Personal Documentation Of The First Time I Heard Of Dj Clue?

Looking back, the 90s were just so interesting that sometimes I shudder to think how much has changed since then. This was the era of payphones, video, and radio cassettes. The era where we all rocked Fubu, extra baggy jeans, and Timberland boots. The era where we all waited for new issues of Hip-Hop magazines like Word-Up, Black Beat, and of course The Source Magazine.

While I consumed tapes from luminaries like Funkmaster Flex, Kid Capri, DJ Premier, Stretch Armstrong, et al, one name that rang louder than fireworks on New Year’s eve was that of a man called DJ Clue?

The man singlehandedly held it down and was at his peak from the late 90s to the early 2000s with his commercially successful The Professional series. In my opinion, he was the DJ Khaled of the 90s in terms of the way he hosted his tapes and songs. He definitely was less boisterous in life compared to Khaled but nevertheless DJ Clue? was the man.

Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria, getting hold of new music was streamlined to either

1: Waiting to record if off the radio station that played hip-hop. Special shouts to Rhythm FM (I have to do a separate post on how they really spurred my love for rap)

2: Save up money to cop CDs, which were ridiculously expensive at the time

3: Pay local DJ’s to record special mixes of the new olds. Shouts to DJ Jimmy Jatt and others.

4: Make cassette mixes from friends who were fortunate to cop those CDs.

I must admit I first heard of Clue when he put out his debut LP The Professional 1 in 1998 but for the record, the man has been dropping underground mixtapes since 1994 (Well I was way too young then so pardon me). From the legendary ‘Show Me The Money’ 2 pt series to ‘DJ Clue for President’ amongst scores of releases. The debut LP is a certified classic by all means and just looking at the tracklist filled with all my favorite emcees at the time got me dizzy and wanting more. Who could forget the hard-hitting “Fantastic Four” with Canibus (who literally tore up the record), Nore, Big Pun, and Cam’Ron, or the song that introduced us all to Fabulous Sport? Clue even got Mariah Carey, who was arguably the hottest singer at the time, to do a skit for him.

As for how I even got the CD, I had this high school classmate of mine whose older cousin is a hip-hop head so he happened to cop the project and one thing led to another. At the time, you had to be careful lending CDs and tapes because some cats can be shystie or plain careless when it comes to handling these delicate things. You see, back then, I never joked around with my mixes and meticulously arranged my tapes in my own unique way. Don’t ask me why.

I still have the majority of all my cassette tapes stored away and guess what, The Professional is right there in the bunch.



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