Current Location :: Chicago, USA
Real Names :: Ralphie 'Rockin'
Rosario, Scott 'Smokin' Silz, Kenny 'Jammin' Jason, Farley 'Jackmaster' Funk
Music Genres ::Chicago House
Artist's DJ List & DJ Mag Rankings
DJ MagRanks :: (2010) N/A (2011) N/A (2012) N/A DJ List Ranks :: (Global) N/A
A legendary Chicago based DJ team formaly
known as the Hot 5 with Farley Jackmaster Funk and Mickey
You thought it was dead. You even mourned
its absence. But whoever told you disco died was lying. Well
they weren't necessarily lying - they were just misinformed.
You see disco never died; it just descended. Now you might
be asking yourself what could the bellbottom wearing, afro-fabulous,
Saturday Night Fever-living-times have "descended"
in to In one sentence One of the greatest elements of Chicago's
Although it has been rumored that house music was to have
been co-invented in our sister city New York, make no mistake,
Chicago's style and sound combination took people on the wildest
rides of their lives and claimed an identity all its own.
And although several artists contributed to this advanced
genre of dance music, there were five individuals that laid
some serious groundwork. Despite confusion of the original
team, the names of replacements and the vendettas that surrounded
the industry as a whole, these five remained strong - strong
enough to leave a severe dent in the city of Chicago. They
may not have parted "best friends" - or have even
passed as business associates-- but they made Chicago, house
music, and the world that surrounds that lifestyle what it
is, as we know it today. These five individuals were the premier
DJ team in the world. Ladies and gentlemen it gives me great
pleasure to introduce to you the Hot Mix 5.
Farley "Jackmaster" Funk, Mickey "Mixin"
Oliver, Scott "Smokin" Silz, Ralphi Rosario and
Kenny "Jammin" Jason, all arrived for a meeting
planned by Michaels to discuss his idea for a house mix show.
The sixth interviewee, Jeff Davis, failed to show. During
this meeting they talked of this "team/corporation"
they were forming. They were the Hot Mix guys which was the
generic term iven to the group before members were chosen
by Michaels and after hours of struggling with names they
decided on the Hot Mix 5.
Chosen to host the show was part-time WBMX radio personality
Armando Rivera. It wasn't long after the 5 were formed that
the show developed a personality all it's own. "It's
the Saturday Night Live Ain't no Jive mix show hosted by Armando."
Each week the switchboard would light up with requests and
comments about their favorite of the 5. Playing the latest
in house sounds, Farley appealed to the African-American audience,
Ralphi to the Hispanic audience, Mickey and Kenny represented
the streets of Chicago and Scott the suburbs. For scheduled
guest appearances they would pack venues with thousands of
people, sweat would be dripping from the ceiling and sometimes
the cops would come and close the place down for violating
fire codes with hundreds of people over-populating these events.
"Driving down Rush and Division [in downtown Chicago]
on the weekend was like listening to a giant ghetto blaster,"
recalls Michaels, "It didn't matter what creed you were
or what kind of car you had-- everyone had the Saturday Night
Live Ain't No Jive show on - it gave me chills."
Their success seemed to be larger than life. They were in
demand around the city getting paid unprecedented amounts
of money to play an hour-long set. If they played a record
on Saturday night, come Sunday morning kids would be at the
record store eagerly waiting to buy it. But with all this
good fame and fortune came trying times.
By popular demand, after only three months of on airtime
as the Hot Mix 5, a Friday night mix show was added. Now it
was no longer the Saturday Night Live Ain't No Jive show but
also the Friday Night Jam. The months to follow would add
the Hot Lunch Mix and also 15 minute Mini-mixes throughout
the day. The demand for the men was getting stressful. Aside
from turning in two weekly mix tapes for radio play they were
playing events/parties on Friday and Saturday nights per their
contracts with WBMX. Plus they were expected to live their
own lives. At the time Ralphi was only a freshman in high
school. Although the stresses were inevitable after four years
on WBMX (1981-1984) the show was about to reach a turning
Through the years, Michaels served as the "unofficial
manager" of the group. Helping the guys understand the
technical side of their contracts and their popularity, he
also encouraged them to pursue their own musical careers as
well. Making up to thousands of dollars an hour they would
agree to play clubs, and throw their own parties for the 5
to play at. Record deals were offered to the men, even offers
from other radio stations to lure the 5 away from WBMX. After
seeing fellow members' egos grow along with their wallets
it was obvious that animosity was growing and in 1984 reached
it's high point.
After claiming that he couldn't take the attitudes and egos
Scott "Smokin" Silz left the group. Although other
stories for his leaving have circulated through the group
Scott says, "We were 5 different guys from 5 different
backgrounds who wanted different things. We were never really
friends - just business partners. It was bound to happen over
time. I just felt my time had come so I moved on to bigger
and better things." Scott's leaving marked the beginning
of the end for the 5.
Frequent guest mixer Julian "Jumpin" Perez filled
the fifth slot after winning a city-wide DJ Battle. And after
only a few months of Julian's arrival Farley decided to leave
the group to go to their competing station WGCI in hopes of
finding more money and success. "I wanted to get away
from the other guys," says Farley, "and just being
a big-headed DJ at the time it was all about me." No
formal replacement procedure was made after his departure
- the fifth slot was left open for guest mixers and the name
"Hot Mix 5" stayed the same. Sharing time in the
fifth slot were guest mixers Steve "Silk" Hurley,
Frankie Knuckles and Frankie "Hollywood" Rodriguez.
Farley began mixing as part of the "Jackmasters on WGCI
along with Mario "Smokin" Diaz, Mario Reyes, Mike
"Hitman" Wilson, Fast Eddie and Bad Boy Bill. Looking
to follow WBMX's successful universal mix show mix show formula
WGCI began beating them in ratings and in October 1985 lured
father figure and creator of the 5 - Lee Michaels to the program
irector position at the competing station.
Soon after Michael's departure the group felt the effects
of his absence. BMX was loosing listeners to 'GCI and conflicts
between the Hot Mix 5 and executives at the station began
to develop. In an effort to make a statement in July of 1986,
the three remaining original members of the Hot Mix 5 (Kenny
Jason, Ralphi Rosario and Mickey Oliver) walked out on 'BMX
leaving behind only guest mixers and new Hot Mix 5 member
Julian "Jumpin" Perez. Leaving the station without
a mix show and relocating to WGCI new home of Lee Michaels
- the family would be reunited. Unfortunately it wasn't that
simple. According to Ralphi Rosario WGCI didn't pay what was
discussed and didn't give the airplay desired or promised-
except on the a.m. show. WBMX also filed a lawsuit against
the 3 for breach of contract. Although no monetary values
were collected, the end result for them leaving before their
contract was up was they were not allowed to play on any other
radio station except for WBMX until their contracts had expired
(one month remained).
Without the Hot Mix 5 the air time at BMX was filled by Julian
Perez and several of the guest mixers such as Bad Boy Bill,
Frankie "Hollywood" Rodriguez and Mike "Hitman"
Farley, Kenny, Scott, Mickey, Ralphi and Mario Diaz mixed
as the Hot Mix 5 at GCI. For the month remaining on their
contracts per BMX Mario carried the show himself. Shortly
following the groups relocation to the new station Farley
returned back to BMX. But Farley's return was short-lived.
In 1988 BMX was sold and due to internal stockholder conflicts,
closed its doors forever. Looking back on the situation Farley
explains,"What they [BMX] did really upset me because
they paid me big bucks to come back and all they wanted to
do was get the ratings back up and once they did they sold
it and then I was out of a job."
Farley eventually returned to WGCI a few years later where
Ralphi, Kenny, Scott and Mario mixed as the Hot Mix 5. Farley
quit in early 1999. The remaining members were Scott and Kenny.
A few months after Farley's depature the Club 1075 mix show
Since that time four of the original members have pursued
successful musical careers. Farley pursued a career in music
production and is recognized as one of the pioneers and creators
of house music (Godfather of House). Ralphi also pursued a
career in music production after attending Columbia College
Chicago for three years in communications. Scott pursued a
career in radio production and is currently the production
manager for the V103 (former home of BMX) morning show the
Mond Squad and also the Mini concert. He also started his
own Mobile DJ company Hot Mix Productions. Kenny became a
police officer and has been a lieutenant for the past 15 years.
His part-time job is as a volunteer fireman and hosting a
syndicated radio station that plays at hits and dusties in
30 cities across the United States, including Mexico. Shortly
after the breakup of the Hot Mix 5 Mickey moved to Arizona
with his family and pursued a career in contracting million
dollar homes. He is currently running a phone company in Phoenix.
Although the 5 have a great amount of respect for each other
and still talk, they wouldn't all consider each other close
friends. Just 5 individuals who shared a life changing experience
- that changed not only themselves but the city of Chicago
and music as well.
What started out as a small idea by a man name Lee Michaels,
the Hot Mix 5 still lives as the name of Pioneers amongst
the House Music nation. Memories from that time period will
forever linger as the times that made dance music what it
is today. This was the premier DJ team in the world - playing
music that transcended all barriers to appeal and influence
everyone. Despite animosity, egos and money, the 5 laid the
groundwork that developed the Chicago street flava that draws
individuals in from around the world. They were the infamous
Hot Mix 5. And although you might not be able to name the
original 5 if you aren't a native to our windy city, their
sound is unmistakable and once you hear it you won't ever
be the same.
By Rebecca Ortiz
That article has been listed with permission from Rebecca
Oritz. The article is copyright so please do not reproduce
without her permission.