Jay Lewis, a local radio personality for more than 19 years, can be heard Wednesdays from 9:30 p.m. to midnight on WJCU-FM 88.7 and on Blastradio.org.
What's your first memory of music?
Gotta be the early '70s, when I was a kid. Moms and Pops used to throw parties and would spin funk, soul, and blues. Up in our room, I'm nodding my head to the grooves.
What drew you to work in radio?
I got hooked listening to air personalities from FM 108, 92.3 WLYT, 93 FM WZAK, and from Canadian stations like CKLW. Back then, an air personality would say something provocative, and the listener would react. When I used to live in N.Y.C., I listened to the late Frankie Crocker, who also really inspired me to be a radio jock.
What was it like in New York in the early '90s, when rap was just taking off?
That was the golden age of hip-hop! You had all types of different rappers coming out with their own styles. It wasn't about the corporate companies back then, who just wanted to make a buck off some lame-ass rapper. It was about rappers having fun, just wanting to tell their story to the world.
What have you been listening to lately?
I been checking out Lupe Fiasco, the Procussionists, Little Brother, Skant Bone, Komika, Meagan Rochelle, and Leela James. I like the cerebral hip-hop, plus some good singers.
What five local hip-hop cats have the most flavor?
1. Suave Goddi. 2. 216. 3. Ray Cash. 4. Skant Bone. 5. Aarophat.
What's your take on Cleveland hip-hop?
It's getting better, but rappers need to learn the business, not by watching videos or thinking they know how to do this. Please, learn about contracts, points, front money, etc.
What would you tell someone interested in doing radio?
You gotta have a passion for this business. Don't be afraid to mess up. Oh yeah -- and keep your day job.