New York icon Funkmaster Flex (real name Aston Taylor) has been a commercial DJ on Hot 97.0 for over two decades and has made a lot of history during his tenure on the radio station.
Born and raised in the Bronx, the turntablist worked alongside Chuck Chillout at Kiss FM 98.7 during the early-1980s. However, during the late-’80s, when Taylor gained recognition as a club DJ, Joel Salkowitz of Hot 97.0 began broadcasting Flex’s club sets on the radio. Due to its immense popularity, Taylor was offered a show on the station in 1992 and has remained there to this day.
As the station’s most prominent DJ, Funk Flex is the key to New York and, alongside figures such as Ebro Darden, has a lot of control over what the city of New York hears on their biggest urban radio station.
That said, Taylor is one of the first people labels to receive upcoming music for radio play, and in 2011, ahead of the release of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s collaborative project Watch The Throne, Flex premiered ‘Otis’ (a three-minute song) for over 30 minutes restarting over ten times out of sheer excitement.
The premiere has become somewhat legendary as it was so thrilling yet so ridiculous at the same time. To hear the entire song, listeners of Hot 97.0 had to wait over 30 minutes as Flex told hip-hop artist’s not to release music.
Repeatedly rewinding the song, dropping bombs, and promoting his website, the DJ screamed crazy sentences such as “New York City, you listen to me! If you’re near a convenience store right now, any type of 24-hour store, go into the store right now and put your hand in the cash register for no reason! Their money is your money as of right now!”
The premiere was legendary, and looking back, many would call Flex unhinged. However, it is still an extremely fun listen, although it takes over 30 minutes to hear the single in full. You can hear the premiere in the video below.