On this date in 1956, one of Hip Hop’s original gatekeepers, Fred Crute aka Kool DJ Red Alert, was born on the Caribbean island of Antigua. Red Alert, a Hampton University alumnus, has become one of the least celebrated trailblazers of Hip Hop’s in its 50th year celebration. In the immortal words of Just-Ice in his 1989 hit “Going Way Back”, “…and to earn a position and do hard work/ you could ask Kool Herc or my man Red Alert..”
Influenced by the likes of DJ Grandmaster Flowers and famed radio personality Frankie Crocker, Red Alert is recognized as the first DJ to record mix compilation albums, which later became known as the “mixtape”. Red was also at the forefront of the legendary BDP vs. The Juice Crew battle, in which he set off the on-wax war when he broke the “South Bronx” single on KISS FM . Red is also the first radio DJ to play dancehall music on-air in the mid 80s. Red is also known for his signature chant “YEAAAAaaaaaah!” at the beginning and throughout his radio show mixes and appearances on various rap classic records.
Once established on NYC’s 98.7 KISS FM as the station’s premier Hip Hop DJ, Red Alert discovered more than a few legendary groups including the Jungle Brothers, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah and other artists who were under the Native Tongues umbrella. He is also the only Hip Hop DJ with a display in the coveted Rock N’ Roll Hall Of Fame in Ohio.
Salute to Red on his 67th born day and for his unprecedented contribution to the culture of Hip Hop!