Operation Hideo: Hardest Working DJ Battles Cancer

If you were privy to the air waves of Los Angeles radio from 1997-2007, then it was next to impossible to listen and not have heard DJ Hideo in the mix at any given time. Dubbed “The Hardest working DJ on the West Coast,” DJ Hideo spent nearly a decade mixing and scratching his way into the fabric of West Coast radio. One would be hard pressed to find a person who has ever met DJ Hideo who wasn’t instantly taken in by his humility and infectious smile, so it came as a shock to family and friends to find out that one of the premier DJ’s of the West coast is in the fight of his life, as he battles colon cancer. Formerly of KKBT FM, 100.3 The Beat, DJ Hideo served as the Mix show Director, and Program and Production Assistant for the station, and made a name for himself on the radio as the DJ for the Steve Harvey Morning Show. In addition to the Steve Harvey show, Hideo did the John Salley’s Block Party, Saturday Night Live with host Eric Cubiche, The Friday Night Beat Down with host Corn Dogg, Soul Assassin Radio with Cypress Hill, Seditious Beats, Street Science with Dominique Di Prima and the many Summer Jam Events and Artist Concert Series, as well as being a founding member of the Cali Untouchables with DJ Warrior and DJ Strong, hence the title hardest working DJ. As a fan of the West Coast Movement, DJ Hideo produced and hosted the West Coast Takeover Show on XM satellite radio channel Raw 66 where he celebrated West Coast artists and was always a big supporter of underground artists that most radio DJ’s stayed away from. The latest expression of his passion for music is as at the Scratch DJ Academy (founded by Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC) in West Los Angeles, as a respected professor where he helps guide new students to the understanding of the true meaning of DJing and its respected position in hip-hop culture and history. Unfortunately this work was cut short due to his recent health issues. As is the case with many DJ’s and musicians as a whole, insurance is a serious issue and the costs have become a hardship, so the West coast hip-hop community has come together to support one of the most beloved DJ’s on the coast, by hosting the Operation Hideo Benefit Concert. The event will take place tonight (April 9) at The Mayan in Los Angeles and will be hosted by a number of familiar voices of LA radio including The Poetess, Mr. Choc, DJ Yutaka and others.

The evening boasts performances from the likes of Dilated Peoples, Glasses Malone, Defari, Problem, Hot Dolla, and special guest DJ’s Rhettmatic, Bobo, Curse, Spinderella, K-Sly, Paradise and more. For more event info and donation info visit www.prayforhideo.com. Hideo took some time between treatments to let us know how everything is going and what he wants everyone to know about taking care of your business and your health. AllHipHop.com: Hey Hideo, how you feeling today? Hideo:  I’m doing great. AllHipHop.com: You always have such a sunny disposition no matter what. Hideo: (Laughs) it is what it is. AllHipHop.com: So briefly explain for the people who don’t know you how you got your start. Hideo: Well I was at the Beat(92.3) from 97-2007 and I started on the Mix Master Show with Julio G. That was during the time when Eazy-E was sick in bed and when Julio pretty much started taking over the show. He needed DJ’s to fill in and I was one of them. It gave me a good start in radio because that was such a great show that really supported West Coast artists. It was good because after 1580 KDAY was gone, there weren’t a lot of mix shows and I think the Mix Master Show kinda helped bring back the DJ. AllHipHop.com:  As a DJ you played a large role in breaking the careers of some important artists in West coast culture. Can you name a few? Hideo: Wow that can go on for days. When I had my show with Corn Dog, Friday Night Beat Down that was our main goal to break West Coast artists. With radio its always hard to break new music, especially for local talent because with LA radio if you don’t have the promotions to support the record it didn’t really matter anyways, unless you just keep playing the artist over and over until the audience believes in the artists potential. But yes our show was committed to local West Coast talent. We broke people like Truth Hurts, Mausberg (RIP) basically everyone with the NWA camp and even newer artists like Bishop Lamont, Glasses Malone, Problem all these people got their start at the Beat. When I became the Mix show director I really made it my goal to break new artists. AllHipHop.com:  So let’s talk about your condition, when did you find out you were sick? Hideo: February 3rd is when I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. It had spread to my liver and covered about 2/3 of my colon. After a few doctor consults they determined we’d do the chemo-therapy treatments to slow down the spreading process, before they do any surgeries on my tumor. They were afraid if they did, it would spread to my kidneys then my brain. AllHipHop.com:  What made you go to the doctor? Were you sick? Hideo: Well towards the end of last year I started to have rectal bleeding and just like most DJ’s we are self employed and living paycheck to paycheck and gig to gig, so we don’t have the money to pay for insurance. So I went to the free clinic and they kinda gave me the run around, but they always comforted me by saying it wasn’t cancer. ‘ Don’t worry about it just go home and change your diet’. The bleeding continued up until the end of December and they said I should have a colonoscopy but it would take about two months because it was the county. So I waited about a month, but right after Super Bowl, I said I think I need to go to the emergency hospital. So I went and had a Cat Scan and they found the cancer, but I was already at stage four. AllHipHop.com:  That’s crazy. So you definitely feel like if you had insurance you would’ve been able to catch it sooner and probably have prevented it? Hideo: Absolutely. You know since I’ve been diagnosed I’ve been really trying to encourage everyone to get a colonoscopy and really get checked up. A lot of my friends and DJ’s from my era are all coming up to the same age and I know our job can be fun and exciting at times but it can also be very stressful and cancer is caused by so many different things.

AllHipHop.com:  That’s true, did you get caught up in the party lifestyle of drinking and smoking and all that? Hideo:  That has a lot to do with it, basically though just in general not taking care of your body and being out all night and then eating dinner at breakfast doesn’t help. Male or female it doesn’t matter we all enjoy the lifestyle but in the end I don’t wont people to have to pay. We have to take care of ourselves. Not even just DJ’s the industry in general, music the culture, the lifestyle, its great when its there, but I don’t want to have to have these conversations with more people. I’m hoping I can help people stop waiting until its too late. Use me as an example, look at Hideo he was always so happy and energetic but he still got cancer. AllHipHop.com:  It’s sad that it takes a tragedy to shed light on issues such as health and healthcare. Such was the case with J-Dilla and countless others we might not know about, it’s a shame there aren’t more music organizations that get behind the cause of affordable healthcare for artists. Hideo: I really believe organizations like the Grammy’s should be more proactive about healthcare for artists. I think its time to give something to these artists who give their lives to the music. I think an organization like the Grammy’s would be perfect to champion the cause for some type of coalition for artists who are hard pressed and need health care. It’s my intention to reach out to some of these companies for their support in the cause. AllHipHop.com: I hope this benefit helps in bringing awareness to the issues of health care especially for men of color. When I spoke to Rakka of Dilated Peoples he did say that he was glad that everyone is coming together to celebrate your life and to support you while we still have you, so we can help you get better. Is there anything you want the people to know about you as you deal with this? Hideo:  I’m just so happy because I’ve always wanted the West to come together and I’m glad they’ve decided to come out to support me. It’s like I told my daughter: I’ve lived a full life with no regrets. I’ve been blessed to do everything I wanted to do in my career, working in radio and doing promotions. What I would want people to take from me is to live life to the fullest and those that have the passion for music, let the music guide you. The music was there for me through break-ups, when I lost my jobs and everything else and it’s still there, so let the music be your guide.

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