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Kool DJ Red Alert is a pioneering hip hop deejay who is heavily responsible for the emergence of rap music on the radio airwaves during the early eighties. He is a beacon of excellence among deejays worldwide, and as a radio personality who rose to fame on his WRKS), which first aired in 1983. Red is of West Indian descent by way of Antigua, and is credited as the first deejay to spin dancehall music on his FM radio.
Born as Frederick Crute in Harlem in 1956, Red has been a member of the Universal Zulu Nation for almost 40 years from near the time of the organization’s inception in 1973. Red Alert received his nickname from as a metaphor for his alertness while playing defense during his days as a former high school basketball star in the mid-seventies. After he received a scholarship to play basketball at Hampton University, he dropped out after his freshman year to return to his native New York City to pursue his calling as a deejay in 1976.
Since then, Red Alert has broken several legendary hip hop acts including KRS One’s collective Boogie Down Productions, Native Tongue crew acts Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, Black Sheep, and Monie Love on his radio show. Red Alert’s management company Red Alert Productions once represented several of the Native Tongue acts. He was also widely responsible for helping burgeon the career of late rap industry impresario Chris Lighty, who was a former road manager for the company before launching his own successful imprint Violator Management.
Accolades and awards in Red’s honor include the following: appointment as an Ambassador To Music by the United Nations; 1997 Mixshow DJ of the Year by Gavin Magazine; Lifetime Achievement Award from music trade publication Impact in 1998; one of the 50 most influential people in music by Rolling Stone magazine; the only hip hop deejay honored with a display in the Radio Section of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio; an honorary location on the Bronx Walk of Fame, a series of street signs recognizing prominent natives of the borough.
Red Alert is also a former radio personality on Hot 97 (WHQT) and frequently co-hosts mixshows with Funkmaster Flex on the station. You can catch Red’s current mixshow on WBLS 107.5 FM Monday – Friday 6pm – 7pm and Saturdays 6pm – 8pm
This week on “WHAT’S HOT! HarlemAmerica with G. Keith Alexander,” we’re honored to have DJ Kool Red Alert, a legendary figure in hip-hop. DJ Kool Red Alert, joins us to talk about his impressive career and the significance of being recognized at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors with the renowned “Justo” Award. DJ Kool Red Alert has not only witnessed but also molded the evolution of hip-hop, from spinning records in 1976 to hosting the ground-breaking “Red Alert Goes Berserk” on WRKS. Listen as we go into his life and career, discussing how his music inspired a cultural shift and the generations that followed. Don’t miss this unique chat with a true pioneer who turned the tables on the music industry and became a symbol of hip-hop’s undying energy.