UK Ambassador for HIP-HOP A name perhaps further from the subconscious of the typical urban music fan than more conspicuous superstars in our midst, DJ 279 is if anything a somewhat unsung hero of the UK Hip-Hop scene. A MOBO-nominated ambassador for all that is good about the state of Hip-Hop, the DJ also known as ‘Numbers’ regularly spreads his wings as far afield as South Africa, Scotland, Slovenia, Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Croatia, France, Holland, Cyprus, Germany and Greece, while simultaneously representing his sound at major events all round the UK.
Outside of his DJing prowess both in the clubs and studios, 279 also finds himself in frequent demand as an authority on the UK Hip-Hop scene and is involved in constant strategic contributions to large-scale industry events, working alongside titans of the music that include Public Enemy, Snoop Dogg, Rakim, EPMD and Dead Prez.
Those searching for 279’s career highlights can trace all the way back to the early 90′s, when the young Hip-Hop aficionado caught the attention of London-based station Choice FM’s Rap Show host, Steve Wren. An initial placement as lowly studio assistant could not have prepared 279 for the opportunity that would come his way two years later. Having risen through the ranks to be offered his own show on Saturday nights, this stint would ultimately last all of one week when Steve Wren announced his sudden departure from the Friday Rap Show, paving the way for 279 to step in and stamp his authority on the slot with a complete overhaul both of name and content… ‘Friday Nite Flavas’ was consequently born. The show proved a formidable platform for 279 to impose his individual style on the masses and word began to spread fast.
He would soon progress to launch Numberman Productions as a conduit for organising and promoting the now legendary brand ‘Flava of Da Month’ at London’s Borderline in Charing Cross Road. Showcasing the cream of UK Hip-Hop talent, the event has been pivotal in boosting the careers of many of today’s current UK Rap stars including Blak Twang, Skinnyman, Ty, Fallacy, and Funky DL. Now a widely-respected power within the local scene, 279 was offered a position in Mercury Records’ A&R department for Rap and Hip-Hop.
The following years saw an increasing number of accolades for this talented mover and shaker, collecting the ‘Best Hip-Hop Radio DJ’ award from Blues & Soul Magazine and in turn eclipsing national radio stations like Radio 1, KISS FM and Galaxy Radio. The turn of the millennium heralded an Ethnic Music & Media Award for 279 as ‘Best Radio Presenter’, and the second of 4 nominations for ‘Best DJ’ at the Music Of Black Origin Awards.
The following years were glittered with further recognition for 279, distinguished for both his contributions to Hip-Hop and as Personality Of The Year at the UK Hip-Hop awards in 2002, then going on to gain a nomination at the Sony Radio Awards in 2006 and the winner of Best Radio DJ at the UMA awards a year later.
In 2001, Choice FM made the decision to network Friday Night Flavas, rendering the show the first to be available on both their FM frequencies as well as all of their digital outputs; the show can know be heard in Leeds, Bristol, Newcastle, Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham. Meanwhile, the success of ‘Flava Of Da Month’ led to rapid expansion of 279’s production company. Numberman Productions created and presented a series of shows featuring a variety of US artists performing alongside some of the UK’s finest home-grown talent, resulting in rare exposure within the British Hip-Hop scene for the likes of Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, The Arsonists, Dead Prez, RZA, Pharcyde, Genius, Mad Skillz, Ras Kass, Masta Ace, Canibus, Sticky Fingaz (Onyx) and The Beatnuts, as well as legendary DJ’s such as Cash Money (DMC Champion 88), Mister Cee (Hot 97 NYC).
This continued into 2010 adding Termonology, AZ, Royce Da 5’9 and super producer DJ Premier, In Oct 2010 279’s Friday Nite Flavas Rap show reached an unprecedented 18 year of continuous broadcast in the same time slot. In order to mark the occasion, Numbers through yet another Flava Of The Month event, with Method Man & Redman headlining a very memorable event, attracting more than 1500 Hip Hoppers. In April 2011 Choice FM announced that Numbers had accepted the opportunity to promote his Rap show to Saturday evenings, Numbers can now be heard between midnight & 2am every week, and has promised more large scale events in 2013/4.