On the heels of just recently losing one legend in DJ Roc Raida, today Hip-Hop bids a tearful farewell to a true pioneer in Sir Juice AKA John "Mr. Magic" Rivas, who passed away this morning from a fatal heart attack. The man was one of the main DJ's who helped bring the art and culture of Hip-Hop to the radio in the 80's, 90's and early 2K's.
The longtime WBLS (107.5 New York) DJ was an integral part of 80's rap radio. His show the "Rap Attack", found Mr. Magic alongside Marley Marl and Ty Fly Williams spinning what they believed was the best in what the scene had to offer and often breaking new records from guys that are now legends as well. Mr. Magic made it possible and reasonable for rap to be on your FM dial with his mixshow wonderment. We all are clearly in debt to his efforts.
Credited with being the namesake of the Juice Crew and the progenitor of Marley Marl's career as well as with instigating some of Hip-Hop's all-time greatest battles, Mr.Magic's legacy is sprawling. Cited directly by both The Notorious B.I.G., Tupac and Nas among others as being a huge influence, the on-air personality's direct and sarcastic style was unmistakable.
On a personal note, I am a bit too young to have grown up listening to Mr. Magic, but the hoards of his recorded mix shows that circulate via cassette tape and his numerous compilation LP's found me a long while back and next to his one time rival Kool DJ Red Alert, I consider the man the father of all that I try to be in the world of DJing and Hip-Hop.
For the men that I did grow up admiring and listening to, like Large Professor, DJ Eclipse, Marley Marl, Pete Rock, Biz Markie, Whodini, Craig G, Masta Ace, Blaq Poet, KRS-One and so many, many others, this day is one that see's us lose not only someone that really did open the doors, but a true talent in every sense of the word.
I'm not so great at expressing this man's profound greatness and meaning to the culture I love, so here's some thoughts from DJ Premier:
I want to send out the utmost respect and condolences to the memory of John Rivas — aka Mr. Magic.
He passed away this morning of a heart attack.
True hip hop heads know that his history is so long due to him being the first rap mixshow to ever be on commercial radio on New York’s WBLS (107.5) with Marley Marl and Fly Ty in 1982-1984. Then went on to to WHBI in October 1984 and then back to WBLS in 1985 and WDAS in Philly. Simultaneously he paved the way for all radio stations that ever did mixshows and also sparked the career of Boogie Down Productions due to the ids he showed when they came to shop their demo to him and was turned away which then sparked “South Bronx” and “The Bridge Is Over”. He was known for his direct and sarcastic attitude on the air and every artist wanted his approval when it came to breaking new records. He even had songs dedicated to him by the legendary Whodini (”Mr. Magic’s Wand”) which was surprisingly produced by one of my favorite artists, Thomas Dolby.
Shouts out to Marley Marl & Fly Ty for the correct information on this. Rest in Peace Mr. Magic.
- DJ Premier
PureHip-Hop's condolences go out to Mr. Magic's family and friends, He's in my thought's and memories. If your in NY somewhere tune into WBLS tonight @ 6PM, Marley will be in there paying tribute, mixing it all up in honor of his old friend and co-host.
-BIG D O