Pass The Popcorn: RBMA's "Revolutions On Air" Revisits The Early Days Of Hip-Hop Radio In NYC
Some New York City-dwellers have the age and experience required to remember Kool DJ Red Alert‘s weekly radio hours–and some are stuck playing catch-up. Red Alert would regularly break new hip-hop acts, and was a champion of the genre during its fledgling 80s years. He was also but one of many on-air personalities who took it upon themselves to spin and support early rap acts, and now RBMA is about to release an entire film dedicated to Kool’s cadre. Entitled Revolutions On Air: The Golden Era Of New York Radio 1980 – 1988, the feature-length documentary will take a look back at the connection between artists and disc jockeys, digging through all the sweat equity that Red Alert, Marley Marl, Merlin Bobb, Tony Humphries, and many more put in during that decade. “TV wasn’t doing it. All we had to grab onto in the 80s was a radio,” Mr. Marl professes in the film’s new trailer.
And grab onto it they did. These DJs and many others frequently pushed the boundaries of their formats, playing demos and strange mailed-in tapes from hip-hop nobodies that in some cases became superstars. Marl, Red Alert, and the rest of the radio set raised the bar for culture curation in New York and had an immeasurable impact on what hip-hop–and music itself–would become in the decades to follow. Red Bull Music Academy’s film aims to highlight their story, and tell it with a depth and style that we’ve never enjoyed until now. RBMA is set to drop the film itself on April 22nd (just two days!) and you can watch the trailer below and read a bit more about the film here.