It’s hard to overstate the importance of radio DJs when hip-hop first gained popularity. Mr. Magic (pictured above, right, with Grandmaster Caz, 1981) was one of the few who lobbied to get rap music on the radio when it was new and considered an edgy, passing fad. His compilation tapes also introduced hip-hop to legions of cats outside New York. His impact is well documented in the many songs that referenced him (here’s an early example). Also called “Sir Juice”, he got Marley Marl on the radio and was an early proponent of the Juice Crew. John “Mr. Magic” Rivas passed away yesterday at 53. Here’s a nice NY Times piece on him; and another piece by Sasha Frere-Jones of The New Yorker. RIP.