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BEST HIP-HOP RADIO PROGRAM Minneapolis 2002 - B96

Readers' Choice: 'The Beat Box'

Now that hip hop is a thriving commercial entity, everybody wants a piece of it. (Though it's a shocking indication of how slowly capitalism moves in these parts that hip hop's infiltration of commercial Twin Cities radio took so long.) But regardless of industry trends, KMOJ has been breaking the latest tracks ever since Travis "Travitron" Lee relocated here from NYC in the late Eighties. Now, hip hop is fully integrated into the R&B/black-pop mix. But that doesn't mean that the station's foremost purveyors and programmers of the music, Smoke D and his partner Derek Delite, don't deserve overdue props for this Friday-night, prime-time show (which airs 8:00 p.m. to.12:00 p.m.). The pair have been toiling away for years, and they serve up a mix from the underground, the street, and the popular marketplace that no commercial station would risk. (It's worth noting that the pair's closest competition comes from their Saturday-night counterparts on KMOJ, Disco T and Yvette). Sure, B96 skims off the most popular joints, and allows the most irritating DJs this side of Cousin Brucie to back-announce them, if that's what you're looking for. And Radio K and KFAI rep the underground with admirable thoroughness. But Smoke and Delite bring the real sound to the community.

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