The modern Twin Cities hip-hop sound will hit the airwaves on the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 3 p.m. as Go 95.3.
Led by DJ and music director Mr. Peter Parker, the station fuses rhythmic hip-hop stars (Drake, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole) with the critics’ darlings (Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar) and the best original voices coming out of the local scene.
“It’s the Ketel One of rap stations,” says Parker, who was a host on B96 between 2006 and 2009. “It’s the best we’ve found through research, and months and months of listening to music, looking at the charts, and YouTube. A little bit of local, a little bit of music you can dance to, a little bit of thoughtful hip-hop.”
The new station – which launched Facebook and Twitter accounts – expands the reach of the Pohlad Companies’ Go Media, which also includes the modern alternative station Go 96.3 and breaking news website BringMeTheNews.com. The 95.3 frequency was purchased for $8 million from Praise FM last year.
'People out here really rocked with me'
After more than half a decade away from Minnesota, Parker was eager to come back for the opportunity to shape Go 95.3.
“I missed performing for these people,” he says. “I missed the interaction. I had amazing experiences elsewhere, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. People out here really rocked with me. The love I’ve gotten from people in Minnesota is second to none.”
Parker has spent 20 years as a radio host, mixtape DJ, and interviewer. In addition to his time in the Twin Cities, his career has included on-air stints in Boston, Washington D.C., and Cleveland. He fell in love with hip-hop and radio at the same time during his childhood growing up in the Northeast.
“There was a college radio station,” he says. “Emerson College, 88.9. When I was in junior high, they had a show called Flavor of the City from 8 to midnight every night. Nothing but underground rap. I would listen every night when I was doing my homework and I would go to bed and listen all the way to the last song.”
Parker cites legendary New York DJ Funkmaster Flex and DJ Jazzy Jeff as two of his early influences as a performer on the turntables. To him it’s like putting a puzzle together as fast as you can, and a different way every time.
“I remember mowing the lawn at my parents’ house in the suburbs listening to the 'He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper' tape and hearing the scratching,” he says. “The A-side had all the fluffy kind of singles and stuff, but the B-side was my introduction to the elements of hip-hop.”
As a host, Parker compares his eccentric personality to late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien, and he studies the great comedians to add to his repertoire. Some of it is still just a hip-hop fan who can’t contain himself.
“I still call my buddies from college on the phone to check out new albums," he says. “Now I do the same thing on the radio every day, but with my new friends.”