It has been said; that it is important to remember where you come from, in order to get the proper perspective on where you are going.
Just ask Red Alert, and I’m sure he will agree that it was his personal experience while growing up in Harlem that has laid the foundation for his musical street smarts/savvy as well as motivation, determination and consistency.
DJ Red Alert is recognized and respected worldwide as one of the founding fathers of Hip-Hop music and culture! He has received numerous awards and accolades including a special award at the first annual Rap Hall of Fame Awards show. The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award from IMPACT music trade publication for 1998 and the 1997 Mix Show DJ of the year award from GAVIN. In addition DJ Red Alert was named one of the 50 most influential people in music by ROLLING STONE magazine. Red Alert has a display in the Radio Section of the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME in Cleveland, Ohio. The only DJ of this era so honored! Kool DJ Red Alert was named an honorary ambassador to the United Nations in recognition of his contributions in the field of music. In June 2003 Red Alert was inducted to the Bronx Walk of Fame where past honoree’s have included such luminaries as General Colin Powell. DJ Red Alert has appeared in over 50 music videos.
Red was reared by his maternal grandparents, who were from Antiqua. Red’s love for those around-the-way basketball games led him to his high school team at DeWitt Clinton. No doubt this is where he was dubbed the nickname, “RED”; for his red hair and alert response on the court. Red later received a college basketball scholarship. During the last of his high school years, Red hung out at the Saturday night parties thrown by DJ Kool Herc (the first hip-hop deejay) and his emcee Coke La Rock (who Red credits as “the very first rapper”) at clubs throughout the west Bronx.
Red studied the style of music Kool Herc played — James Brown, Dennis Coffey, Baby Huey, the Isley Brothers — and the way he blended the vinyl. On Fridays, Red found himself venturing downtown to check out star disco deejays, such as: Grandmaster Flash, Together Brothers, and Pete DJ Jones.
It wasn’t long before he was jammin’ at parties on his own equipment. It was important to be up on what was happening on the New York scene, so Red was now attending legendary parties throughout the Bronx. Red caught Grandmaster Flash at the Black Door and the Dixie Club, Kool DJ A.J. at the Morehouse Center and Afrika Bambaata at JHS 123.
By this time, Red had gathered enough record selection and record spinning insight to teach his cousin DJ Jazzy Jay the basics of the art. Jazzy Jay in turn introduced Red to Bambaata. Bambaata taught Red about rock, reggae and new wave music.
Learning about the various styles of dance oriented music, Red soon became the deejay for Bambaata and his Zulu Nation, joining the likes of Afrika Islam, the Soul Sonic Force, Grandmaster DST and the Rock Steady Crew. Through this association, Red began to spin records downtown at such clubs as Negril and Danceteria.
While deejaying at the Roxy, he met Barry Mayo, then program director of NY’s WRKS 98.7 KISS FM. A man of considerable taste, Mayo hired Red to inaugurate the “Dance Mix Party.” Red remained at 98.7 KISS FM for 11 years, becoming the top DJ at the station. During his tenure at KISS, Red became the first individual to popularize dancehall music at a major radio station! In 1994 DJ Red Alert moved to New York’s Hot 97 radio station where he did two daily shows. They were the “The Twelve O’clock Old School at Noon Mix” and the “Five O’clock Free Ride.” In the year 2007 Red returned home to 98.7 Kiss FM in New York City.
Before you knew it, Red met up with producer Vincent Davis, of the Vintertainment Record label, through DJ Chuck Chillout, to produce Red’s First record, “Hip Hop On Wax, Volume 2.” Red was well on the way to becoming one of the most noted names in the business. Red deejayed for artist Sparky D during the Roxanne, Roxanne era. He also became a member of the Boogie Down Productions, touring the country with KRS One. Since then, Red has done super mixes for compilation albums on Next Plateau Records and Epic Records.
Now a seasoned veteran as radio jock, club jock and studio man, Kool DJ Red Alert has established his place as one of the world’s premier DJ’s. To top it off Red Alert owns a production and management company, Red Alert Productions (RAP). The company garnered a reputation for developing and promoting new talent. RED is responsible for launching the career of such widely acclaimed acts as the Jungle Brothers, Tribe Called Quest, Black Sheep and Queen Latifah to name four.
In addition DJ Red Alert was the first to introduce numerous hit records including “Soul II Soul” by Jazzy B and “Hold On” by the group En Vogue! If an artist ever hears his or her stuff on Red Alert’s shows, you can bet they can assume their work is indeed truly slammin’.
RED continues to be a catalyst for a lot of up and coming artist’s. He represents the history and future of hip-hop music and culture. He is constantly surging forward to break new ground in this business called entertainment.
Red says, “You have to learn how to break a new artist on record by working it in and out with familiar records. People are scared to fall. It’s OK to fall. You must learn how to fall and be strong so you can come back. A DJ is like the pied piper.”
With his attitude toward life and professionalism regarding his craft, surely we are in good hands!