LWR 92.5 ROLL CALL!
DJ, radio & media personality
Tim Westwood, arguably the most recognised urban DJ of the last 30 years. Without doubt he’s a character that divides opinion. However, his passion and support for Hip-Hop in the Uk and globally over the years cannot be understated.
Westwood began his radio career with LWR during the Johnny Heywood, Keith Green (John Dawson) era playing mainly Soul & Funk. But from April 1984, once a week on a Tuesday evening, 10pm to 1am. Tim played the freshest US imports from the emerging Electro /Hip-Hop music scene primarily from New York, which he called the Zulu Beat Show.
Despite the show becoming increasingly popular. LWR unfortunately left the airwaves in July 1984. Leaving Tim to rely on club gigs, once again encountering resistance to him playing electro in his sets, within a soul scene that at the time considered the genre a short lived fad.
However, Zak and Fuzzy took over LWR in September 1984, changing the music policy from a pop format to 100% black music, backed with the resources to extend and maintain a 24 hour day broadcast throughout the week.
Zak recognising the potential impact of Hip-Hop culture in the UK allocated Westwood the drive time shows on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, 4-6pm each week, in addition to Westwood‘s popular Tuesday night Zulu Beat show and Sunday afternoon’s more soul, funk orientated show between 2-4pm (the future UK rap star Derek Boland followed 4-6pm). This gave Westwood an authentic trendsetting black music platform to pioneer hip-hop to a growing legion of young fans, hosting drive-time shows playing soul, funk and of course plenty of hip-hop.
His Tuesday night Zulu Beat show was almost exclusively hip-hop
focused, and had a raw, underground feel, often featuring mixtapes from aspiring bedroom Dj’s, alongside the star US hip-hop DJ’s of the era, propelling Westwood to the forefront of the B-Boy scene. He was also one of the leading DJ’s to play breakbeats, way before people understood the concept of how breaks were used in the hip-hop tracks he played.
‘Only LWR and Invicta realised that (sic) Electro sounds coming out my beatbox’
A quote from Westwood published in 1984, from his debut Zulu Nation column (the first hip-hop feature in print media) that ran for two years in the Blues & Soul magazine . Westwood was given one or two pages every issue to write about the latest electro imports, artists, charts and gigs. He later wrote;
‘The first organised rap club/night was late on a Monday night in a strip club upstairs in a Soho’s Mead street. There was always an overlap of MC’s staring and strippers finishing! The line-up included the legendary Cyberman, Starry Eyes, Man Friday, Jive Jr., Dizzy Heights and flash Four.’
Westwood’s meteoric rise from his Ace roller disco Thursday evenings in Brixton, Gossips on Friday nights and other residencies at Peoples, Kisses, Maximus, playing mainly soul & funk with a touch of electro in 1984, continued through his drive-time era (managed by Zak‘s Midas DJ agency), to playing 100% hip-hop gigs and residencies; including Sunday nights at Soul City (aka Heaven), Saturday lunchtimes at the Electric Ballroom and The Wag Club, to one off events such as; the open air hip-hop alldayer for the GLC at the South Bank attracting 35,000 b-boys and girls, plus Battersea, Brixton, Southall, Lewisham, Piccadilly Circus tube station attracting 10,000 b-boys and girls, appearances at the monthly Birmingham Powerhouse alldayers. Plus supporting Run DMC at Busby’s and Electric Ballroom. Fat Boys at the Wag Club. Afrika Banbaataa, SSF and Shango at the Hammersmith Odeon.
Westwood departed from LWR in 1986. However, by that stage he was already the lead purveyor of the UK rap scene. His time with LWR provided the super solid foundation he built his future endeavours on.
So we salute Tim Westwood, who with LWR pioneered the early UK hip-hop scene, and has remained at the forefront ever since. Westwood is a true legend in rap culte