Radio is an essential part of Hip-Hop. Radio stations have contributed to Hip-Hop culture since its inception in the 70’s. Without DJs spinning new tracks and interviewing up and coming artists, Hip-Hop wouldn’t be the dominant culture it is today. Several radio stations have held the crown as most influential, popular or forward-thinking and now two giants exist. With the changing musical landscape, radio isn’t as relevant, but Power 105 and Hot 97 are still important. Their interviews, the controversies, the concerts, and the personalities have allowed these channels to remain relevant. I thought it would be fun to breakdown the criteria and determine who is winning in this battle for radio supremacy.
Guest & Interviews
Power 105 hasn’t been hitting with great interviews lately, but they have a slew of great content. They’ve had everyone from Louis Farrakhan to Nicki Minaj on the show and all have been interesting in their own right. Obviously, the Dame Dash interview is among the best pieces of content I’ve ever seen in my life. Completely ridiculous and wild, but full of truly great nuggets of wisdom.
I think the three hosts have great chemistry together with Envy asking straight-forward questions, Angela asking about gossip and Charlemagne coming from left field. It keeps guests on their toes and brings the funny out of them. I think it’s worth mentioning that when one of them is not around it throws everything off.
I don’t think I’ve ever listened to either Power 105 or Hot 97 for new music or a particular mix. This aspect of Hip-Hop radio has become almost irrelevant in the age of on-demand music. Why wait for my favorite song to play on Hot 97 when I can listen to it right now on YouTube, SoundCloud or any of the major streaming services? This is why radio has had to make its other aspects so strong. I’ll download the iHearRadio app so I can stream Power 105’s Kanye interview live. I will also delete it immediately after.
Apple Music, Tidal & Spotify
Summer Jam is still legendary. With festivals popping up everywhere, it’s hard for the show to maintain its significance, but ending up on that Summer Jam screen will still ruin your weekend. Drake has been attempting to recreate Summer Jam with his own tour, and festivals across the country are trying to recreate that magic. Hot 97 is trying to recreate that magic…
The Birdman scandal, the Mayweather fiasco, the Kanye interview. All of these things have helped keep Power 105 in the conversation. Hot 97 has recently gotten some attention after Drake dissed them during the New York stint of his tour. They also had the Nicki Vs. Rosenberg beef, which has since been resolved. I think they have their fair share of controversy, but the Birdman showdown alone puts Power 105 above Hot 97.
Key Player Charlemagne Tha God
Again, with the nature of the music industry now, no one is listening to these morning shows for the tunes. It’s all about the personalities. The Breakfast Club has three capable hosts that only work at their best together. DJ Envy is a perfect straight man. He takes jokes, gets fired up when he needs to and has an interesting perspective on Hip-Hop history. Angela Yee also has been around Hip-Hop for a long time. It’s unfortunate that she’s often regulated to gossip questions, but her delivery and personality balance out perfectly with the other two hosts. Last but not least, Charlemagne Tha God is The Breakfast Club’s MVP. He’s absurd, rude and hilarious. He has his eyes on Twitter and speaks for them when celebrities come into the studio for interviews. Whether he’s asking Puff if he had Biggie killed, asking Kelly Rowland to suck a fart out her butt, or being ignored by Kanye, he’s the most interesting thing about the show.
Key Player: Rosenberg
Hot 97 might remain the most important radio station in Hip-Hop history, despite Power 105 having them beat right now. Their current line-up for their morning show is Ebro, Laura Stylez and Rosenberg. Ebro has a long legacy in Hip-Hop and constantly mentions how old he is and Laura’s presence on the show is really small in the grand scheme of things. Rosenberg is their wildcard. He has personal beefs with rappers that leak onto the show. He’s funny, passionate and keeps me watching their show.
The Winner Is…
It’s not really a competition right now. Hot 97 is still the station with the biggest presence in Hip-Hop history. That will never change. Right now, The Breakfast Club and Power 105 are winning the battle… definitively.