Already a vanguard radio personality, record producer and hip-hop artist, Sway Calloway migrated East from his hometown of Oakland, California, in the summer of 2000 to join the ranks of MTV News as the channel's resident hip-hop correspondent. Since joining MTV News, Sway has hosted the live interactive hip-hop show "Direct Effect" ("DFX"), for which he interviewed such acts as DMX, P. Diddy, Master P, the Roots, Scarface and Mystikal; co-hosted the MTV Video Music Awards pre- and post-shows; contributed to MTV's 9/11 coverage; hosted "News Now" specials on Eminem, Jay-Z and Nas; and conducted interviews for MTV News with such artists as Jennifer Lopez, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, Ludacris and Usher. In addition, he co-hosted, along with fellow MTV News correspondent SuChin Pak, the show "Bangin' the Charts," which examined the various music charts and included interesting facts and stories behind the hits and misses.
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Sway first caught the public's eye in the late '80s/early '90s in such highly-trafficked Bay Area locales as San Francisco's Pier 39 and popular city venues like Club Mirage and Club Envy, where he and his partner King Tech staged breakdancing and rap performances. Around this same time, Sway and Tech established their own independent record label, All City Records. After one of their records, Follow for Now, made waves on the local Bay Area charts, a Warner Bros. executive approached them with a big-league record deal. The resulting album, Concrete Jungle, combined innovative hip-hop sounds with traces of house.
In 1990, after Sway won a rap battle and Tech won a DJ contest, both hosted by San Francisco's top radio station, KMEL, they found themselves hosting "The Wake Up Show," their very own hip-hop variety program broadcast live every Friday night from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. An instant success, the show quickly became credited as having singularly catapulted hip-hop music and culture from a marginal underground movement into a signature Bay Area subculture. After just four years on the air, the show was picked up to be simulcast on 92.3 "The Beat" in Los Angeles. From there it spread across the U.S. and was picked up in a number of other major urban markets, including Chicago and Philadelphia. Today, "The Wake Up Show" is internationally syndicated, reaching over 25 different markets in five countries.
By 1995, "The Wake Up Show" was not only widely recognized as the country's preeminent hip-hop radio show, but it also became a hub of activity where pioneering artists mingled with record producers looking for the next hot act. Among the neophytes who got their very first airplay on "The Wake Up Show" were Biggie Smalls and Eminem. With the runaway success of "The Wake Up Show," Sway was approached, once again by KMEL, to bring his magic to the coveted morning drive time slot as DJ of his own show, aptly called "Sway and the Breakfast Club."
The many connections Sway was able to make through radio brought yet another record deal his way in 1997. Recognizing Sway's instincts for great sound and promising talent, Interscope enlisted him and his old partner Tech to produce an album called This or That, which featured many of the same exciting new acts that had been introduced to the world on "The Wake Up Show," including Eminem, KRS-One, and Rza from the Wu-Tang Clan.
Today, in addition to acting as the "DFX" news correspondent, Sway continues to contribute to "The Wake Up Show" from the East Coast. He also presides over his own hip-hop clothing company called Temple Effectives, as well as Bolo Entertainment, a management company that is currently handling a lineup of emerging artists.
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