March 15th – Mr. Magic was born John Rivas in The Bronx, New York, on this day in 1956.
In 1981, Magic became the host of “The Rap Attack” on New York City’s WHBI-FM. “The Rap Attack” was the first exclusive hip-hop show on a major radio station. Marley Marl was the show’s DJ and Tyrone “Fly Ty” Williams was the show’s co-producer.
In 1982, Magic moved to WBLS-FM also in New York City and then later to Hot 97FM where he was again joined by Fly Ty and DJ Mr. Cee.
In 1984, Magic released the 12 inch single “Magic’s Message (There’s A Better Way)” which was produced by Spyder D on Posse Records.
During this time, Mr. Magic developed a
friendly rivalry with DJ Red Alert, who also hosted a weekly hip-hop radio show on New York’s WRKS-FM also known as KISS 98.7FM.
The rivalry would eventually produce the now legendary “Bridge Wars”, which pitted “The Juice Crew” members, which included Roxanne Shante , MC Shan, Big Daddy Kane, Craig G and Biz Markie, to name a few.
The Juice Crew was headed-up by producer and DJ Marley Marl who was Mr. Magic’s on-air assistant. The group derived its name from Sir Juice, one of Magic’s on-air aliases.
DJ Red Alert was an early supporter and associate of Boogie Down Productions.
Mr. Magic later worked as a producer, turning knobs in the studio for artists such as the Force M.D.’s.
Mr. Magic also released various hip-hop compilations called “The Rap Attack”, after his famed radio broadcasts.
In 2002, Mr. Magic lent his voice to the video game “Grand Theft Auto – Vice City”, as a DJ.
His radio show and influence helped to first spark the careers of artists like Nas and the late Notorious B.I.G.
Mr. Magic died of a heart attack on October 2nd, 2009.
Many credit Mr. Magic with being one of the first industry insiders to bring rap music to the mainstream.