TOLEDO HIP HOP 101: DJ MIXX
TOLEDO HIP HOP 101 is a regular installment of articles exploring the history, people, music, and culture of Toledo's vast Hip Hop community.
MOMENT OF SILENCE
Remembering the “Dick Clark” of Toledo Hip-Hop; DJ MIXX
On October 20th 2004, a deafening silence fell on Toledo’s Hip-Hop community as we laid to rest our emissary, DJ Mixx.
Traditionally we ask for a moment of silence at a time like this. But for those of us who were blessed by his presence, the “moment” feels like an eternity.
“I’m a DJ mute,” laments DJ Lightning Rod. This man’s grief is exceptional. For 14 years, Mixx and Lightening Rod rocked every club the Glass City offered.
From Lodeana’s, to the Drop Zone, to the Blueprint, Mixx and Rod were our very own Eric B and Rakim; Mixx on the mic and Rod on the cuts.
“I didn’t need to talk,” Rod says. “He was my mouth. And I was the hands. Like one person. It’s all bad now. I’m a DJ mute without my mouthpiece.”
Mixx may not have been a rapper but he was a true Master of Ceremonies. His sincere character made the party feel like a weekly family reunion. “As soon as he grabbed the mic the atmosphere changed,” Rod recalls. “He knew everybody, so when you walked in the place you were acknowledged like you were V.I.P. It made you feel like somebody.”
At 44, Mixx had garnished the respect of Toledo’s DJ elite. Along with Lightning Rod, he paved the way for a new era of Hip-Hop DJs such as Keith Success, Kaj Boogie, J-Roc, One1XTyme, and others.
The veteran gave Rod the nod in 1990 when he pronounced Rod as the winner of an impromptu DJ battle at Lodeana’s. When the dust settled, Mixx candidly told his blood brother, Dirty Red, “Man, dude beat you.”
Rod describes the significance of his judgment as, “if [Henry] Ford was around today and said, ‘Hey this is a great car or a great truck’, somebody would really take that to heart.”
“On the Hip-Hop scene Mixx [was] like the Dick Clark of Hip-Hop.”
And to think, his passing seemingly went unnoticed by the Toledo community at large. Hip-Hop heads like me were mortified when they discovered that Mixx’s face didn’t adorn the cover of any news publication (Black or White) the day after his death.
This happened because his humble demeanor gave the impression he was a commoner. Mixx always carried his nobility with distinction and humility. He wasn’t your atypical, iced out, egotistical rapper perched high on his 24 inch rims. He worked a 9 to 5 grind like the rest of us and showed up at the club fashionably late around 11 o’clock just like everyone else. And like the rest of us he met the fate that we all must face one day.
But unlike the rest of us, Mixx’s absence leaves a deafening void in Toledo’s Hip-Hop scene. “Nobody will ever take his place,” Rod declares. “[Other DJs] in the house don’t even want to get on the mic. They don’t feel right. And I don’t blame them.”
To drive this point home, the last microphone Mixx ever touched has been mounted on a plaque at the Blueprint, never to be used again.
So the next time you’re at a club or listening to the radio and the DJ asks you to remember the death of some dead and gone icon like Biggie or Tupac, take a moment to commemorate your native son.
Put two fingers in the air for my man DJ Mixx.
To explore Toledo Hip Hop even more, visit ToledoHipHop.org