To celebrate the 55th Birthday of Tim Westwood [Happy Born-day short shins], here is some rare insight into the mind and mentality of the most recognisable voice of Rap radio. Tim is one of the most hard-working and important names in UK broadcasting from the past 25 years, and he’s a humble down-to earth cat too.
Some know him as a champion of independent black music, some misundertand him as a clown. I see him as a progressive, and have done continually since 1985 and his long-standing Zulu Message column in Blues & Soul.
Tim played at a dance on his birth-day a few years back at Hallam University in Sheffield, and as youll hear in this short clip, he was more than passionate about his shit gettin ganked. Unfortunately he had 2 records stolen from the booth by ‘some thick-set white kid’ while he was playing Punjabi MC. So passionate that when Tim gets his records boosted at a dance in Sheffield, and only realises when he’s back in London, he’s happy to drive straight back to Sheffield to ask for his joints back. And he’d be listening to 50 CENTS all the way. The question remains, did Tim ever get his joints back?
Here are two radio promos for Tim Westwoods show from 1994, just months before he was due to start broadcasting on a different station and show, the BBCs 1FM Rap Show. Both of them are themed on songs by the individual artists; Nas with a version excursion of It Aint Hard to Tell, with a few Westwood mentions, along with a Snoop promo that has Snoop bless us with a Nuthin But A G Thing themed banger with Westwood as the subject matter.
There were almost too many of these radio spots and station IDs over the years to keep account of. Some were dub-plates, some recorded and transferred to cartridge for broadcast, alot were custom made for individual DJs as part of the promotional work the artists had to undertake. The G Rap above is from 1989 and its awful quality, but its one of my personal favourites as its from one of my favourite radio show tapes…
In an anthropological sense, this clip is at the very least, engaging. Its also a very uncomfortable clip to watch, not just because it features Kurtis Blow reading Mr Magics obituary, also cos Marley Marl clowns it up during a service at the open casket funeral…
Mr Jones looks back at the science of recording radio shows onto a format long forgotten about, from the days when he was a ‘young city bandit’. He talks about the importance of twiddling up and down the dial during the days when more than one show was on the New York FM airwaves, the colour of the physical tape and even the fragrance of a fresh cassette. Top choice clip for the throwback crowd and anyone that put their batteries in the freezer to recharge em
To listen to a multi-million selling artist talk about those live tapes and park jams with such affection and admit theyre still hurtin from missing those tapes is something anyone who did the same back then can equate to. I wonder if Nasir repeatedly used the same C90 before he got his double tape player. Anyone that has any Fresh Fest recordings needs to get in touch too btw