July 26, 2013

Tim Westwood axed as the Voice of Hip Hop in the UK

Presenter (DJ) Tim Westwood is leaving BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra as part of a schedule shakeup

FROM THE INDEPENDENT Tim Westwood, the pioneering hip-hop DJ whose adopted “street” patois divided listeners, has been axed as Radio 1’s voice of rap after nearly 20 years on the station.

The middle-class son of the former Bishop of Peterborough, Westwood, 55, was frequently mocked for speaking in the street slang of the largely black rap artists he championed. But the Sony Award-winning broadcaster also introduced generations of listeners to the latest developments in hip-hop and helped a new wave of British performers become stars in the US-dominated genre.

His close relationship with hip-hop’s biggest names, from Public Enemy to Jay Z, who recognised the influence Westwood wielded over fans, delivered many exclusives for the BBC.

Tim Westwood was the last DJ to interview Heavy D in November 2011. The interview was conducted just hours before his return trip to the U.S.following a tribute performance for Michael Jackson in Wales.

Westwood joined Radio 1 in 1994 to present the station’s first dedicated rap show. He will be replaced by rising star Charlie Sloth, under a shake-up designed to promote a new generation of “urban” presenters. Westwood’s association with digital sister station 1Xtra, where he had been one of the most prominent voices, will also come to an end. Ben Cooper, Radio 1 Controller said: “I’d like to thank Tim for the last 20 years on Radio 1. His passion for hip-hop is legendary. I wish him all the very best.”

Westwood’s agent said he was unavailable to comment as he was preparing to play a club show in Leeds on Friday night.

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