This Saturday [August 18th] Hip Hop’s pioneers will be coming out in full force to pay tribute to the memory of one of its legendary DJs who passed away a few years back-Disco King Mario. We often hear about the achievements of people like Bambaataa, Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash, but very little is said about some of the other pioneers who also laid down much of the foundation we now call Hip Hop. Cats like Pete DJ Jones, Grand Wizard Theodore, the late DJ Flowers and of course Mario were key architects.
Disco King Mario never released no records. He didn’t produce no major rap stars. I’m not even sure if he ever toured around the world once Hip Hop became known world wide. However, for those of us who were around back in the beginning days of the 70s, Disco King Mario who lived upstairs from my man DJ Paradise of X-Clan over in the Bronxdale Housing projects, was a household name. He was known for throwing some of Hip Hop’s best jams and keeping the party going. He was staple in early Hip Hop whose name and his crew Chuck Chuck City was mentioned on many of the early tapes. One of Mario’s unwritten contributions was how he gave Afrika Bambaattaa a helping hand. He used loan Bam his dj equipment. Later on Bam would face Mario in his first official DJ battle. Back in the early days it was Disco King Mario who was at the top of heap and the man to beat
Today its hard for people to understand the significance of the DJ. When Hip Hop first began it wasn’t the rapper who was in charge. It was the DJ. It was the DJ came to symbolized the African drummer. It was the DJ who kept the pace and set the tone. It was the DJ who rocked the crowd and was the supreme personality who garnered the spot light. Everyone else including the rappers were secondary. Cats from all over came to your party based upon who was deejaying. Hence when Disco King Mario‘s name was mentioned cats came from all over because he was the man. He was the type of cat who simply had that magic and command of the crowd. Sadly he passed away before his time, unknown to many of today’s bling bling artists who benefit from the culture he helped laid down.
If you happen to be in New York, you may see a flyer being circulated around that is reminiscent of the old school flyers from back in the days. ‘By Popular demand DJ Cool Clyde, Lightnin Lance, The Nasty Cuzins, Quiet Az Kept Present their first annual Old School Reunion & Picnic’. It lets you know that the celebration for Disco King Mario is taking place Saturday August 18th at Rosedale ‘Big Park’ in the Bronx. The Big Park itself is legendary. When I was a kid living on Croes Avenue, we were absolutely forbidden to go across the street to the Big Park. That was because the Big Park was where many of many of the early Black Spades used to hang out. The Spades at that time were the largest and most notorious gang at that time. They eventually evolved to become The Mighty Zulu Nation. As for the Big Park, it eventually became the place where Disco King Mario would eventually throw many of his early gigs.
This Saturday, there will be performances by the Cold Crush Brothers, DJ Charlie Chase, DJ Tony Tone, The Crash Crew, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Jazzy Jay, The Soul Sonic Force, Kool Herc and the Herculords, Jazzy 5, Prince Ikey C, Kool DJ AJ and Busy Bee Starsky. Also on point will be Grand Master DST, Chuck Chillout, DJ Red Alert, Mr Magic and Grandmaster Flash. This is an event not to miss. More importantly Disco King Mario is a man not to forget! For more info holla at my man Big Jeff at 917-644-3233 or Cool Clyde at 917-954-9049