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Khool Aid is All Smiles at Pocos Pero Locos
9/1/05 - LatinRapper.com exclusive interview

 

DJ Khool Aid picture

If you don't recognize the plume of bright red hair at first glance, then you will more than likely recognize the voice of Khool Aid, host of the nationally syndicated radio program Pocos Pero Locos.

The three-hour weekly program, which airs on nearly 40 stations nationally, features artists like Lil Rob, Spanish Fly, NB Ridaz and Chingo Bling.


Aside from hosting Pocos Pero Locos, Khool Aid can be heard during middays on Power 106 (KPWR), the top-rated rhythmic radio station in Los Angeles along with host E-Dub. Khool Aid speaks with us on the origin of Pocos and more in our exclusive interview.

 

Latinrapper.com: How did you first get into radio?

I knew I wanted to be a DJ on the radio station, Power 106, since I was 12, I had pictures of all the power 106 DJs on my locker. It wasn't like I grew up wanting to just be in radio, but on Power 106, because its so influential on youth culture, and that's where it started.

You're from L.A. originally?

I'm a military brat, I was born in New Mexico, and then the family moved to Colorado. But my years that mattered, my 6th grade year we moved to Los Angeles, the Valley, I grew up in the San Fernando valley.

Are you involved with music outside of being a DJ, as far as rhyming or producing?

Me personally no, but I do like to put projects together to make things bigger, like connect people, bring genres together. Like Voltio, I wanna make sure a credible dude like that gets on a record that matters with someone form our side. Get Cuban Link on the record to expand Latin hip hop. Or getting Chingo Bling, Zion and Lennox on a track with a Spanish Fly to really expand the game.

 

My whole focus is just for the music, I'm good where I'm at, I'm my own personality. And what's important to me is the growth of the movement. Especially with mainstream radio trying to jump on it now, its important that we keep it here, just like any form of hip hop. And unfortunately I truly wish it didn't have to be separated, but the doors weren't open, we had to do what we had to do to open the doors for Latin hip hop.

What's your favorite memory of working on radio so far?

That's a good one (laughs), oooh look at you getting all Barbara Walters on me (laughs). There was two, the day that I got called to sign my deal at Power 106, and the day we launched Pocos Pero Locos, because it was such an important date to the movement, a new musical youth culture. And God blessed me with such a platform and opportunity so ahead of the game.

 

Anyone can have any criticism of me, but any artist and people on the street know that we've been a staple since day one. I've funneled my own money into the movement, any artist that I believe in, knows the emotional level and intensity when I believe in somebody's voice. A Lil Rob, or Baby Bash, or Tego Calderon, they'll tell you. I take pride in the fat that if you say my name around them, they'll smile and laugh and know they have an outlet with someone who's down.

 

Just the people, that's why I do what I do. And now its just like mad dope to see the growth of the Latino voice in the world of entertainment, and entertainment now, and that the voice keeps growing stronger.

Who haven't you interviewed that you'd love to have on the show?

You know what... See I like being part of building something, seeing something before its built. A lot of these artist, Bash, Tego, weren't big when we started, I get interviews from the struggle. This is the struggle, the vision. Honestly, I cant think of... artistwise, we've been pretty on target, what we focus on is what the people want. You'll hear the people, "Tego, Tego, Rob Rob", anyone can complain that I ride too hard for certain artists, but the streets ride, that's what motivates me.

Do you put out mixtapes like most high-profile DJs?

We've got some Pocos Pero Locos compilations out there, most requested songs from the phone lines and the internet. Because there are so many dope artists out there, people call out there asking about "who says the line 'Smash That Trash' on the radio", I'll have to tell them "that's Grim out of Houston." And the kids in Chicago can't find Grim albums, so we help by putting them on comps.

How did Pocos Pero Locos come about?

Whooooo, you're not gonna be able to type that fast (laughs). Me being Jewish and coming from the background I came from, the stories of my family being persecuted, I was a fan of Spanish Fly, Lil Rob, Knightowl, that's what I grew up on, I had these artists on my deck. When I came on air at Q 104.7 in Oxnard, I would hear the request for the artists, but there were no Latino superstars.

 

So going on seven years ago, first thing I did was went into my boss' office, Jimmy Steele, an O.G. really depending on his DJs to keep their ear to the streets. I dumped my collection of Latin hip hop on his couch. I said, "Look, we target Latinos, I think we should start creating Latino superstars." He tripped out because he saw all these CDs with Latino faces on it, I was a big fan of the music. When I first started the show, E-Dub my husband thought I was crazy. One night I had a dream, I'm getting a Latin hip hop show on Power 106, because I know how influential it is. Who can we get to host the show, you're trying to find a good latin jock, and on top of that finding someone who knew the music, and E-dub said "you're tripping, you need to host the show, you know the music, you love the music, why are we gonna get someone to host the show and fake the funk."

Jimmy said put together an air check, its like an snippet of what it would sound like. Instead we put together an hour long show in E-dub's father's garage, that's where E-Dub's studio was in Oxnard. We worked real hard on it, Jimmy was amazed by all the Latino and Chicano imaging, he said lets run it, what do we have to lose. So we promoted the first show by making flyers at Kinkos and going to all the local high schools, swapmeets, places that mattered, we were never afraid to go anywhere.

 

He gave us a midnight spot, I'm not gonna lie, I was s**tting my pants because think of all the Latino DJs that got on in L.A., and here I am bringing a Latin show to the radio. I was scared, midnight comes first break we have Lil Rob, Knightowl, Spanish Fly, and phone lines lit up. You don't get very many calls on a Sunday night on midnight. People crying, "I cant believe you're playing music I grew up to, Lil Rob" and I knew something big was on our hands. And beside the music was the voice of the community, and people reaching out, and that's why we thought it was important to expand that voice.

We had a friend, Joe Lopez with Upstairs Records, before they had signed Lil Rob, we had met her because of the NB Ridaz project. And she said, I have a friend J.D. Gonzales with Univision, and she said he's a lot like you, passionate about his people and the future of Latino radio, and I think he'll totally get what you guys are doing. Me and E-Dub and uncle Art and all the riders hopped in the car and drove to San Antonio, and I sat down with J.D. Gonzales.

 

At that time it was just a local two hour show getting media attention and noise in the streets, I was confident in the people that it could work. I told J.D. that I had a vision that the kids on Sunset, the kids in San Diego, talking to the kids on San Antonio. And he had influence with San Antonio, the kids in San Antonio hearing the slang of the kids in Santa Ana, its going to be a Latin unity chant. He said "it sounds like a great idea, when are we gonna start."

 

It started in San Antonio, and we were pulling unbelievable shares which had never been done in Latin radio. And it snowballed, now we're up to almost 40 [stations]. And obviously where before I had to fight for these records and fight for Baby Bash and Lil Rob, me and Chingo would sit there when Chingo didn't have his Paul Wall grill, when he only had tin foil on his mouth (laughs). So yeah, it was the beginning days (laughs).

So what do you hope to achieve with Pocos in the future?

I can honestly say, obviously staying in the same direction, and that's breaking the artists that the people really want. And that aren't political artists, that are THEIR artists, and stayin' true to that. I could die happy with Pocos as large as the movement is, I just want it to move forward, the purity of the music, the voice of the people, its their outlet. I wanna see real people empowered by it, real people with the right vision, like a Lil Rob, or a Voltio, or a Spanish Fly, or a Cuban.

Any advice for aspiring DJs out there who want to get into radio?

Get ready to live in the boondocks for a minute (laughs). No, just really focusing, focus is the main thing, whatever you want to do. If you want to be in radio, rap, be a producer. People want to do things but don't focus. If you don't see the finish line you're running for, you aint gonna get there. I think a lot of kids who pursue the industry pursue it for fame, with no focus.

Any last message you'd like to add?

Believe in yourself, and believe in the people you represent and that you believe in, is the true key to success no matter what you're doing. And of course, staying on game on my latinrapper website (laughs).
 

Pocos Pero Locos official website: http://www.pocosperolocos.fm

Khool Aid on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/15477096

Khool Aid on Twitter: http://twitter.com/khoolaid

 

 


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