Angie Martinez abruptly leaves New York’s Hot 97 for rival Power 105


Angie Martinez and singer Kelly Rowland attend a launch event at Gansevoort Park Avenue on May 23, 2012, in New York City. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Grey Goose)

The hip-hop world was shocked by the news that Angie Martinez, known as “The Voice of New York,” resigned from New York’s Hot 97, one of the most fabled radio stations in hip-hop history. Widely regarded as one of hip-hop’s prevailing kingmakers — she’s interviewed just about every hip-hop star there is in the past 20 years — Martinez spent the better part of 25 years with the radio station. She announced the move Wednesday in an Instagram post.

In the caption, she wrote:

Today I resigned from HOT97. I am grateful to the Emmis family for my time with the company and the immeasurable way that it has shaped my life. We made history together in so many ways and I will cherish those memories and my friendships forever. This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make but ultimately it is time to move on, to grow and to be challenged in new ways. Saying goodbye is always emotional and bitter sweet but I am extremely excited about the future. Thank you HOT97 and most importantly….the listeners… for an unimaginable journey. Today will be my last show ❤️ stay tuned…. Love, angie

The height of Martinez’s popularity came in the early aughts when basketball jersey dresses and Manolo Blahnik Timberlands were the prevailing and coveted styles in hip-hop. Jennifer Lopez wore the Manolos in the “Jenny From the Block” video, back when her career was at Peak Baby Hair.

The 2002 Taye Diggs/Sanaa Lathan romance “Brown Sugar” was in part a tribute to Martinez’s influence as a radio host. In it, Diggs plays a record company A&R executive who’s trying to shop the work of an emcee who he thinks has real talent. Diggs’s character, Dre, has grown rich, but is disillusioned with the souless cookie-cutter rap he’s expected to seek and peddle, so he quits his job to follow his conscience, start his own label and sign Cavi, the rapper played by Mos Def. Dre’s grand moment of vindication occurs when he gets Cavi’s record played during the Angie Martinez show.

Some have wondered if Martinez, 43, will be making the jump to Hot 97′s rival station Power 105, home to “The Breakfast Club,” the station’s signature show that stars hosts Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God.

Update: Reports confirm that Martinez has joined Power 105.

The past year has been one of tumult for the Hot 97, which is owned by Emmis Communications. Justin Hunte laid out the station’s problems in April for Hip Hop DX:

Former HOT 97 Morning Show member, K. Foxx was unexpectedly removed from her co-hosting duties early last summer. Four months after being arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover male police officer, legendary deejay Mister Cee resigned from the station in September 2013. Both controversial departures made national headlines and landed squarely on the desk of Program Director, Ebro Darden who announced that he is stepping down as PD in March 2014. Coupled with a losing ratings battle with NYC rival, Power 105.1, an aging roster of on-air legends in pivotal time slots arguably growing out of touch with their younger audiences, an array of competition from satellite and online radio, iTunes and streaming services and it’s not crazy to read tweets like “HOT 97 is launching a reality show” and immediately think money problems. Comparatively speaking, what do slumping artists do when they can’t crack SoundScan?

 

Martinez made quite a few appearances on records and mixtapes herself, including on Lil Kim’s “Not Tonight (Ladies Night Remix).” Martinez’s most popular single, “If I Could Go,” was on her second and last album, “Animal House,” released by Elektra in 2002, just a year after her first album, “Up Close and Personal.”

Soraya Nadia McDonald covers arts, entertainment and culture for the Washington Post with a focus on race and gender issues.
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