Hip-Hop Made: Greg Mack on Hip-Hop's radio beginnings and beyond

'I knew Hip-Hop was going to be huge'
Greg Mack
Photo credit Audacy

Taking it back to the 80s in LA, the esteemed Greg Mack sat down with us to share how he played an integral part in Hip-Hop music becoming mainstream.

LISTEN NOW: Hip-Hop Made: Greg Mack

A key highlight of Mack’s career was serving as the music director at KDAY in Los Angeles, California. It was there that he played an instrumental role in promoting some of your favorite rap legends like LL Cool J, NWA, Ice T and many more.

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He gave us a quick history lesson in letting listeners know that back then, they didn’t call it “Hip-Hop,” they called it Rap, but there was a transition in phrasing because “rap music” had a negative connotation and to be more marketable to advertisers Hip-Hop had a better fit.

This is also how the term “urban station” came to life. Founded by Frankie Crocker, according to Mack, “he knew that calling yourself a Black station couldn’t bring in any dollars.”

He revealed that at the time, many Black programmers “despised” rap music, referring to it as “ghetto” and refusing to play it on their stations. He admitted that there were times he received threats, “you had the record company sending people to threaten me. This one guy came in there and said ‘look if you keep playing this Hip-Hop stuff, we’re going to break your legs.’”

But Mack knew that Hip-Hop and rap music was going to be something big, so he pushed the status quo at that time to get rap records air time regardless of the backlash he got.

“I knew Hip-Hop was going to be huge,” he said.

And he was right.

50 years later and we’re celebrating the birth of one of the greatest genres known to man, Hip-Hop! And while some things are a little different than they were 50 years ago, Mack assured that “I’m just so proud of where rap has gone… I love it.”

Listen to our full conversation with Greg Mack above.

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