Tim Westwood is a white hip hop DJ for Radio 1. Son of a bishop, he left grammar school at 16 and started out carrying record boxes for local DJs, before setting up pirate radio stations LWR and Kiss FM. He went on to join London's Capital FM. Seven years later, in 1994, he was signed up to host a show on Radio 1 during it's rebirth from outdated station (resulting in a massive cull of DJs) to something altogether fresher and more in touch with it's youth audience.
He is the wrong side of 40 for a DJ, let alone presenting a rap show. This, coupled with his colour, is often reason alone for many listeners to hate him. His shooting (almost killing him) whilst driving home from a gig is sometimes used as justification that everyone else hates him too. However, it appears that all rappers who come and see Westwood look through his physical attributes and understand that he really talks ghetto all the time. He is the embodiment of the black man stuck in a white man's body, often credited as being the inspiration for Ali G. Westwood even drives an imported white GMC truck with chrome dubs. He does not however, drink or take drugs. Which is pretty commendable, really. He's also aware of responsibilities his role has reiterating that staying in school is the best policy and he declines to do gigs during exam periods. David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham (youngest ever UK MP, at the age of 27) often features on the rap show, to try and show the listeners the importance of voting if they want change.
Westwood's award-winning radio show is the only national hip hop show in the UK and often plays exclusive tracks which cannot be heard anywhere else this side of the pond. The show itself is produced by his own company, Justice Productions. Notably, he uses a famous bomb jingle when DJing. Arguably the best promos on Radio 1 are done by Westwood: "No guitars, no chill-out, just hard hip hop!" He is often joined by Cipher Sounds, a fellow black DJ who mixes better than Westwood. He doesn't have a bomb, though. Westwood semi-reguarly broadcasts from Hot 97 in New York, joined by Marley Marl and sometimes Funkmaster Flex.
Westwood's fame has landed him a record deal with Def Jam records, in collaboration with Justice productions, in the UK. He releases compilation albums, currently up to Westwood 2 (with a third on the way). All feature unique mixes, Westwood's jingles recorded by other rappers and, of course, the bomb. The first album is of particular note as it is the only one where Westwood has recorded an introduction, in his own intimitable ideolect:
UK, understand what's about to go down - Westwood, the album. And we're going to bang in your face with the hottest joints on the street. Real hip hop - nothing but big things. Now drop the bomb! *cue bomb jingle*
The Westwood jingles*
- Yeah yeah, y'all, it's jigga man AKA HOVA, AKA Jay-Z, blasting off with Tim Westwood, big dogg style. You heard? - Jay-Z
- It's the murderous J to A to R U L E and I'm chilling with my dogg, realest n***a in London, Westwood: Tim Westwood, baby! Holla! - Ja Rule
- Yo yo yo, this DMX. Slow it down for a minute, dogg. I'm trying to chill! - DMX
- Hey yo, this is the dogg. This is the dogg. DMX. And when I come to the UK, I don't f**k with nobody but my dogg, Tim Westwood, you know? - DMX
- Do you know what you're listening to? it's about to get very ugly! - Eminem
- Yo, what's the deal? This is Ludacris, dropping bombs all over the world, all over yo' ass, it's going down! Tim Westwood, baby: all day every day. Aiiiii. Yeah! - Ludacris
- Hold up, ho ho ho, chill. Stop the press! Stop the press! This is funked out (?) coming to y'all motherf**kers live, brick city style, with my man Tim Westwood! - Redman
- Hey yo yo, this is Method right here. Hey yo, I'm just high as hell right here, and we getting f**ked up, weed, hash getting smoked with a chalice, Westwood style, baby! - Method Man
- What's up y'all, you know how we do it. It's 2Pac, representing real hip hop. - 2Pac
- Yo, what's up? This is the Dragon. Westwood, yo, I feel like doing it like this... - Sisqo
- Tim Westwood: Gangster - Unknown
- *spooky style* Westwooooooooooddd - Unknown
*These are only the ones I can find on the albums. There are far more.
The props: Big thanks to Teiresias for pointing out Westwood's posh schooling. Tim Westwood.com web page, http://www.timwestwood.com. Accessed on 28th April 2002. BBC Radio 1 Westwood biography, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/urban/westwood_bio.shtml. Accessed on 28th April 2002. BBC News - David Lammy web page, http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk_politics/newsid_807000/807866.stm. Accessed on 29th April 2002.