In 1993, DJ STV started producing his weekly radio show Strictly Hip Hop at CHSR FM. Thirty years on and more than 1400 episodes later, he continues to share the latest beats and raps with audiences at home and around the world.
Every music scene has its pillar institutions and personalities. Tastemakers. Those who have shaped our identity, focused our listening preferences, and in some cases, come to define our city from an outside perspective. Opinions may vary depending on the type of music each of us gravitate towards, but if you’re a fan of rap music and hip hop culture, there is no denying the impact DJ STV (aka Steve Hodgson) has had on our city, our province, and the broader Atlantic scene.
In 1993, Hodgson started producing weekly episodes of his radio show Strictly Hip Hop. Dedicated to rappers, beatmakers, and the show’s namesake culture which has existed in the margins of east coast music going back to the 1980s – even before Public Enemy played its legendary show at the Dartmouth Sportsplex on November 10, 1989, an event many claim to be the first hip hop concert on the East Coast – Hodgson’s love for rap music has influenced an entire generation of music lovers and can be credited for helping keep rap music alive in a city known largely for blues, rock, and indie folk music.
Thirty years on, Hodgson is still producing episodes of Strictly Hip Hop and his show has become one of the longest (if not the longest) running Canadian radio programs dedicated strictly, to hip hop.
GCM: Can you remember why you started the show in the first place? What was your motivation behind creating Strictly Hip Hop?
SH: I started the show because I wanted to hear the music that me and my friends were listening to get played on the radio. Commercial radio played zero rap records. Even top 40 R&B records that featured rappers had a ‘no rap’ version on the single. The only place you could hear hip hop on the radio was CHSR. There was a show called More Of What You Like with The Mistress hosted by Mindy Crawford. It was more on the R&B side of hip hop but she played rap records too. I wanted to do that kind of show but more rap focused. No R&B. Hence the name Strictly Hip Hop.
GCM: How do you find new music to fill programs each week?
SH: Back when I started the show, getting new music was a challenge. Local stores didn’t carry a lot. You would have to special order music or I’d travel to the record store in Calais, Maine. When I became a member at CHSR I found out they had treasure trove of rap that just wasn’t getting played. Also they had contact info for those labels and promotion companies so I would start reaching out to them. Nowadays I get emails with links to the records people are promoting. The hardest part now is narrowing it down to 90 minutes.
GCM: Can you tell us about one of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the music over your 30 years of programming? It could be the music itself, the way music finds you (or you find it), or how the show is put together.
SH: The biggest change would be how I put the show together. When I started, I would use records, CDs and tapes and I would do the show live. Now all the music is digital and I pre-record a live mix at home.
GCM: What keeps you going? Why is Strictly Hip Hop still something you want to be doing after so many years?
SH: Deejaying is what I like to do. Music makes me happy. I’m always coming up with mixes and it’s easier than ever to record and share them. There is no reason for me to stop, although DJ gear prices are kinda crazy these days.
Strictly Hip Hop airs Thursdays from 10-11:30 p.m. on CHSR 97.9 FM in Fredericton or streaming online at chsrfm.ca