Mr. Magic

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Mr. Magic
Birth name John Rivas
Born (1956-03-15)March 15, 1956
The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
Died October 2, 2009(2009-10-02) (aged 53)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York, United States
Genres Hip hop, Electro
Occupation(s) DJ
Instruments Turntables
Years active 1979–2002
Labels Magic
Associated acts Marley Marl
Juice Crew

John "Mr. Magic" Rivas, (March 15, 1956 – October 2, 2009)[1] was a prominent hip hop radio DJ.


Mr. Magic debuted in 1979 on WHBI-FM in New York City with “Disco Showcase” on the pay-for-time FM station. It was a far cry from the prime time in New York, what he didn’t realize was he was starting the very first rap radio show. A few short years would go by and Frankie Crocker, program manager for Inner City Broadcasting, took his rising star to commercial powerhouse WBLS with the first exclusive rap radio show to be aired on a major station.[2] Rap Attack, Magic's show featured Marley Marl as the DJ and Tyrone "Fly Ty" Williams as the show's co-producer. Magic moved full-time to WBLS-FM in July 1982. His reign on the New York City airwaves lasted six years and was instrumental in broadening the scope and validity of hip-hop music.[3] Mr. Magic recorded one 12" single as an artist "Magic's Message (There's A Better Way)",[4] produced by Spyder D for Posse Records in 1984. He is also interviewed in the 1986 cult documentary Big Fun In The Big Town.[5]

During the mid-80s there was a rivalry between Mr. Magic and Kool DJ Red Alert, who hosted a weekly show on WRKS-FM. The feud also played out between proxy rap groups, the Juice Crew and Boogie Down Productions (see The Bridge Wars). The Juice Crew – headed by Mr. Magic's on-air assistant, DJ Marley Marl – was named after one of Magic's aliases, "Sir Juice."[6]

In 2002 Magic lent his voice to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, as himself, a DJ on one of the in-game radio stations.


Mr. Magic died on the morning of October 2, 2009 from a heart attack.[7]


  1. ^ "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2009 July to December". Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Steve Kurutz. "Mr. Magic - Biography - AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Mr. Magic - Magic's Message (There's a Better Way) on YouTube". Retrieved 30 March 2016.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Mr. Cee and Mr. Magic: Interview". Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  7. ^ Mr. Magic, Real Name John Rivas, Brought Hip-Hop to Masses Archived 2009-10-05 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on October 2, 2009.

External links

  • Excerpt about Mr. Magic from "The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-Hop," (New American Library/Penguin, 2010
  • Biography on Allmusic
  • Vice City biography on IGN
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