October 4th, 2009 – Atlanta
Mr. Magic died on the morning of October 2, 2009 of a Heart Attack. Mr. Magic, real name John Rivas was one of the most important figures in the world of hip-hop radio. He is credited with launching and hosting the first all-rap radio show in the US first appearing in 1983 on WBLS-FM in New York City. Disco and funk were then fading, and rap was emerging as a rebellious new art form in the streets, housing projects and parks of New York City. Magic’s show featured Marley Marl as the DJ and Tyrone “Fly Ty” Williams as the show’s co-producer. Magic’s reign on the New York City airwaves lasted six years and was instrumental in broadening the scope and power of hip-hop music.
Mr. Magic gathered a sort of hip-hop collective that included artists like Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Roxanne and Kool G Rap, and was called the Juice Crew. (Mr. Magic was Sir Juice.) Red Alert was affiliated with a rap group called Boogie Down Productions. The two sides staged elaborate battles, recording songs as insults to respond to taunts from the other side. The exchanges were wildly popular, on and off the air.
During the mid-80s there was a rivalry between Mr. Magic and Kool DJ Red Alert, who hosted a weekly show on WRKS-FM. The feud also played out between proxy rap groups, the Juice Crew and Boogie Down Productions. Mr. Magic was separated from his wife, Lisa Rivas and has lefted behind his sons John Jr. and Jabar, and his daughter, Domonique Rivas.
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