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DJ Negro

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Biography

DJ Negro was a prime mover during the formative years of reggaeton in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as his turntablism and club coordination helped initiate the style's formation. Born Felix Rodriguez, he first established himself as Vico C's DJ; in fact, he even got co-billing on the rap en español pioneer's debut album, Mision: La Cima (1990, Prime Records), where he's pictured on the front album cover, looking quite youthful. DJ Negro continued working with Vico C, appearing on Hispanic Soul (1991), but he soon began devoting himself to the club scene in San Juan. In 1992 he established the Noise, a club night where individuals were invited to freestyle over hip-hop and reggae tracks spun by DJs. The club became a collective, as turntablists Tony Touch and DJ Nelson became regulars, along with a long list of aspiring cantantes who were keen to freestyle for the crowd. Ivy Queen, Baby Rasta & Gringo, Las Guanabanas, Baby Ranks, Point Breakers, and Trebol Clan were among those who earned their stripes with the Noise. This club-oriented synthesis of hip-hop and reggae backing tracks with on-the-spot freestyling proved mighty potent, and DJ Negro began issuing an influential series of Noise CDs — some recorded live in the club, others in the studio — via Sony Discos. He also recorded a solo album, Quiero un Amor (1994), of songs composed by vocalist César Flores and producer Elvis García; however, the Noise was his more promising venture, for the collective had begun producing its own proto-reggaeton tracks. DJ Negro also oversaw debut solo albums by Ivy Queen (En Mi Imperio, 1997) and Baby Rasta & Gringo (Live Desde el Mas Allá, 1997), and carried on with his series of Noise CDs until a tenth and final volume, The Noise, Vol. 10: The Last Noise (2004). By that point, reggaeton had evolved into an internationally recognized and commercially viable style of music, and DJ Negro himself began to earn increased recognition for his central role in its initiation.

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Genre
Years Active:

'90s, '00s

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