Some do it for the fame. Some do it for the money. But the very best selectors play music for the love of it. Take DJ Junior, one of Philadelphia’s premiere purveyors of indie hip-hop, house, rare grooves, broken beat and afrobeat.
“I’ve never wanted to be the center of attention,” explains Junior, who grew up on his Jamaican parents’ socca and reggae and began collecting hip-hop and soul records at age 15. “I’m just a fan of music; I love introducing listeners to artists from different genres that they might not get a chance to hear.”
Each Friday from 6 to 9 PM EST, Junior shares this passion for independent artistry on Eavesdrop, the radio show he co-hosts with Philly producer Lil’ Dave . The 5-YEAR-OLD show, which is broadcast by Drexel University’s WKDU-FM and airs on Junior’s web site, www.recordbreakin.com, features interviews with artists like King Britt, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Ursula Rucker, Dwele, Lizz Fields, Platnium Pied Pipers, Jazzanova, and tracks by hundreds of signed and unsigned musicians. By providing a platform for those outside of the commercial loop, Eavesdrop has attracted a worldwide following of thousands, including ?uestlove, Zap Mama, Benji B (BBC 1Xtra), Rich Medina and Foreign Exchange’s Nicolay.
Although Junior is as low-key as they come, his unique gifts haven’t gone unnoticed, On the strength of his Eavesdrop interviews and the content he writes for recordbreakin.com, Junior was invited to Amsterdam, London, Manchester, and Lisbon where he did a dj tour, guest radio spots on BBC Radio 1Xtra, and interviewed various musicians and producers for various publications. He also pens music reviews for Beautiful Decay magazine, The Philadelphia Weekly and writes a column for Dork Magazine. In 2005, Junior was selected to design a sneaker for Puma’s Mongolian Barbecue project. He also began Excursions, a monthly listening lounge at Philadelphia’s Latest Dish.
But even as DJ Junior extends his reach, he remains focused on his original mission: to spread the good word on good music. “I’m very approachable,” says Junior. “ I don’t just play tracks and say, ‘Whoever gets it, gets it.’ That would be doing a disservice to the audience and the artists. My goal is to share. That’s why I write pieces about the artists who come on Eavesdrop, that’s why I post track lists on my site, and that’s why I archive everything I do. My goal isn’t to get a certain audience. It’s for everybody to hear quality music.”
Written by Akiba Solomon