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

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

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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

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

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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 cliché 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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