Hot 102.5 blasts out hot, old-school hip-hop beats

by Grant Tillery

The Twin Cities radio dials offers slim pickings when it comes to enjoyable playlists. The Current’s eclectic rotation never fails (though can be a tad predictable at times), and Radio K provides a great introduction to new artists destined to be spun on the Current in a year, as well as shows that delve into underappreciated genres deserving of more attention and appreciation.

Beyond these two stalwarts, the options are dismal. KMOJ plays great throwback soul on the weekends and KFAI is always worth a listen, but too many stations were bastardized when Clear Channel Radio (now iHeartMedia) began their takeover of the airwaves 10 or so years ago. KOOL 108 became the place where bad ‘80s hits go to die, and the dual country stations of 102.1 and 102.9 provided proof that civilized society as we know it is collapsing – if one of them played old time country music, that would be a different story, but no city needs two modern country stations.

Last month saw the launch of Hot 102.5, a commercial free station blasting nothing but old school hip-hop and R&B jams. While the station is owned by iHeartMedia, it’s become my go-to in the car on hot summer days.  Thanks to the sensuous bottom-heavy beats and the cadence and flow of the unparalleled rhymes, there’s no better music to listen to when the early summer slow burn is at its hottest.

Just last Friday morning, I had the pleasure of hearing T.W.D.Y.’s “Player’s Holiday,” Biggie Smalls’ “One More Chance/Stay With Me (Remix)” and J. Lo and Ja Rule’s “I’m Real — Murder Remix” back to back to back. That’s as good a three-song set as you’re going to hear anywhere.  Sure, the sounds are a bit pop-y, but with cred that’s too legit to quit, who cares? Roll down your windows, open your moonroof and kick out the jams.