Q&A: HOT 97's Peter Rosenberg Talks "Minor League Rappers" and Ebro

Peter Rosenberg is doin' it in the park
As much as the general public gets the lion's share of their music off the Internet, in many ways terrestrial radio still rules the land. Which makes a dude like Peter Rosenberg's job at New York's Hot 97 (Emmis Communications) extra hard. Rosenberg has the distinct honor of being the glimmer of hope for those artists his boss, Program Director Ebro Darden, has deemed "minor league" rappers to get some airplay, albeit on a Sunday night from12am- 2am. Ten years ago the goons were posted outside Hot97's offices waiting for DJ Kay Slay for that opportunity. Now they're running up on Rosenberg. Lucky him.

His role as a gatekeeper can get messy though. On the one hand he's championed artists like Odd Future and even landed an interview with the ever-elusive Earl Sweatshirt. On the other, his strong opinions have alienated some of Hot 97's more pop oriented listeners and artists, like when he famously took a swipe at Nicki Minaj's "Starships" at Summer Jam last year. Throw in a few light squabbles with some bloggers and you start to get an idea of what a day at the office is like for Peter Rosenberg. But if you still have no idea what the man goes through then read on, rap fan, read on...

Join Peter Rosenberg today in Williamsburg Park for the 2nd Annual Peterpalooza featuring Odd Future, Meek Mill, and Schoolboy Q.

See also:
Nicki Minaj Met Her Nemesis Live on Hot 97 This Morning

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WIN TICKETS to Peter Rosenberg's Birthday Bash feat. Odd Future, Meek Mill & Schoolboy Q

Categories: Hot 97

Way waaaaaay back in the day, when Odd Future were on the come up and only had 15K views on their respective YouTube videos Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg was playing them on his Sunday night show. Over the years they've developed a relationship. He was there on the ground floor before their career exploded. And so, naturally, now that Rosenberg is turning 65* it only makes sense he'd have his buddies play his birthday party. It happens Saturday. Schoolboy Q and Meek Mill will be there too***. It's going to great. There will be cake**. And we have tickets.

See also: These Odd Future Shirts Should Not Be Banned From Schools!

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Nicki Minaj Met Her Nemesis Live on Hot 97 This Morning

Categories: Hot 97

Nicki Minaj, with Hot 97 Program Director Ebro looking on.
Nearly a year ago Hot 97 DJ Peter Rosenberg stepped in a fresh pile of shit live onstage at Summer Jam when he wore his backpack on his sleeve and straight dissed Nicki Minaj's super-hit "Starships." You'll recall, in his attempt to kowtow to the "real" hip-hop fans in the crowd at a secondary stage and watching live via Internet stream, Rosenberg called "Starships" "bullshit." Minaj -- usually very level headed and open to critique -- surprisingly didn't cop well to what he had to say. She refused to perform. The New York Times hit the nail on the head in a summary of events shortly after, Nicki called Funk Master Flex to vent, and life went on. But Minaj hasn't been on Hot 97 in person since the ordeal, and this morning, she and Rosenberg spoke face to face in order to find common ground. Did they?

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11 "Minor League Rappers" We Want To Hear on Hot 97

Categories: Hot 97

Ebro Darden on Combat Jack
Last week Hot 97 Program Director Ebro Darden offered a weak explanation about his stations narrow playlist and why they don't play up-and-coming locals, saying--in so many words--that artists not getting spins on the station simply aren't ready for them. They're too underground. They haven't worked hard enough. They are, to quote Ebro, "minor league rappers", not yet ready for the big stage. It's a natural part of growing as an artist, you see. Jay-Z had to earn his Hot 97 roster spot--"The Majors"--so other New York City rappers have to too. Quit crying about it, and do work.

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Live: Busta Rhymes Pauses Conversation With Bun B To Perform At Angie Martinez's BBQ

Angie Martinez's Backyard BBQ
The Garden At Studio Square
Saturday, August 18

Better than: Getting lost coming home from Queens.

CBS sitcoms, Tom Wolfe and Republicans alike have all painted New York City as a noisy, grimy nightmare, a melting pot of sex and kvetching, guns and soupy hot dogs, where steam rises like prices and trash falls like dreams. No place for families, a godless murderzone where the women are as fast as streets are clogged, where stress stains the ceilings and piss, the sidewalks. Bright lights lit by hellfire and Wall Street's cigars. Millions of people—all strangers—passing one another, every face as hard as their concrete surroundings, a Darwinian experiment thrown to the rats.

It's almost out of character for the city, then, that Angie Martinez's BBQ on Saturday night was so low-key, so relaxed, a small-town block party held in often-overlooked Queens. Grids of dominos and games of spades played out among the trees and open sky; pitchers of sangria and lemonade held down the picnic tables. All that made the night distinctly New York were the names involved, a polka-dot collection of bold-faces: Questlove mixing VIC's "Get Silly" into dead prez into "Dance (A$$)" onstage while Joe Budden, Fabolous, Sanaa Lathen and Gabrielle Union Instagrammed one another in VIP. A scruffy Miguel stepped over legs and under arms to get to the bar, as DJ Khaled engaged in flirt-fighting with his fiancée over a smoking cigarillo. We found love in a hopeless place.

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Nicki Minaj, Summer Jam, Pop Fans, And What's "Real": A Few Thoughts

Last night on Hot 97, Nicki Minaj called in to Funkmaster Flex's show to chat about the sliced brisket that led to her peacing out of Sunday's Summer Jam. A brief recap: Hot 97 morning guy Peter Rosenberg called out "chicks waiting to sing [Minaj's poppy single] 'Starships' later," then called the song "bullshit," then noted that he was more interested in "real hip-hop shit." Lil Wayne, head of Minaj's crew Young Money, then tweeted that he'd pulled his people out of the show—including Nicki, who was set to headline; angry Tweets flew and Flex said that the station "ain't fuckin' with commercial rappers no more"; and Nas and Lauryn Hill filled in. Fast-forward to last night, when Nicki and Flex spent about an hour on the phone; audio below.

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Live: Nicki Minaj Takes Off From Summer Jam, Nas And Lauryn Hill Climb Aboard

Jen Diaz/Hot 97
Lauryn Hill.
Hot 97 Summer Jam: Nicki Minaj, Young Jeezy, Rick Ross, J. Cole, Wale, Meek Mill, DJ Khaled, Waka Flocka, Trey Songz, Maino, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, French Montana, Mavado, Tyga, Slaughterhouse (and Nas and Lauryn Hill)
MetLife Stadium
Sunday, June 3

Better than: Seeing a Nicki Minaj concert.

In an era of increasing separation and ever-tinier attention spans, it's almost quaint to celebrate a tradition like Hot 97's Summer Jam with 60,000 of your closest friends.

Each year, Summer Jam means a sunny early afternoon heading over to the Meadowlands, the constant threat of rain during the afternoon hours, a few rap songs here and there with rappers featuring other rappers, walking into a chilly night leaving the show, and general ratchetness in the parking lot before, during, and after the concert.

Oh, and drama! Plenty of drama—which, in the years since Jay-Z vs. Nas evaporated, has turned into yawn vs. shrug.

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A Beginner's Guide To Funkmaster Flex's Instagram Account

"Getting ready to tear this bitch down!!! Funk Flex!!! Mean!!! Webster hall!!!"
Those familiar with Funkmaster Flex, Hot 97's nighttime DJ and the one man Jay-Z and Kanye West trusted to break Watch the Throne lead single "Otis," know that on top his love for boom bap and muscle cars, Flex is something of a tech dork, fiending for the newest tablets and phones, blogging at inflexwetrust.com, and bragging on air about his Twitter followers and Facebook friends. Two months ago, however, he added another social network, joining Instagram (the self-described "fun & quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures") and amassing nearly 20,000 followers who are greeted throughout the day with photos of everything from Flex's kids to his computer screen.

To outsiders, this mass of images might seem daunting, but upon closer inspection, it turns out to be as good an introduction to the life of our Best Radio DJ in New York as his 60 Minutes of Funk mixtape series was to Tunnel-era rap. For this reason, we're jumping off Flex's most recent post, a low angle shot of his dentist preparing to clean his teeth, with the caption "Dr. Feldman getting in crazy!!! Dentist time !!!!!," and bringing you this brief beginner's guide to an Instagram account that's as singular as its owner.

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Peter Rosenberg's What's Poppin' Vol. 1 Takes The New York Hip-Hop Scene's Pulse

New York City rappers have been cast as something of the rap world's whipping boys for more than a few years now. Not only is it fashionable to paint the city's scene as still stuck in the '90s—that's, er, despite the man who effectively runs rap, old man Jay-Z, being pretty proud to hail from Brooklyn—even sympathetic profiles of the city's up-and-comers feel the need to ponder whether the MCs in question can break some sort of curse of the five boroughs. But this way of thinking is bunkum at best, and a clichĂ© at worst.

But those people who've even casually cocked their ears toward the underground know that NYC rap has been doing just fine of late; a unified scene and a common vision have been slowly forming. Radio warrior Peter Rosenberg's first installment in the What's Poppin' mixtape series might not be an outright statement of hometown health, but with over half of the tape's 23 tracks showcasing artists who call NYC home, it's a timely reminder of the scene's promise.

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The Five Most Controversial Summer Jam Moments

The rat who symbolized 50 Cent at Summer Jam 2005. Ah, memories.
Verbal insults! Wanton violence! Temper tantrums! Comical jpegs of foes! Mock lynchings live on stage! Sunday brings us another installment of Hot 97 Summer Jam, wherein rap's leading lights get the chance to prove the accuracy of the adage about modern hip-hop being closer to the world of professional wrestling than anything Afrika Bambaataa ever envisaged back in the '70s. So as a glittering lineup of Lil Wayne, Drake, Rick Ross, Wiz Khalifa, and the peculiarly titled Lloyd Banks And Friends—which may just be a titular ruse to get committed Ross enemy 50 Cent into the venue, what with rumors of Curtis being banned from Summer Jam events—all prepare to take the stage this Sunday, here's a far-from-virtuous look back at Summer Jam's most controversial moments.

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