All DJs are not created equal. We gladly present the definitive list to the tastemakers and cultural influencers that excel on the 1s and 2s, rage up audiences around the globe, and are shaping the sound of music and contemporary hip-hop. Given the power of radio, many of these DJs have platforms at leading radio stations in addition to constant touring and lifestyle ventures. Do you see your favorite DJ on the list? Let the debate begin...
If Def Jam taught us anything, it's to respect the DJ. The DJ is responsible for the perpetuation of the art form that is hip-hop. Without DJs, there'd be no medium for the streets and masses to access the music they crave.
While many claim the title of DJ, few claim the throne, and only 30 can make the cut as the most influential tastemakers in the business. Even casual hip-hop fans may recognize most of the bigger names on this list, as they've been dominating the airwaves, clubs, and streets for quite some time. In this day and age, radio still has the power to break artists, so many of the names on the list hold positions in the industry's most influential radio and digital outlets. However, we also felt it was important to highlight the young DJs making a huge imprint on society and impacting the culture. Much respect and consideration was given to DJs who not only are holding their cities down, but taking the culture across the globe and into new important arenas. Thank you to the DJs named on this list for keeping hip-hop alive.
While we couldn't fit everyone on the list, as it's aimed to represent who's moving right now, so shout outs are due for pioneers like DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash, DJ Red Alert, Jam Master Jay, DJ Premier, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Justo--look for them on a future list of All-Time Greats. For all other DJs that don't see your name on this list, you've got to come harder on the 1s and 2s in order to dethrone the current champs. Let the debate begin, as we present Top 30 DJ's in Hip-Hop (Right Now).