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The 25 Best A&Rs in Hip-Hop History

14. Juice Crew (Tyrone Williams/Marley Marl/Mr. Magic)

Title(s): Tyrone Williams - Co-founder of Cold Chillin Records
Marley Marl - Producer
Mr. Magic - Radio DJ 
Artists They Worked With: Eric B. & Rakim, Lords of the Underground, Nas

John “Mr. Magic” Rivas was the very first DJ to host a hip-hop radio show. Magic began on a local New York community station called WHBI, and then moved to commercial FM powerhouse WBLS.

By the mid-1980s, they called him “Sir Juice” and his tight-knit group of associates “The Juice Crew.” But the Juice Crew moniker came to stand for the extended family of rap artists championed by Magic and his associates Tyrone Williams and Marlon “Marley Marl” Williams: MC Shan. Biz Markie. Big Daddy Kane. Roxanne Shante. Masta Ace. Craig G. Tragedy. Kool G. Rap. The Genius (later known as The GZA). These artists comprised the roster of Tyrone Williams’ label, Cold Chillin’ Records, later distributed by Warner Bros. Records.

To be sure, Mr. Magic — like Red Alert —was a funnel through which almost every rap artists in the 1980s had to pass in order to become a success. But the talent of each signing was undeniable, and the sounds of these artists were a truly dominant force in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The Juice Crew fizzled when Mr. Magic was unthroned at WBLS, and Cold Chillin’ foundered a few years later when that funnel ceased to be a resource.

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