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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Payne

A Legendary DJ's Celebratory Journey from Hip-Hop to Heavenly Anthems

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

DJ SKNO's journey began in Dayton, Ohio, where he was raised in the C.O.G.I.C church community. As the son of a preacher, he grew up with strict rules against secular music. However, DJ SKNO's (pronounced SKAY-NO) passion for music couldn't be suppressed. He found a way to listen to radio stations like WDAO FM and WBLZ on a clock radio in his room, discovering new music and developing a love for all genres.

Inspired by his father's trumpet playing, DJ SKNO also honed his skills as a talented trumpet player. Despite his musical talents, his parents insisted that he play in the "All City Orchestra" instead of joining the marching band, which frustrated him. As he grew older, DJ SKNO's curiosity for all genres intensified, and he began sneaking out at night to experience new sounds led by DJs.

Determined to pursue his own path in music, DJ SKNO sought the tutelage of Mark Jones, The Hustler, who owned various clubs in Dayton. Inspired by Jones, DJ SKNO learned the art of DJing through observation and imitation. He would sneak out to clubs like the Palladium, watching Jones skillfully command the turntables. Later, DJ SKNO would not only develop mentorship with Mark Jones, but also become acquainted with Mixmaster Ice of U.T.F.O. In 1983, Dayton was buzzing with dance contests, including Michael Jackson and breakdancing, which further fueled DJ SKNO's passion for music.

DJ SKNO's journey led him to become a DJ with a Dayton crew called "Unique Cut and TOOMB." With two other members, Dr. Ease from the "Eastown Posse" and Russ d-kompose Pryor. Embracing the nickname "scandalous" given by his peers, DJ SKNO became a legendary figure in Dayton's DJing realm. DJ SKNO's moniker "Stay Paying Attention" refers to his ability to consistently provide exclusive mixtapes in Dayton, Ohio. The phrase "Stay Paying Attention" suggests that listeners should remain attentive and tuned in to DJ SKNO's work, as he consistently delivers high-quality and exclusive content. By using this moniker, DJ SKNO emphasizes the importance of staying updated and engaged with his mixtapes, as they are considered to be the most exclusive in the Dayton area.

DJ SKNO's unique style includes expert scratches, seamless mixes, electrifying blends, and fierce battle skills. He developed his own DJ twist, mastering the original techniques while relying on controllers. With his unmatched skills and passion for the craft, DJ SKNO continues to captivate audiences and push the boundaries of DJing.

DJ SKNO acknowledges the profound influence of funk on hip-hop, specifically mentioning funk groups from Dayton like Lakeside and Zapp. He highlights Faze-O as one of the most sampled groups of its time, showcasing the lasting impact of these funk pioneers.

According to DJ SKNO, hip-hop originated in the East Coast of New York with artists like Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, and African Bambaataa. He explains that hip-hop evolved from DJing and has now become rap, which can be categorized into different styles such as conscious rap, mumble rap, and trap rap.

DJ SKNO emphasizes that hip-hop is not just about rap but also a lifestyle. He believes that elements like graffiti, fashion, and artistic creation shape the culture of hip hop. His top five hip hop artists are Jadakiss, Rakim, KRS One, Nas, and Ice Cube, all of whom have inspired him with their DJing skills and lyrical messages.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip hop, DJ SKNO reflects on his memories and embraces his gospel roots through his syndicated podcast show, "Power In Praise Gospel Mixshow." He incorporates new sounds, DJ techniques, and scratches while featuring classic gospel singers. DJ SKNO aims to spread a better message for a better world and encourages future artists to create positive music that avoids demeaning content.

DJ SKNO has been a part of the esteemed DJ coalition known as the "Core DJs" and had a notable 15-plus-year stint on Sirius XM radio named Shade45. With over 38 years as a DJ, he continues his DJ career, representing positive music and inspiring the local hip-hop scene in Dayton.

To access DJ SKNO's podcast and learn more about his latest ventures, visit his website at DJ SKNO's gospel podcast is motivational and worth listening to, offering uplifting messages to start the day or unwind before bed. He emphasizes the importance of supporting positive and uplifting messages in hip- hop while recognizing its prevalence in daily life. In addition to his gospel music podcast, DJ SKNO also hosts exclusive parties where he showcases his skills in DJing various genres, including old school R&B, rap, reggae, soca, Afro beats, gospel, funk, and of course, hip hop. With a diverse selection of music, DJ SKNO creates an atmosphere that caters to the tastes of a wide range of music lovers, celebrating the vibrant history and influence of hip hop as it reaches its 50th anniversary. Whether it's the soulful melodies of old school R&B, the infectious rhythms of reggae, the energetic beats of Afro beats, or the uplifting sounds from his roots of gospel, DJ SKNO ensures that his parties are filled with joy, excitement, and a vibrant musical experience that pays homage to the trailblazing culture of hip hop. His versatility further solidifies his legendary status and reinforces his ability to connect with audiences of various backgrounds and musical preferences during this milestone celebration.

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