DJ Laz Helped Put Miami On the Hip-Hop Map

Categories: Luke's Gospel
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Alex Izaguirre
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke opines on DJ Laz's departure from Power 96 and the death of FM radio.

When my homeboy, Lazaro "DJ Laz" Mendez, suddenly resigned last week from the radio station where he's worked for the past 22 years, I called him up to find out what was going on. The last time I heard him this happy was when I invited him to be part of my performance at 2010's VH1 Hip Hop Honors show paying tribute to the pioneers of Southern rap music. Before we went onstage with Pitbull and Trick Daddy, Laz had a glow on his face. He loves entertaining people.

Laz helped me put Miami on the hip-hop map by injecting a little Cuban mojo into the booty music genre with hits such as "Mami El Negro," "Esa Morena," and "Sabrosura." When Laz broke into the scene, he was the first of his kind. In addition to being a well-known radio personality, he's a talented artist and music producer. He combined all three trades into successfully marketing himself as one of the best musicians coming out of Miami.

During a recent conversation, Laz said he wanted to focus on the happy things in his life: making music and going on the road. He felt stifled by the current state of FM radio. Back in the '80s and '90s, disc jockeys had a daily playlist of 50 to 60 songs. Every week, ten to 20 new ones were added to the list. Nowadays, it's down to 20. I can see how running the same tracks over and over can get boring.

Yet he was the consummate professional. Every weekend, he was doing gigs despite the fact that he had to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning Monday through Friday for his show on Power 96. It was a grueling schedule that can take a toll on anybody.

While I am excited for Laz, his resignation from the airwaves leaves a big hole in the local radio market.

He was one of the few morning DJs with deep roots in South Florida. Most of the radio hosts today are transplants from New York, New Orleans, or Orlando. Heck, 99 Jamz doesn't even have a local morning show. The station airs a syndicated show from Dallas. But that's the sorry state of the industry.

So I can't blame Laz for having the balls to do what most hard-working people always dream of doing: quit a stable, well-paying job for a new, creative challenge. I'm excited to see what he cooks up.

Follow Luke on Twitter @unclelukereal1.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.
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12 comments
Yahoo
Yahoo

Because everybody in south Florida was tired of him being on Power 96 for 22 years,they need something NEW, he was played out for years already and only a cuban (ref) would like his show!It SuckedGood Riddance

No
No

Maybe you should give up this little column and go expand YOUR horizons. Go ahead, Luke, I believe you can fly.

Oh and you'll be totally missed, like super missed.

So think about. No better time like the present, like..tomorrow?

Johnsmith
Johnsmith

Luke, thanks for letting us know that Laz injected mojo into your booty. That's awesome man!

Grant Stern
Grant Stern

Its the end of an era for Miami dance music.  

SlipKnotFan666
SlipKnotFan666

And this is why I rock my Zune every day in the car. Fuck Miami's Radio Stations! They suck, always the same songs. Wisin y Yandel, Don Omar, Marc Anthony, Prince Royce and fucktard Romeo Santos. That shit aint music, its bullshit.

Juan Djluv Quesada
Juan Djluv Quesada

well.. repeating the same 20 songs seems to be working for FM radio..  since (as a DJ) I have to keep playing the same crappy 20 songs at parties. The scene sucks now, most mobile DJs are viewed as mobile jukeboxes, blame technology for that.

BadMusic
BadMusic

Congrats Laz on helping make regular radio shit.   Power 96 is terrible.

Rocky Bass
Rocky Bass

Oh thank god, for a second I feared for Miami's losing it's TOP position in the HipHop culture!

Christopher76
Christopher76

It seems like everyone but the radio stations seem to notice that they only play the same 20 songs.  Wake up, the music scene has changed.  How do these radio stations expect to compete with things like Pandora, satellite radio, heck even MP3's?  Do they not see the lineup of sold out festivals across the country?

As more and more cars start to get connected, radio stations are going to become the Blackberry of smart phones. They should start making radios optional on cars. 

As for home listening, I cannot even tell the last time I listen to the radio there.  The radio stations lost that battle a while ago.

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