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After Eight Years, Origix & D.C. are Still in The Zone (October 29 2010)
The Mirror News
By Imani Harris
Origix and D.C. co-host of one of the greatest hip hop radio shows in Michigan. That’s because The Zone isn’t your typical show. First broadcast in 2002, The Zone is an extremely underground hip hop show that also offers great diversity within the genre.
Where different because we play everything from gangster rap to stuff like Twiztid, and other shows generally just play one type said Origix. Another way in which they differ is that they stay extremely active within the hip hop community in Detroit and work hard to help anyone trying to help themselves.
The two met in Junior High school, sharing an infatuation with hip hop and what it stands for. From then on, the chemistry was magic. They later formed their own group, which has undergone many name changes (some they can’t remember), and began making music to get their voice and opinions out. After getting the chance to hear their music on the radio ironically, on a show on Henry Ford Community Colleges radio station, WHFR (89.3FM and www.whfr.fm) they went into the field of radio broadcasting. They were looking for a change from the other outlets around the area and to help other artists like themselves.
Generally, artists have to make their own way because there is no industry here for them to turn to said Origix.
When asked why they chose underground over mainstream, they agreed that today’s underground scene is what they considered mainstream back in the 80s and 90s. Mainstream has changed drastically; it is full of watered-down, generic, pop influence, with just enough twist to still be associated with the hip hop genre. Underground hip hop, however, has a sense of gritty and raw artistic vision that will never alter or change over time. Also, there is no platform in commercial radio for the type of show that they produce.
In April 2002 they broadcast their first live show on WHFR, and it was, not surprisingly, a success. They reached out to a following and a gang of artists who were thirsty for a change from the norm. Since then, the show has reached the top, and is still growing with the addition of their website, 2raw4fm.com, and multiple internet broadcasts.
As far as an official or even a ball park number of listeners, the two say that they don’t know because they get new listeners every day and they do not get ratings, so there is no way to keep track of all of them. One thing they know is that they make an impact, and they get to see the results all of the time. They are the ones who actually go out on the scene and interact with the people and get a lot of love for what they do. They, in turn, get joy from seeing how they help artists get out there; they get to see the artist from the beginning of their career to the point where they make it big.
It is satisfying to help many artists, and to play a key role in hip hop today, said Origix.
They both said that this is a hobby, but on a serious level; it’s something embedded in their hearts. When asked how, after eight years, they can keep coming back with new ideas to keep the show fresh, DC replied, it’s just something that comes naturally.
The duo also agrees that there are a lot of options in radio to get different types of music, and a lot of ways to access them as well. One way is through their official website (www.2raw4fm.com). The site is a direct connection to their internet show (also named 2raw4fm), downloads of their albums, official merchandise, contact information, and upcoming events. In fact, the two have an event on November 18 at The Lager House, where they will perform live along with Cold Men Young, Progress Report, and a few others.
Origix and DC are, arguably, two of the Midwest’s greatest accomplishments and visionaries in the area of underground hip hop, and will be around for a while keeping listeners happy with the music they play and produce. So be sure to check out The Zone every Monday night, from 9:00 p.m. to midnight on WHFR, HFCC’s station making waves.
WHO’Z HOT N DA STREETZ (June,26th,2009)
The Michigan Front Page
By Moe Nitty
ZONE RADIO: For The People, By The People
One of the biggest reasons many new acts fail to make it far from the starting block is their lack of knowledge to take advantage of the useful resources right in front of them. Any seasoned recording artist will tell you that making the song is the easy, but getting it heard by the masses has proven to be much more difficult than many anticipate. But for local hip-hop/rap artists on Detroit’s west side, it doesn’t have to be. Airplay, and more importantly, vast exposure for serious artists is no more than a phone call away as The Zone Radio station in Dearborn welcomes any and all dedicated hip-hop artists with the opportunity to be heard over the radio.
Two names that every local artist in Detroit needs to get real familiar with: Shawn “Origix” Featherston and Tim “DC”Patterson.Why? Well, for over 7 years, dating back to their first show on April 20th of 2002, Origix and DC have been and continue to be a reliable ally to Detroit’s music scene. As co-hosts of The Zone Radio, broadcasted on WHFR 89.3 fm, Origix (the station’s voice) and DC (the station’s deejay) have showcased local talent from Michigan & beyond, exposing independent talent worldwide across the globe.Â When asked about the origin of The Zone Radio’s humble start, Origix replied, Our main reason for starting the show was to expose all the good Detroit music we came up on, on a larger scale.
Airing live every Saturday night from 8pm-12am, The Zone Radio features a new guest every week, whom they interview, play a variety of the featured artists songs, as well as a live in-studio performance from the featured guest. Since their start, The Zone Radio has interviewed artists such as Bizzy Bone of Bones Thugs-N-Harmony, Yukmouth, Cypress Hill, Tech N9ne, Moe Nitty, Trick Trick, Slug Of Atmosphere, Stretch Money, Black Milk, Guilty Simpson, and Psychopathic Record’s Twiztid to name a few.
For those tired of hearing the same old eight songs on the radio (I know I am), each week The Zone Radio plays new and exclusive music from major artists as well as upcoming locals and Indies.Â With no pre-arranged playlist and free range to play whatever they feel (as long as it’s clean), requests from listeners of The Zone Radio are almost always honored. What local artists have to understand is, unlike the bigger stations, which will spin your song for listeners looking to hear Top 40 music (hardly paying your song any attention), our listeners tune in to hear breaking local music!, states Origix. For those listeners looking to hear the uncut version of their favorite underground song, The Zone Radio offers 2RAW4FM.com, an online radio show in an uncensored format catering to underground hip-hop from the Midwest.
The biggest excuse I hear from victims of missed opportunities is I did not know Well, that can no longer be a valid reason for not taking advantage of The Zone Radio’s open door policy for dedicated hip-hop artists. Now you know!
Feel free to submit material by mail The Zone Radio (Attn: Origix), 5101 Evergreen Rd., Dearborn, MI. 48128, at Henry Ford Community College.To request your favorite hip-hop song, call 313-845-9676 while airing. The Zone Radio is also streamed live every Saturday from 8pm-2am at www.whfr.com. Also, download 2RAW4FM Vol. 8 for free at 2RAW4FM.com. For more updates and info go to myspace.com/thezoneradio.
Character Sketch (August 20, 2008)
Real Detroit Weekly
By Travis R. Wright
Origix & D.C.
Perhaps the only thing better than getting to realize one of your life goals is being able to share it with one of your best friends. Such is the case of WHFR radio personalities Origix and D.C., who not only host the most Detroit-dedicated rap show in the city, The Zone, which airs Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to midnight, but they also host and maintain 2raw4fm.com, where you can find uncut and entertainingly explicit tracks from underground Detroit and Midwest acts that you might not yet stumbled across. D.C. and I go way back, says Origix. We met in junior high in Taylor he liked hip-hop and I liked hip-hop so we started kickin it. Eventually, we started to make music ourselves and the rest is history.
About the time they were both 16-years-old, Origix moved to Dearborn Heights and the two started to travel about and, as Origix said, find places to get into no good, like the Gibralter Trade Center. While the two connected on rap staples like Dr. Dre, NWA, Nas and KRS-1, they also discovered the local scene at Gibralter’s L.A. Disc, where they got hip to acts like Esham and Awol.
After high school, D.C. enrolled at Henry Ford Community College and started studying telecommunications. At first, it was the basics, editing and splicing tape’s notes D.C., but when I learned they had a radio station, that’s when it got exciting. Soon after, his partner in rhyme, Origix, enrolled in the same program.
Fast forward to 2002 April 20 to be exact. Four-twenty, that’s a date well never forget,laughs D.C. That was the date they first went on-air and, though it was crazy and they were learning on the fly, things have been steadily rolling ever since, as Origix and D.C. have become two of Detroit’s biggest supporters in the rap scene. We know how hard it is to get your name out there, we remember what it was like before Myspace, says Origix, who is more than proud to tell me 75 percent of the music they spin during their four hour set is from our area. But they’re also reaching ears far from the 313. We got listeners on 2raw4fm.com in Australia, England, the Bahamas and Belgium, says D.C.
These local rap aficionados of the airwaves are making small splashes across the world, but their heart is, and forever will be, deeply rooted in The D. Though that’s not to say they’re not looking to grow. â€œSatellite radio is the future and that’s where we like to be because we don’t ever want to be at a station that dictates what we play,â€ says Origix. When asked if theyâ€™d consider a move, the two were, as always, eye to eye. If we went to another station, we’d want to somehow be involved at WHFR, Origix says, but the whole point is to reach as many listeners as possible to support the artists in this scene. This Friday, Origix and D.C. host 2Raw4Detroit featuring Fatt Father, United States of Mind and more at PJ’s Lager House. | RDW
The Zone 89.3 FM ( April 2007)
By The Record
I started making rap at age 13.says Origix, host of The Zone hip-hop radio show, which marked its 5th anniversary last month. i’ve been listening to rap since way back. My dad was a DJ so I got all the new stuff coming out.
The Zone airs Saturday night 8 p.m. to midnight on 89.3 FM out of Henry Ford Community College. Origix and his co-host/rap partner/longtime friend, D.C. got the radio show in 2002 while D.C. was attending classes at the school. My first thought was maybe they’ll play our music, Origix says. And they played it. We got into radio just because we wanted to help all the people with good music. We put our stuff aside and just focused on radio. In the last year we got back to doing some recording, but our thing is really radio.
I listened over and over to every show we’ve done, just picking them apart. Everyday I see something else I want to improve. People think we get paid.
I do alot of booking and promoting, not even officially. I’ll just have a group in mind put them in touch with people. I like to bring people to Michigan, and get them shows. I do a lot of music promotion, I’ll send music to other DJs and radio stations. We Just try to help people. How many commercial FM DJs are trying to help? Not many.
Dope (April 18-24,2007)
Real Detroit Weekly
By Tom Matich
Between my iPod, MacBook, car stereo and MTV jams, I don’t listen to the radio much these days. Not to mention the two corporate urban radio station in Detroit play the same eight songs like it was going out of style.
College radio, however, is some pretty cool shit. I once had a show , but I got too irritated with editing out the dirty words in rap so i stuck with playing Interpol and Pinback Records.
For the past five years, The Zone Radio on 89.3 WHFR.FM (myspace.com/thezoneradio) has been the official spot for underground hip-hop. Hosted by Origix and DC every Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight, Zone is like the SNL of rap radio: guests, performances and airwaves flowing with that Midwest magic. How do they do it? We did it by having a vision that the music we listen to could be heard by others, Origix says. We went to school, took the proper courses to get into radio. Once we got an opportunity to do a show we just started letting heads know we support local hip-hop, hit the streets and hip-hop spots hard with flyers. we never really knew that five years from now we would have built what we have so far in the hip-hop community. Origix and DC Have had tons of artists you read about in this very column. How bout that ?
Celebrate their Fifth Anniversary at The Bullfrog on April 19 with special guests Buff 1,Paradime, Bareda, Rhyme Asylum and many more.
Detroit Love! (Issue #3, 2007)
Ill Flow Magazine
IFM: You guys originally started out as emcees in a group called Fi-Staarz. What made yall get into radio broadcasting?
ZONE: Actually Homie Fi-Staarz was just a project we did right before we got into radio, we Started out with the group Reformed Illuzionz which was Origix & DC, then we formed the group 3rd Dimension with our dog, Weto. We got into broadcasting first off because we always kind of DJ’ed parties & I use to put together mix tapes of songs for heads in the Neighborhood and at school to hear songs that I felt ,that I knew many others did not know about and put them up on game you know. But what really got us into it was when we were just making music. We knew so many other artist that were dope we just wanted other heads to hear the same music we did. Then when we found out about 89.3 WHFR.FM because my man Face & this dude Joe P played our music so we knew there was hope to get Local Music heard once again on the radio.
IFM: How do u feel about the Detroit hip-hop scene as of right now?
ZONE: I feel the Detroit Scene is the Sickest Scene on the planet. There’s mad cats out here working together making great Hip Hop. World Wide you talk about the D heads know we got Fire up here now .We have a hand full of artists right now with Record deals and a gang of producers with tracks all over the industry the Mid West is about to Dominate. Thats how we do.
IFM: What local artists would you say gets some of the most requests on your show?
ZONE: Requests change all the time as of right now in 2007 so far Esham, Guilty Simpson, Street Justice, Stretch Money, Black Milk, Rhyme Asylum, The Regiment, Strike, ABK, Chief, Paradime, Grim Reality, Identical, Raw Collection, Fat Killahz, Buff 1 & Lazarus are doing good right now.
IFM: Why do u think other Detroit radio stations don’t really support Detroit artists?
ZONE: Well they are afraid of losing money like any business is. When you do something new to your customers you have to take a chance first and test the market. People in our area would love to see more cats from the D get on if they new the music was available for them. But with out these major radio stations getting behind Detroit artists it really hurts. We play some tracks that are for sure good enough to be on a major outlet but, if they don’t help take them artists to the next level of radio it really hurts there local support. Its hard to talk for them. Id rather represent us. Somethings got to give.
IFM: Last words on anything else?
ZONE: We just like everyone to know that as of 4-20-07 we have been on air for 5 years now giving you a platform to hear underground Hip Hop on the radio, buts its up to you to tell your people that were out here doing our thang and even if your out of listening range you can hear us online any where in the world. Look For The Zone Radio 2 RAW 4 FM www.2raw4fm.com this year where we will be giving the raw stuff you cant get on FM Radio also look out for The Detroit Remedy Clothing Mix tape vol.2 Hosted by Origix & DC and Mixed by P-Dog The Turntable Bully
ZONE: The ZONE w/ Origix & DC Saturday’s 8pm-12am (EST) WHFR.FM 89.3FM Detroit
Stream Audio World Wide @ www.whfr.fm Request 313-845-9676 or 1-800-585-4322 ext.9676 www.myspace.com/thezoneradio
The Loop (May 5-11, 2004)
Real Detroit Weekly
By Kelly K-Fresh Frazier
IN THE ZONE
When it comes to radio these day’s, stations that offer local support are few and far between. Corporate-owned commercial radio is dominated with music backed by major label money and power. Luckily, college radio has become a savior to underground hip-hop. Radio show like The Zone on Henry Ford community College’s 89.3-FM WHFR have become an avenue for local and underground artists to get some shine on the FM dial. The shows hosts, Origix and D.C., Recently celebrated their second year on the air with live in-studio guests Bareda and J-Hill,. During its two-year reign, The Zone include Phat Kat, Athletic Mic League, King Gordy, Bizzy Bone, Mastamind , Slum Village and many more in addition to the regular show, the pair has also helped throw many live events, such as the First Annual WHFR Hip-Hop Basketball game ,The Downriver Hip-Hop Jam and the Green Halloween show. In a game dominated by corporate machined, The Zone gives us an outlet to hear new music from some of the illest local and underground talent. The Zone airs every Saturday night in Detroit on 89.3 FM From 8p.m.-12a.m.., and for those outside the station’s range, the web cast can be heard at www.whfr.fm.
Left end of the dial (September,24.2003)
By Ronit Feldman
On a warm September night, Origix and D.C. are holed up inside the Henry Ford Community College student center in Dearborn, making waves as the WHFR-FM 89.3 slogan attests during their recently expanded four-hour time slot. Origix commands the main mic, silver chain and Lions hat bobbing to the beat as he thanks Allen from Garden City for his request for Flint’s Artful Dodgers. D.C., the quieter of the two, enters the song into the online playlist, as listeners from across the country tune in on the Web to the Motor City.
So Artful Dodgers doesn’t ring a bell? We don’t play nuthing commercial, Origix says of their hip-hop show The Zone.We don’t play none of those artists that you hear on those [mainstream] radio stations.â€ What Origix and D.C. do play is a heavy dose of homegrown hip-hop. About 90 percent of what they spin comes from local groups like Esham, Twiztid, the Outfit, Grim Reality and Lawless Element. The other 10 percent is comprised of out-of-staters like Tech 9, Dirty, Aseop Rock, Atmosphere, and Haystack.
Since The Zone premiered on April 20, 2001 the show has garnered quite a following, and the reason is clear. Detroit is a city that has hip hop embedded into its very soul it’s an extension of every dark alley, every defaced building, and every mural spray-painted over its bleak concrete walls. But most of Detroit’s major radio stations are broadcasting a different tune: one that emanates not from the urban depths of our fair town, but from the corporate boardrooms of America. Hence, Origix and D.C. see their show as more than just a passion; in the age of corporate takeover, it’s a duty.
When looked at through history’s lens, the pair’s manifesto assumes an even greater significance.
Back in the 1980s hip-hop fans could flip on their boom boxes every day with the expectation of hearing something new. It was around this time, long after Motown, disco and punk had been pronounced dead, that radio homed in on the sound of the streets. What had begun as an experiment in the 1970s Bronx began to descend upon the ears of the American public. By 1986, hip hop had reached its golden age and the radio broadcast the music in all of its divergent forms gangster, party, b-boy, black nationalist. The age-old tradition of the grit ”or African storyteller ” had persevered, even amidst the melting pot of American pop culture.
Then President Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which eased ownership restrictions on radio. As radio stations consolidated, playlists became more homogenized and fledgling artists found it more and more difficult to hear their songs played on the air.
In a series of articles published by salon.com in 2001, Eric Boehlert exposes one of the most harrowing phenomena in the new age of radio, a method of buying and selling airtime he calls pay-for-play.
The system works like this: An independent record promoter, or aligns himself with a radio station by promising to give the station promotional payments as high as six figures. In exchange, the station makes the indie the sole point man for every song it adds to its playlist. Every time the indie dictates a song to be added, he sends an invoice to the record company that produced it. The money the indie collects is then shelled out to the radio station in the form of a promotional payment.
Pay-for-play’s indiscreet brand of bribery is a cunning way to get around the payola laws of the 1960s, but remains perfectly legal nonetheless. And the result is crippling: While mega-sized record companies buy up airtime for their stars, independently produced artists are simply never heard. And it’s nearly impossible for a band or artist to break without the exposure of the airwaves.
Origix and D.C. found this out the hard way. After meeting at Taylor’s West Junior High in 1993, the two (then known as Shawn Featherston and Tim Patterson) performed everywhere from the Wired Frog to St. Andrew’s and even released their own CDs under the names Reformed Illuzionz (1998) and Fi Staarz (2001). But it didn’t take long to realize that the most valuable tool for promoting their work the radio” would always be off limits.
Then one night, Origix and D.C. heard some â€œreal underground hip-hop oozing from their stereo. The station they discovered was WHFR-FM, a nonprofit, noncommercial campus radio station that gives its DJs the freedom to play whatever they like.
With renewed faith, Origix and D.C. decided to enroll in classes at HFCC and start a hip-hop show of their own. We already knew how to do, like, all the production-type work, Origix says. We knew how to work the mixing board, and a lot of that stuff was pretty much, like, second nature to us.
They also knew a lot of groups that could use the promotion. When we were doing music, we never had the outlet to go and promote our stuff on radio stations and whatever, says D.C. , basically, what we wanted to do was get into radio and give groups the opportunity to be heard.
Susan McGraw, WHFR-FM’s general manager, says that based on the phone calls, letters, and e-mails the station receives for The Zone, the listenership is tremendous. She calls Origix and D.C. â€œtwo of the most passionate DJs we have on staff. They have an incredible knowledge of the music they play and the culture they represent.â€
McGraw says, One of the most important aspects of WHFR is supporting the local, independent, nonmainstream artists. They’re willing to look for those artists.
Back in the studio, Origix and D.C. gear up for this week’s live in-studio set: a performance by Six Deep, one of Pontiac’s oldest hip-hop camps. At 11 p.m., the group of 10 shuffles into the studio, trying to negotiate space. The station assistant quickly sees that it will be standing room only and carries out the chairs she had pulled for the occasion.
Once settled, the rappers take off. House Massive, the obvious leader, dominates the mic, busting out rhymes a mile a minute. His eyes are on fire, his hands waving up and down as his voice pounds over the synthesized beat. The others accentuate the rhythm underneath, trading off headphones and mics as they maneuver themselves around the tiny space. Eventually, the group breaks into their National Anthem, a high-energy rap done in unison. The sound is thunderous. When the beat dies down, a few members break out into impromptu, freestyle rhymes. A young guy called Total Kaos whips out a fast lyric about not being able to swear on the radio and drops his voice out just in time to censor the choice, anticipated rhyme.
It;s hip hop at its height and it’s being aired live.
Origix dreamed of moments like these, but shows like The Zone are not so easy to come by. Lack of diverse programming makes him wonder where the future of the music is headed. âs gonna grow, but a lot of it’s gonna kill itself too, by all this music that’s just being monotonous, played. It’s running itself into the ground when it comes to the image, style. I think people are really getting sick of hearing about what people have and what they got.
Underground music, Origix says, has a grittier, more realistic appeal than its mainstream counterpart. It’s about what’s going on in [the artistsneigh borhood, what's going on in their life, what's going on in their family. That's why we like the local stuff more, because we know they'e from the same background as us, we know they're going through the same thing, we know it's the same struggle out here.
By day, Origix is a parts driver for a car dealership and D.C. is an auto mechanic. Their positions at WHFR-FM are unpaid, but money, they say, is not what it's all about.
After Saturday's show, D.C. pauses to reflect on his DJ gig. The only disadvantage of doing the radio show is, [I] can’t listen to it,â€ he says. Then Origix reminds the staff that it’s still a Saturday evening, and the crew is off into the night.
The Zone airs every Saturday 8 p.m.-midnight on WHFR-FM 89.3. Listen live on the Web at whfr.fm.