[HIP-HOP] Idris O'Ferrell, better known on the streets and in studios as StarChile, has been a fanatical cornerstone of Bridgetown's hip-hop scene all of his 33 years. MC, party host, promoter, event coordinator and radio personality, the Northeast Portland native recently lost that last title two months ago when the management at KXJM, Jammin' 95.5 FM, pulled the plug on its mainstream hip-hop station (in favor of sports talk radio). Last week, Jammin's new program director asked O'Ferrell if he'd like to move Hood Radio, his local underground hip-hop show since 2001, up the FM dial to KXJM's new home at 107.5 FM. The industry insider chatted with WW about his show's new home, keeping it "100" with folks and getting paid.
WW: Hood Radio will be back this Sunday. Has it changed?
Idris O'Ferrell: The show is going to be exactly the same. For the kick-off, I have a lot of special guests [Evidence from Dilated Peoples and Phonte from Little Brother] that have said they're going to call in. Because 107.5 is a CBS-owned station and 95.5 was independent, there are some guidelines that I have to abide by. Some things I might have been able to let slide on the language side probably [won't] slide this time. And Portland artists are going to really have to step their game up to get on the air.
What is Hood Radio's role in supporting local hip-hop?
It's a total misconception when people think, "If Star plays my song, I am there. I am that dude. I walk in the club and girls come, champagne bottles pop, it's going down." It doesn't happen that way. People don't want to hear the truth. They just want to hear what their cousin told them, like, "You're the hottest ever." I feel like I'm doing them a disservice if I were to just perpetuate the B.S. and air their song. A lot of people walk around like they're so tough, but as soon as you tell them, "Maybe your music isn't that good," or, "Your song is tight, dude, but you're going to need to fix the drums," they get offended. What people don't understand is, I'm playing your song next to the latest Jay-Z record. If I could, I would give every rapper in Portland a hug and a bit of self-esteem.
Will you be able to pay the bills being at 107.5?
I work at Portland State [Bookstore] during the day. About once a week, I'm at the desk and somebody walks by and does a triple-take. They're like, "What're you doing working here?" I've got bills. You think I can afford to dress the way I dress? You gotta pay! [Laughs.] At 107.5, let's just say I'll be making more. It's a great situation.
How would you describe 107.5's format, as hip-hop?
No. It's not hip-hop as a culture, it's rap music. It's one element of hip-hop. You can't say, "I love hip-hop" and not be a James Brown fan. Or not be a Meteors fan or a Crusaders fan. It's impossible. You can't separate the two.... Rain, sleet or snow; good day, bad day; millionaire, flat broke, I am Portland hip-hop.
airs on Jammin' 107.5 FM from 8 pm-midnight every Sunday beginning July 20.