Hip Hop has been a big part of my life. I am a big hip hop head. I have listened to Tim Westwood for over 20 years from his time at Capital FM to BBC Radio 1. Tim open doors for many artists. His late night rap shows were legendary with his live New York Rap exchanges with Funkmaster Flex. No hip hop artist would venture on TV or feature in a magazine in the UK without being interviewed or endorsed by Westwood. Whether you were a die hard or newbie to the scene, Westwood’s rap show set the bar for tapping into hip hop culture. It was my first discovery for major rap artists like NWA, London Posse, Public Enemy, Monie Love, Nas to Notorious Big.
Charlie Sloth was handed the baton to connect with the next generation of Radio 1 and 1Xtra listeners when he took over from Westwood in 2013. He was handed a show which Westwood took years to construct and take to a national audience from his stints on Kiss and Capital FM in the late 80′s. Sloth recently announced live on air that he was leaving Radio 1 and 1Xtra to pursue other interests. Rumours have been circulating Sloth maybe on the move to Apple’s Beats 1 taking his Fire in the booth series along with him. On Thursday night at the Audio and Radio Industry Awards (ARIAS) Charlie Sloth was nominated in the best specialist show category. It was awarded to former Radio 1 DJ Edith Bowman for her weekly podcast. Whilst she was on stage giving her acceptance speech Charlie Sloth crashed the stage and said “Edith Bowman… f**** your life. I just wanna say BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Saturday night Rap Show. F*** your life. God bless.”
Social media has not been kind to Sloth, some mocking his fake persona and accent, others referring to his stupidity. He has since been sacked by the BBC and currently hasn’t got a radio home. As a big hip hop fan and someone who has idolised Westwood whilst trying to get into radio, Sloth’s rant didn’t represent hip hop radio in a good way, he has disrespected hip hop radio. It was a sad moment which should not be embraced or celebrated. It mocked the hip hop scene in a major way. There have been comparisons to his rant with Kanye West and Taylor Swift. But it’s also highlighted how women are generally treated when winning awards within the radio industry. A similar thing happened when Huey Morgan was critical of Lauren Laverne and Fearne Cotton on Twitter over their Radio Awards wins in 2012. He tweeted: “They ain’t gonna let some dude from NYC win this shit. Fern, Lauren, Chris. Yeah right, that’s cool? Suckers they come a dime a dozen...I am the peoples champ, don’t need no award. Y’all know how it be,” before adding: “Yo, Fern cotton won a gold award, s*** is fake!”
There is still a high degree of jealousy amongst male DJs envious of female DJs who excel. Somehow, they are constantly left vulnerable and distressed over the success of their female counterparts. The radio industry is still trying to find it’s way with equality. Most breakfast shows across the UK are still male led with female presenters used as a side kick or travel presenter. Zoe Ball’s scooping the Radio 2 Breakfast show recently from Chris Evans sends a clear message, women can do it for themselves and they certainly don’t need any help from their male counterparts. Let’s hope Sloth will wise up on his next radio adventure and at least acknowledge his nominees next time he is put forward for an award.