By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
After Eazy‘s death, Julio remained with The Beat, giving Ruthless Radio the new name The Mixmaster Show, which he co-hosted with Tony G. By this time Julio and Tony had started producing for Latin hip-hop artists such as Kid Frost and Mellow Man Ace. After Tony left the station to pursue producing full time, Julio continued in the evening slot at The Beat, eventually developing his show and the station’s night programming as it stands today.
Five years being the average life span of a jock at a station, perhaps it‘s Julio’s tenacity that has kept him in The Beat‘s evening driver’s seat going on six years now. KKBT‘s recent restructuring of the morning show, replacing John London’s House Party with Doctor Dre and Ed Lover from Brooklyn, and replacing Theo with the Baka Boyz in the 2 to 7 p.m. shift, while touching nary a hair in the night slot, attests to Julio‘s staying power. But being a big fish in a sometimes unfriendly black pond hasn’t been easy.
“The first year at The Beat was hard,” says Julio, “‘cause you had some people callin’ up and calling me names, like ‘Fuck you, you beaner,’ and then hanging up. Or callin‘ up and saying, ’I don‘t even listen to your show, you fuckin’ wack.‘ And I’m like, ‘Whatever, you mothafucka.’ What I‘ve come to realize is that people are rude, and I’m the kind of person that I talk to you the way you talk to me. Like they‘ll be someone callin’ up and sayin‘ things like ’Who you gettin‘ smart with?’ And I‘m like, ’I‘m gettin’ smart with you.‘ ’Cause at the end of the day, I really don‘t give a fuck if you listen to my show or not. And don’t be callin‘ up tryin’ to punk me and shit, or think you can talk to me any kind of way just ‘cause I’m not black and thinkin‘ I’m gonna take your shit, a ‘cause I’m not. I grew up with black people all my life. I know the whole story, so it don‘t mean shit to me.
”Fortunately I got through it, and people dig what I do now, and they’re cool with it. I‘m never going to deny what I am. I gotta put it down.“
Latinos have always been at the forefront of West Coast hip-hop. Yet whereas Latin hip-hop acts like Cypress Hill and Kid Frost, plus the recent surge of local Latin hip-hop acts, have undeniably contributed to the development of the West Coast scene, Latin hip-hop DJs in Los Angeles are, ironically, few and far between.
”A lot of Latin cats didn’t grow up with hip-hop,“ explains Julio. ”See, I grew up in Lynwood, and I know a lot of music, but I know black music the most. A lot of Latin DJs are more club-oriented, because that‘s what Latin people like. They like roc en español and house music. It’s hard to play hip-hop all night in a club full of all Latin people. They‘re not going to go for that. They want to hear Ricky Martin and so on -- that’s just how Latin people get down. It‘s different like that.“
Or maybe not. While the rest of the Latin community, and others outside it, may be mesmerized by Ricky Martin, the world of hip-hop has its own Latin contingent, and it’s converting believers by the day. Artists like the Terror Squad, Delinquent Habits, Molotov and the Beatnuts have demonstrated how potentially massive and virtually untapped the Latin hip-hop audience is, a situation that has created a dilemma of sorts for Julio, who, already hounded by black artists, is aggressively sought out by local unsigned Latin hip-hop artists as a resource for radio play. On the other hand, Julio strongly feels that for the good of all hip-hop, black people must, ultimately, own the music outright.
”Until blacks -- and Latins with their music -- until they control the companies and the profits, until it‘s owned by the same people that make it, it’s always gonna be ‘You’ll put out what we say you‘re gonna put out,’“ Julio says. ”That‘s not a racist thing -- it’s just that the music business is not run by black people. Like Master P., him doing his own thing, that‘s a very good start. Even though his music is the same old shit, he’s makin‘ a hell of a statement. Like, ’Hey, I want 75 percent. Y‘all take 25 for puttin’ my shit out, the rest is mine. That‘s my money and my shit. And I’m keepin‘ my shit and my money in my city.’ You can only respect that.
“Rap will reach its peak when it‘s black-owned, ’cause black people will really know how to put their shit out. They‘ll know what their shit is and what the bullshit is.”