Last night marked the end of a five year run for STL Home Jamz, the Hot 104.1 radio show that promoted independent local hip hop artists. The show went off the air less than 18 hours ago, and already there's a social media movement to bring it back the beloved two hour block of new music. Finsta and DJ Sno gave us the scoop on the cancelation, the celebration (tonight), and the aberration that was STL Home Jamz (RIP).
So what the [redacted] happened to STL Home Jamz?
Finsta: Yeah it sucks, but hey. Well, it's really...Hold on. DJ Sno, hi. DJ Sno is on now.
Hi DJ Sno. How are you holding up?
Sno: I just wiped the tears from my eyes over the past weekend, everything's fine. I'm not over it, I'm still hurt, but the tears ain't in my eyes no more. After being drunk for three days straight, everything is fine.
How did you ease the pain, what was your poison?
Sno: You really want to know?
Kush number 3 and Roxy's Nightclub.
Oh, that's so St. Louis of you, I love it.
Sno: [laughs] I'm just fucking with you.
When did you guys find out the show was ending?
Finsta: Like, Thursday?
Sno: Yep, everything unfolded in the beginning of the week, we knew we weren't going to be playing a lot of new stuff for Headliner Radio. Me and Finsta were like, let's just shut it down completely and just let the ratings drop. But we didn't want to let them mess that up for us. Right in the middle of the week after they had a talk with us, they didn't tell us, they made Staci come tell us. After they left it was like dang man, why didn't they tell us all this at once?
Finsta: It's their company, they're going to do whatever they want to do, whatever they see fit. They're the ones that hold the jobs, we just abide by the rules.
Sno: We're just trying to do the stuff right so we can get it back. I was ready to straight walk out, but I wouldn't do that to Finsta. I get an attitude real quick, he's like, "Man Sno, just chill out, chill out." Because of him, he is really just the reason I'm being really nice right now. I want people to keep sending music to our email, it's not the end of the world. Now's the time, St. Louis took this show for granted for five years, I know all the artists that worked with us, they'll miss us, but all them people that wasn't messing with us and really didn't listen to the show and really didn't support unless they heard their song, all of them are gonna have to step their game up now, because their game was not stepped up.
All the people that did step their game up, we had 'em, we definitely got as many people as we could on. This is the time when we're going to take a break, and they need to realize how important this issue is, and if we do come back, when we do, it's going to be totally different. We may have a new name, we may not, but standards are going to be higher, you're going to have to be registered, copywritten, damn near have a deal on the table. Or at least know what you're doing, or have the Internet working you really hard. You're going to have to be for real for real if you want your stuff on the radio. Maybe this is good for us, maybe this is a lesson learned, this is my fourth time being stricken from Mick's show. This is not new for Radio One, this is my second time being hired back after being fired. Me and Finsta, we're stand up guys, I think St. Louis knows that.
Did Staci give you guys a reason when she dropped the bomb, or were you told why the show was ending?
Sno: Basically, Mickey J (Program Director for Hot 104.1) got fired.
Finsta: When a person of power is removed from the station, they reevaluate the specialty shows and the employees, just trying to get a good read on who they need to put in place, what's going on and why certain things happen at the station, its nothing against what we do, the buzz we've been creating, it's just that the leadership that was at hand when these shows were created, gotta be evaluated, is there any good reason why the program director gave them this, were they working with him or whatever.
Sno: We never get paid for anything, we just do it because we like it, that's how we've always been. They're just taking it away to make sure that that's not going on with us and I think once they figure out, they really didn't do that. The bad thing about it all is we are number one across the board, for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday night ratings, and we have been on top past three months, we were neck and neck with KSDK. KSDK is huge. For a hip hop local show where 80% was unregistered, we were killing everyone in the game, even Z107.7. I don't know what we were doing right. But we were at the top. That's what I don't get. This is what happens; people get fired. Maybe we'll get the show back when a new cool guy comes in back to the drawing board, nine times out of ten, if it's a guy from out of town, he ain't gonna know nothing about STL Home Jamz.
It looks like there's already a positive backlash for you guys, people are tweeting "bring STL Home Jamz back."
Finsta: Oh yeah, somebody made a group on Facebook. Last time I checked there was over 200 people in there last night. (And 435 as of 2 p.m. today)
Is that the only way you can forsee getting the show back, if the public is adamant about it?
Sno: If the public can come forth, that'd be awesome, I'd love to do a petition, a bunch of local guys, I don't want it to just be vocal rappers signing this petition. We need real people, our listeners, we need them to say they want us back, calling the station, tweeting, and whatever. That was it for st. louis, that was all we got. Next thing we know, 107.7 would do it. They should jump on it, if they was smart.
Are you going to take the show underground for a while?
Finsta: We've thought about it. We do have a Ustream account, called The Headliner, we start it up during our mix show on the weekend. We're gonna be doing other stuff, club or at the Gramophone, Twisted Olive. Just to keep the name.
Sno: You've got Gramophone on Monday nights that Finsta will be doing, and on Thursday night starting the 10th of August, I'm doing Top Shelf Thursdays, all '90s format, R&B and hip hop throwback. And then, Headliner Radio will be on Friday and Saturdays from ten to twelve like always. This is what's kind of cool about us not being on, we've now gotten approval to put St. Louis artists on the mix shows, but the thing is, we only get six picks. These local artists are going to have to be the guys that really are serious and have their music registered, ASCAP, BMI, Mediabase -- if they don't pop up in Mediabase when we play their song, they will never get played again. We have to submit these songs to corporate that we put on the list. Corporate actually sees these guys now when they never did before. It will help the St. Louis artists that have their stuff together. We have two artists on there now -- Motre and Tef Poe. We had so many other people we wanted to put on there.
Finsta: It decreases their chances of being on radio more, from it being like, a twenty percent ratio to an eight percent ratio. If the line was long before, the line just got skinny.
And Motre and Tef Poe are playing the anniversary party tonight?
Finsta: Yes they are.
Sno: Everybody is performing tonight; everyone we played last night. (Tef Poe, Kandi Girlz, Kitty Katt, Motre, Rocky Knuckles, Phat Pheezy, J. Louis, Seviin Li, M.C. Trixie, WhiteOut L Gifted/RT-Faq, Buff and Chub.) Can you share your favorite songs from last night?
Sno: All of them. They're all pretty good records really, I just like it all. There's too much hot stuff to have a favorite.
Over the past five years, have you guys seen the quality of music improve?
Sno: Definitely. There's people out there that don't have a clue, I would have to say in the past two years people have been pretty on point with getting their stuff halfway decent mastered. It started where we were getting just CDs in the mail, and then the whole Internet thing with MP3s...people still send the wrong files, that twenty percent, they pretty much got their stuff together, the other 80 percent they really don't have a clue, they're just sending stuff. Sometimes we get a guy who'll send us all dirty stuff, 40 songs in one zip file, and it says "Play my shit" in the email. Really the mastering, the guys that care, they really try to have it sound pretty good. We get a bunch of good stuff, and we get a bunch of horrible stuff.
Have there been any artists who stood out in the early days of the show that now are at the top of the scene?
Sno: Yeah, quite a few guys. Shoot, Tef, Rockwell Knuckles, them guys for sure. Pretty much every body that we've played consistently has really been moving around St. Louis a lot more than what they used to. We really gave a lot of artists their boost. I have people say to me, "Man Sno, I'm just ready to give up." People that are turning 30, they're still trying to rap, girls are getting older and they're still trying; it's like dude, every body can't do this.
Finsta: We helped bring reality.
Sno: Yeah, we really brought reality to the situation. It helped make a lot of people step their game up. And a lot of people would think, "Sno and Finsta's playing me, I'm in rotation!" You're not, you're on one night a week, maybe not every week, but that's your start. A lot of people that are smart take that and run with it though.
Kitty Katt, she was always doing her thing but she never got no radio play. She was coming up to me saying "Man, I really need help," so I said you gotta do this, you gotta do that. She was one of them people, okay, I'm going to spend 10,000 and I'm going to get my website up, and I'm going to get a vehicle wrapped and I'm going to drive through the streets of Atlanta, and I'm going to get me a producer that works with big time artists. Really the reason why is because of us. She was getting spins from us and now people around the world are starting to see her little songs pop up from our show and she has other markets playing it here and there. She did everything right, you've gotta invest in yourself. That's what a lot of these artists don't understand, they think "Finsta's playing me, he's got me, I'm good." No, that's just the beginning bro, now you've gotta create your movement.
A lot of these guys would rather go to the strip club and fuck off five grand. Invest in yourself and take it seriously. Too many people want to be stars right now, "Poppin' bottles, I'm in the club, I'm wearing my chains, everybody's got their jackets on, and we're a record label." No, that's just because Finsta and Sno played you. Nobody else is playing you, you're not stars, it would be nice if you could be and we can help you do it, but a lot of guys do it the wrong way and get caught up in the rap life. It's really on you, the artist, how far do you want to go with this?
Do you know what the new format is for the new show?
Sno: No. We don't even care. We were actually going to be doing a mix show, we were going to call it Regular Radio on Saturday nights, after the Loft lost their broadcast. We were laughing about it, because that was going to be that night that I was going to play all normal stuff, nothing like what we do. But we just couldn't do it, it was just too whack. This is what happens when you do Headliner Radio when you play twenty new songs an hour for three months, corporate don't like that. I should be able to give people what they want, people don't want to hear the same song every 15 or 45 minutes, they just don't. People switch the station, people get tired of them damn songs. Nobody wants to hear no new music? Then why are we number one across the board? I thought what we were doing was awesome. They came in town and it was like, 'Yeah, you guys are number one, keep up the good work' and then we walk out the room, and no show.
What are you guys expecting from the party tonight?
Sno: Just hopefully that everybody that really, really supports us comes out and sees all these people perform. We're going to let them know as much as we can about the situation. People need to be there on time.
Finsta: [laughs] Man!
Sno: It's going to be ridiculous, it probably will be the most crowded night at the Gramophone since Big K.R.I.T. was there, huh?
Finsta: Right, exactly.
Sno: It's a Monday night, I don't know what too much goes on on a Monday, but the people that come out will definitely be the people that mess with us. I expect for it to be packed. I would love for it to be no problems. I'm just kind of afraid we might get a few knuckleheads. It's free free free.
Finsta: Show starts at 10:30, we're gonna open the doors at 9.
Is there anything else we should know about tonight or any final words?
Sno: Nope. I was Riverfront Times Best Hip Hop DJ this past year.
Yes you were!
Sno: Finsta, Best Radio Personality, you could put that in there.
Finsta: Ironically enough. [laughs]
Sno: Thank you for the plaque, we love you. Right now, I would say everybody keep sending their music to the email, firstname.lastname@example.org, now, shit, you could send dirty, clean and instrumental. We're definitely going to be doing mixed CDs, Headliner Radio CDs. Instead of us doing it on the radio, we'll try to put out volumes or something, who knows.
Sno: We'll get it back sooner or later.
Finsta: We're tryin'.