O.G. New York DJ, Mr. Magic, reportedly died of a heart attack either Friday morning (October 2), but details surrounding his death are currently unknown.
The news was revealed by radio personality Miss Info, via her blog MissInfo.tv, where the legendary DJ Premier shares a condolences in a letter she posted.
“I WANT TO SEND OUT THE UTMOST RESPECT AND CONDOLENCES TO THE MEMORY OF JOHN RIVAS —- aka MR. MAGIC. HE PASSED AWAY THIS MORNING OF A HEART ATTACK,” Premier wrote. “HE PAVED THE WAY FOR ALL RADIO STATIONS THAT EVER DID MIXSHOWS AND ALSO SPARKED THE CAREER OF BOOGIE DOWN PRODUCTIONS DUE TO THE DISS HE SHOWED WHEN THEY CAME TO SHOP THEIR DEMO TO HIM AND WAS TURNED AWAY WHICH THEN SPARKED ‘SOUTH BRONX’ AND ‘THE BRIDGE IS OVER’…”
Mr. Magic was legendary. Even the Notorious B.I.G. name-checked him in his debut single “Juicy.” If you remember the lyrics, he spits: “Every Saturday ‘Rap Attack,’ Mr. Magic, Marley Marl …”
Biggie immortalized him, but even with the shoutout, he was already a living legend. He was a pioneer in the hip-hop world, who was the first to host a mixshow hour on commercial radio — a feat that was revolutionary in the early 1980s, but every common today. Well, he paved the way for it.
The show was called “Rap Attack,” and was put together by Magic, Marley Marl and Tyrone “Fly Ty” Williams.
He is also known — as Premier mentioned — for his party in the now-legendary battle between the Juice Crew (Marley Marl and featuring Big Daddy Kane, Craig G. and Kool G Rap) and KRS-One’s Boogie Down Productions.
BDP were the first to hear the MC Shan’s infamous track, “The Bridge,” an ode thought to be proclaiming hip-hop’s start in Queens, while pushing their demo to Magic. After feeling snubbed by Magic, who was affiliated with the Juice Crew, BDP fired back with the classic tracks “The Bridge is Over” and “South Bronx.” The tracks were spun heavily by Magic rival Red Alert, fueling the memorable “Bridge Wars” that lasted throughout the 80s.
That beef eventually died down.
Since the news broke, thousands of Twitter replies have been posted about Magic’s untimely death, including rappers such as Styles P and Talib Kweli.
At press time, it was unknown how old Mr. Magic was.