If you are an artist that’s been in the show, a listener, a Hip Hop fan or just someone that’s tired of how we are being pushed around and shut down let your voice be heard. Sign the petition, write an email to WKCR get your friends to join you and us.
We are running out of time. As of now we have one show left this thursday night and I believe and hope that with your help we can make sure that that is not the case.
Peace and Blessings
Petition: Save the Squeeze Radio Show
You can also let WKCR know your thoughts directly by letter or email, details are below.
Send your emails to:
Send physical mail to:
New York, NY 10027
I think this is the first time I am leaving a comment although I’ve come to the site and downloaded tons of music. Thank you for that.
WKCR, is this the same radio station that had Madlib do a guest set on a slot/ show called Chocolate City…? If it is then it is a shame.
I will sign the petition, as well as pass it along to some of my friends here in South Africa.