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DJ Red Alert

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A popular radio personality and rap archivist, Red Alert is known for breaking the careers of many in hip-hop's elite, including Boogie Down Productions, Black Sheep, A Tribe Called Quest, and the Jungle Brothers. Red Alert began his career by working for Afrika Bambaataa and the Zulu Nation. After working his way through the ranks and becoming a top DJ, Red Alert's equipment was stolen, setting him back several months. The DJ's comeback in the early '80s coincided with the move of Bambaataa and his DJ crew to the downtown clubs in Manhattan. Left to his own devices in Harlem, Red Alert began gaining a large following at local clubs. When New York's KISS-FM approached Bambaataa to do a late-night rap show, he instead deferred the show to his DJs (of which Red Alert was the third chosen). He used the opportunity to his advantage, building a large following at the station and releasing "Hip-Hop Wax, Vol. 2," a series of scratch records by various DJs around New York. Through his radio show Red Alert made several contributions to the hip-hop community, including breaking new acts as well as introducing various slang terms into the vernacular. Red Alert also became the head of a group of like-minded hip-hop artists known as the Native Tongues, which included De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, and A Tribe Called Quest. The influential DJ has also executive produced albums by the latter two acts. ~ Steve Kurutz


20 November 1956 in Harlem, NY

Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s

Influenced by this Artist