There aren’t many hip hop heads who haven’t heard of New York’s HOT 97. It’s definitely taken some twists and turns over the years, and everyone has an opinion on whether they’ve been good or bad changes. What remains is that is it is still the best known station for Urban music in New York city and some would say, the world.
Lil Nat is the embodiment of hard work pays off. Graft to get what you want. Persistence and talent makes success.
She started off as an intern and working with the likes of Pete Rock, Marley Marl and Funk Master Flex she now hosts the overnight slot.
This is a little about her journey.
Lady Jay UK: Wassup! I want to talk to you about Hot 97, cos I know you’re making moves in New York, and I know you worked hard to get what you’ve got and I respect that. How did you start off at Hot 97?
Lil Nat: I started off as an intern in 19 ninety blah blah blah.
Lady Jay UK: We’re not giving that bit away.
Lil Nat: You know what, to tell you the truth, I started at Kiss FM, before Kiss was bought, when Kiss was playing hip hop, with Red Alert and Randy Willams. I was an intern there in the promotions department. Then I did an exchange programme in North Carolina, Greensborough, so I had to leave for a couple of months… I did some radio at Bennett college.
When I was done with that… I came back home and got an internship in Hot 97’s production department. Which deals with the commercials and producing them. Then I started answering the phones, for the DJ’s on the weekends, and then I worked my way up to becoming a board op. That means I was the person that played the music, told the DJ’s when to talk and play the commercials; almost like a producer, but not quite because producers organise the show; set up interviews…
Then Hot 97 bought Kiss FM, and this is where we are now, we moved downtown. Then I moved over to become the assistant morning show producer for Kiss FM. When Issac Hayes was a host! I got a really nice long resume, and I was also part time production director for Kiss – producing their commercials.
Lady Jay UK: You got a lot of experience then!
Lil Nat: Yea, I been here for ever! I also did Saturdays with Funk Master Flex… I have a long list of people that I’ve worked with. I also worked with Mr C, Mr Magic, Pete Rock, Marley Marl.
Basically, I started off at rock bottom and now I’m on the air overnight on Hot 97 every single day and I have a show on Sunday mornings 10-1.
Lady Jay UK: Tell me about your show?
Lil Nat: We start at 12 am right after Flex, and the first hour, what we do is, there’s a lot of people in New York city that actually work at night – so I do the job shouts. The 1 O’clock hour is Lil Nat’s throw backs. You can email me or text me a song that you haven’t heard in a while that gets you jumping at work and I play your request.
2 O’clock hour’s just regular format and contests; we got tickets and all that stuff to give away.
3 O’clock hour which is the best hour, is ‘Ask Nat’. The listeners can text or call a question, anything they want; and that becomes the topic. So; for example, most of the topics would be on relationships.
I had a couple call one day, they engaged to be married, and they wanted to know is it a good idea to have a threesome before they walk down the aisle.
Lady Jay UK: So then people call up?
Lil Nat: Yea… and give their opinions about it, and then I’m like Jerry Springer at the end with my closing remarks!! (laughs)
We get all kinds of questions during the hour… politics right now is really really hectic, it’s crazy with Hilary and Obama, that’s history… it’s fun. I like the audience participation and they like it too, they feel more involved… everybody likes their twenty seconds worth of fame!
4 O’clock hour is just regular and then I’m off at 5am and Ms Jones takes over from me. It’s fun, I love what I do.
Lady Jay UK: What kind of music do you play?
Lil Nat: We play hip hop, RnB, we also play some reggae. We play a few pop records, but only the ones that’s like top of the charts.
Lady Jay UK: What music are you feeling at the moment?
Lil Nat: As far as reggae goes, Movado right now, Supercat and all of them, those are legends.
Lady Jay UK: Yes!
Lil Nat: That goes without sayin! Hip hop; Kanye is awesome, 50 Cent – I still love you baby, Jay-Z – he’s an icon now, so he goes without saying. I still love the old school. I still love watching Big Daddy Kane perform, or Dougie Fresh… I just love music. Mary J Blige; love her; Keisha Cole; Alisha Keys; Ashanti.
I even love the new cats, Chris Brown, Neyo, Little Wayne, the list goes on and on. Do I have a favourite? I can’t say I do. I give respect to the people that set the craft, the role – and I give respect to the new ones that’s doin’ their thing so…
Lady Jay UK: So how can people check your show?
Lil Nat: Well, you can log on at hot97.com, and click on Lil Nat; there’s a lot of information on there, there’s a blog. There’s the ‘Ask Nat’ too! You can ask me questions online, also my Myspace page which is:
Bye UK! Thank you!