Martini Rox: Spotlight on a legendWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
The first club I went to when I moved to Toledo was the Drop Zone; it was there I decided Toledo was a cool place to live. I was underage and a young aspiring DJ in total awe of the big DJ, up high, in a booth, who could only be accessed from an unstable ladder. I was unaware at the time, but I was witnessing a moment in Toledo’s Hip-Hop history. You can walk into the barbershop and ask anyone about their fondest party memories and I can almost guarantee it has to do with Roderick King, aka DJ Lyte N Rod. He is a known staple in Toledo’s urban community and one of our beloved legends. He has produced more than 30 mixtapes, some of which are responsible for the birth of his younger audience.
DJ Lyte N Rod’s history spans 25 years, from the time he carried dozens of crates to his current days of Serato. Knowing he can battle Old School with Technics 1200s or New School with CDJs and MP3s should give you an idea of how instrumental he has been in the evolution of Hip-Hop in Toledo. A DJ is responsible for introducing new music to a mass amount of people. Whether the DJ commands the airwaves at a radio station or a party, his/her introduction of a new song is a pivotal moment in an artist’s career. A true master at his craft, Lyte N Rod has done radio and has been responsible for breaking “street records.” A street record may not make the airwaves, but if you attend any of Rod’s parties, the crowd’s reaction to a song you have never heard could be overwhelming.
At the age of 14, King witnessed something that forever changed his life.
“Grandmaster Flash was on MTV, he was flashing two Michael Jackson records, a ‘Billie Jean’ and a ‘Beat It’ record back and forth and I was blown away,” King said.
He didn’t waste any time finding equipment. He rigged two old turntables, put them in sawed-down crates, bought a Radio Shack mixer and started practicing. He secured his first gig at the South Toledo Boys Club where his first mentor, Dave Dean, allowed him access to an empty office for practice. In 1990, Rod landed his first club night at Lodeanna’s and there he met his MC, Wardell Chandler, the late DJ Mixx. DJ Mixx was, and still is, widely known as the best party MC to ever grab the microphone. From the moment the two met, until Mixx’s untimely death in 2005, the two were synonymous with one another.
After the devastating loss of his partner and friend compounded by a tough divorce and fatigue, Lyte N Rod needed a change. King packed his clothes and equipment and decided to drive until he got tired. He ended up in Tennessee where he bumped into an old friend from high school. They went out for drinks, the friend mentioned to the owner that King was a well-known Ohio DJ and the rest is history.
DJ Lyte N Rod is in high demand from here to Tennessee. He successfully balances gigs like the official parties for the Tennessee Titans, club dates in Toledo and being the DJ for the Toledo-based rock group Sleeper Cell. Lyte N Rod will be the guest DJ on BET’s “106th and Park” at 6 p.m. on Feb. 28. He is also looking forward to his eighth annual birthday party with his friends and fellow March birthday DJs, DJ OneTyme and DJ Jay Roc. They have decided on the theme, “Back to the Hotel,” revisiting the theme of their infamous fifth year party. This year it will be at the Ramada on Secor Road March 5, and he promises it will be an event to remember.
But who could ever forget a night with a Legend? As we continue on …