Earlier today news broke that New York radio station 98.7 Kiss FM would soon be shutting down, its frequency leased by owner Emmis Broadcasting to ESPN and programming to be consolidated with its one-time rival down the dial, WBLS. The move marks the end of an era for New York City radio, as anyone who once enjoyed Kiss’ pioneering club and hip-hop mix shows from back in the day can readily attest. To celebrate the station’s storied legacy, we’ve collected a batch of classic radio promos from over the years – largely celebrating Red Alert and Chuck Chillout’s classic Friday and Saturday night shows, but with a few extras too. Enjoy…
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1. The Beatnuts - Red Alert Promo (1993)
Queens’ intoxicated demons pay homage to Red Alert. Yeeeeaaaah…
2. Biz Markie & T.J. Swan - Red Alert Promo (1986)
Biz makes the music with his mouth. Resident Juice Crew crooner T.J. Swan sings Red Alert’s praises. Given BDP/Red’s rivalry with BLS/Juice Crew how the hell did Magic, Marley and them let this slip through?
3. CD III - "Get Tough (Kiss FM Radio Promo Version)" (1983)
CD III revamps its early ’80s classic “Get Tough” for the jocks at Kiss FM.
4. Chi Ali - Red Alert Promo (1991)
Native Tongues’ 14-year-old sensation Chi Ali on the vocals, The Beatnuts on the beat. This might actually be one of the first usages of Eugene McDaniels’ sample source classic, Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse.
5. Chill Rob G - "Red Alert Intro" (1988)
Classic show intro featuring Flavor Unit’s Chill Rob G. Later appeared on Red’s compilation, We Can Do This.
6. Chuck Chillout - "Chuck Is Chillin'" (1989)
Classic Chuck Chillout theme music. Eventually released on Chuck Chillout & Kool Chip’s album, Rhythm Is the Master.
7. DJ Premier - "Red Alert Chant" (1990)
Preemo pledged his allegiance to Red with this instrumental promo which eventually turned up on the Let’s Make It Happen III compilation.
8. Emskee - Wendy Williams promo (1993)
Revered NYC selector Emskee was known as Emskee the Complex Engineer when he dropped this jazzy-but-nasty promo for Kiss’ gossip queen, Wendy Williams. Later released via DWG.
9. Fat Joe - Red Alert promos (1991, 1993)
Two-for-one here in dual promo gems by Fat Joe. The first, produced by Diamond D, finds Joe flowing over a classic Kool & the Gang break in what was many NYC listeners’ introduction to the Fat Gangsta. The second, equally banging from 1993, introduces future Terror Squad associate, Armageddon.
10. JVC Force - Red Alert Promo (1988)
Red Alert broke JVC Force’s “Strong Island” and the trio showed its gratitude by cutting this promo for the Propmaster.
11. Total Control - "DJ Red Alert" (1990)
Who were Total Control? A singing/rapping troupe in the Wrecks-N-Effect mold. Don’t know what happened to them but this promo over “Apache” was the shit.
12. Ultramagnetic MCs - "Bait (Original Radio Promo Version)" (1986); "Chilling with Chuck Chillout" (1987)
Another two-for-one: The classic Ultra line-up rhyming over “Nautilus” in homage to Red Alert (later included on Red’s Goes Berserk compilation), and a flip of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” (known to fans of Super Cat’s “Dolly My Baby”) for Chuck Chillout.
(NOTE: Okay, we admit – we initially left out “Bait” for whatever reason and added it after the fact. If you’re mad we added more Ultra to a list you shouldn’t be reading this anyways.)
HONORABLE MENTION: MC Mitchski - "Red Alert Is a Great Man" (Ski, 1987)
Mitchski the Rappin’ Comedian jumped in the Bridge-BDP war with “Brooklyn Blew Up the Bridge” in 1987 – a track we loved so much we included it on ego trip’s The Big Playback. While he was at it he recorded an ode to Red Alert, who’d given Mitch a break doing stand up at Union Square. Not surprisingly, the song though not technically a promo became an adjunct promo and staple of Red’s show. Also not surprisingly it was voted worst record of the year over at WBLS’s Mr. Magic’s Rap Attack.