The 20 most coveted Colorado music-industry jobs: The complete list with five new profiles

Categories: Lists

Afternoon Drive Host (DJ Chonz, KS107.5)

The afternoon drive time host of KS-1075DJ Chonz is probably one of the most recognizable personalities in the hip-hop scene. Co-founder of the Radio Bums crew, Chonz is a self-taught masterful DJ whose love for the craft is matched only by his consistency and work ethic.

"It started early when I was (in sixth grade), but my brother got into gangs and got rid of the turntables," Chonz recalls of his first exposure to music. In high school, Chonz hung out at the hip-hop-centric storefront, Casa Del Fonk, where Asia, the store's owner, would let him hone his skills, "They had one turntable and an old CD player I would play with," he remembers, "but no one taught me how to mix."

Chonz instead developed his skills by listening to the mixtapes they sold at Casa Del Fonk by dudes like Jam X, or from going to parties and listening to Hen-G scratch. "That dude," he says, referring to Hen-G, "came over to my house one time when I got my first turntable and scratched. I recorded it and learned to scratch from that."

In 1996, Chonz went on the "Eclipse Show" on KGNU 88.5 to battle a couple other DJs, Chris Nathan and Hakeem Klaaliq. Chonz won the battle and kept winning for a couple weeks, and that gave him the opportunity to open for De La Soul at the Fox Theatre. Now an on-air personality at KS-1075, Chonz wasn't even in town when he got the job, "I was doing an internship in L.A. when Francios Baptiste was pitching the show to the previous program director," Chonz says with a laugh. "It was him [Francois] and Kingdom. He asked me to be the DJ for their show."

The quality of the Sunday mix show resulted in Chonz receiving offers to work Friday and Saturdays street parties, which eventually led to mixing on The 5'oclock Commercial Free Traffic Jam, which led to a full time air shift. "I was the first person to mix live on the radio," he says. "As far as commercial radio, no one was doing that."

Now an established figure, Chonz has lately focused on giving back to the community. This coming summer, Chonz and his brother Fienz will celebrate the twentieth year of Lordz of Finesse with another bboy jam in July, building on countless community parties he's helped host, bringing music and food to the people in Denver. "I just want to be a positive role model for these kids to look up to," he concludes. -- Antonio Valenzuela

My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
Joni Watkins
Joni Watkins

I spy Ghost Pixel Visuals - Tom GhostPixel Ludlow

darrylgarcia303
darrylgarcia303

Chonz is a poor excuse for a dj. He has no skill whatsoever. Yeah he can scratch a little but as far as blending a beat smoothly....go back to the drawing boards buddy...track selection is garbage timing is garbage...He must of gave someone a really really good blumpkin to get his spot on the radio...by the way what exactly is a chonz?

lltt2177
lltt2177

This is great about denver scene, but being someone who has visited Denver a few times, and been to some of these "events" that some of the above names mention has thrown parties in the past.  I will say they are not approachable people. They are not humble. Maybe some should realize that in order to be example you need to act like one and really give back.

tagava
tagava

@lltt2177 

i'd like to disagree with you on that.  Being someone who LIVES in Denver/Boulder I've been to these 'events' more times than I can remember (don't know why you put events in quotations). if you're approaching someone to try and chit chat at an event they're producing and managing, they don't have time for that.  Imagine someone coming up to you at your job and trying to have a conversation with you?  It doesn't work like that - yes the event may seem like a fun time, drinks are being had everyones having a good time - but SOMEONE has to be making sure that these events are running smoothly, and those people usually are the people mentioned in the list above.  If you want to meet the person as they are in person when they're not 'on the clock' - do your best to contact them and meet them at a time that fits both of your schedules.  Being that the music industry isn't a strict 9-5 type of job, this is very important. I intern for Berk Visual (Elm & Oak) and he is one of the nicest and more open people i've ever met, and it's been great working and learning from him.  There isn't a person or even little kid that comes into the shop with their own clothing line or music that he doesn't give his full attention too, he's open to helping everyone and unlike you said, he is a very approachable guy - and Ben Baruch, despite how busy he is, he still found the time to meet a starry eyed college kid like me at a coffee shop one morning just to give me advice on how i should go about pursuing a career in music.  I don't know most of the people on the list, but the ones I do know - have been nothing more than helpful as i'm trying to pursue a life in the cutthroat industry that is modern music.  I think you may need to change the way you present yourself before you jump to the conclusion that these people are just self centered.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Denver Event Tickets
Loading...