With over 25 years on the Northwest R&B and Funk scene, JJ has no lack of funk resources to draw from.
“I remember growing up in Tacoma being one of the few white kids that lived in Hilltop. I mean I used to get my butt kicked at school. And if you didn’t have a plethora of ranks in your pocket, you just plain got verbally pummeled!”
“We used to hang out at my homeboy Johnny’s house on 25th & M Street listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Prince, Con-Funk-Shun, Bar-Kays and Ohio Players, not to mention all the old albums his mom and dad had. We we’re a tight knit group and Johnny’s house was the neighborhood hang out. I used to call his dad “Uncle John” and his mom “Aunt Carolyn”. They had all the old albums… James Brown, Isaac Hayes, The Supremes and Marvin Gaye… the good stuff. And dancing? Oh my gosh! That’s all we did… dance, dance, dance. We ate grape jelly, Wonder Bread sandwiches and danced. And man could Uncle John kick down some fried pork-chops!”
By the time JJ started DJ’ing in High School, he had the repertoire to amaze even the most ardent critics. Not to mention years of honing his dance skills at Johnny’s house, he even impressed the locals at Lincoln High School, a high school on Tacoma’s South end.
Seattle’s one and only urban radio station was KFOX 1250 AM known as the “Rhythm of The City”. JJ garnered the Monday through Friday evening show from 7 to midnight. His show was called “The House Party” and featured funk and hip-hop while airing interviews with artists like Mix-A-Lot, Troop and others. JJ has rubbed elbows with the likes of Spike Lee, Sinbad and other artists that rolled in to Seattle back in the late 80’s.
Funk Republic is JJ’s latest incarnation and brainchild. With the advent of Internet Radio, JJ has put together one of the most eclectic pools of funk music anywhere.
The guy that owned Seattle’s most popular urban radio station was a old cat that thought Motown was the only music we should be playing! I would have almost got fired for playing hip-hop. I wanted to feature the gritty, booger-nosed funk that I always wanted to play on the air but couldn’t because we had to water things down for the owner and his cornball ideas about what R&B was all about.”
On Funk Republic I play what I want to play and nothing less will do. If it’s funk, we put it on the air. From classic funk, deep funk, 80’s funk, latin funk, funky disco and new funk… we’re playin’ it.
One thing that separates Funk Republic from the rest is the commitment to showcase up and coming local artists.
I wanted to make sure we paved the way for new artists that had the same desire to keep funk alive.
Ok last story… really. My uncle gave my Mom a ’66 Ambassador Rambler. It was in pretty sweet condition until I crashed it in a ditch. So my Mom got a new car and let me rock the Rambler. Ok so it had some duct-tape and plastic on the driver’s side window from the crash but it was mine! You know, back in the day when you we’re pumped that you even had a car period. Who cared what kind of car it was… IT WAS A CAR!
I bought a used 8-track player from Goodwill and picked up some used speakers that came out of a Magnavox TV. Then I installed everything myself including bolting those TV speakers in the rear window deck. I cannot even begin to tell you how sweet the Isley Brothers sounded when I played Winner Takes All!!
You kids wouldn’t know anything about that.
JJ Nite Photo – Elli Sniff | Nostalgia Photography