10 reasons why big Tim will always be the bomb! *EXPLOSION*
1. Let's not even bullshit on this one : Westwood is the UK's answer to Nelson Mandela. As a cracka in a black culture who came to prominence after the Broadwater Farm riots of 1985, the big dawg has done more for race relations in this country than any politician or activist. For the BBC to sack such an inspirational figure yet continue to employ a wife beating sex pest like Andy Kershaw is an absolute travesty.
2. He was there before the vast majority of other Rap DJs in this country, he didn't jump shit once House music exploded in the UK in 1988/1989 like so many other British DJs did, and he's still here today awkwardly lurching about in boxy oversized Ralph Lauren polo shirts as he asks Waka Flocka Flame questions about why Rappers wife up their busted high school sweethearts
3. Dude took a bullet or two in a drive-by shooting when some Yardie pulled up on his jeep and opened fire on him, and then bounced straight back on some "My wings are like a shield of steel" Batfink type shit. Westwood : 1; 2pac and Biggie : 0.
4. I'm too young to have ever heard Mike Allen's show and too much of a bumpkin to have been able to pick up Westwood's Capitol F.M show, thus his friday and saturday night shows on Radio One were my entry-point into proper Rap radio, a conduit into what was happening stateside on a weekly basis, and remain the benchmark for all my Rap radio listening experiences ever since.
5. Back in the day, you never felt like you were wasting your friday night by driving around provincial towns listening to his radio show in your mate's Vauxhall and making explosion and airhorn noises at random strangers instead of going to the pub and trying to get your dick wet.
6. Nowadays I don't go out before 10 P.M on a saturday night because I'm knackered by about 2 A.M if I go out any earlier. Back in the mid 90s to early '00s, I usually didn't go out until 10.PM because I wanted to listen to the first hour of Westwood's saturday night show and then leave a tape running to record as much of the rest of his show as possible so I wouldn't miss all the best new music, his link-ups with Marley Marl and/or Cipha Sounds, and freestyles from guests like Biggie
and Big L
7. He played exclusive cuts that industry politics dictated NYC DJs couldn't air on the radio like Ultramagnetic MC's demos
, unreleased early 90's joints by LL, Tragedy, Big Daddy Kane etc (as collated by Rare Dave on his legendary Rare Frequencies Radio cassette compilation
), and an amazing Freeway song he premiered once sometime around late 2002 that I've never been able to ever identify or track down.
8. Back in that dark, dark era of the late nineties when every other British rap DJ was playing terrible records by Mos Def, Jurassic 5, Ugly Ducking, and godawful U.K characters like Dave The Ruf & his crew
, Westwood was spinning Superthug
next to Ha
and It Ain't My Fault
, closing out his shows with half an hour of the best underground N.Y cuts like Spit
, and, thankfully, never ever playing anything from the UK.
9. He's always gotten the best freestyles out of great rappers who can't make decent music to save their life like Eminem; see : the epic summer 2000 ones with Proof
amd the more recent sessions
10. From Biz Markie explaining that Pickin' Boogers "came from my heart"
on his N Sign Radio Night Network show, to the episode of his UKPlay show where Capone-n-Noreaga and their goons took us on a tour of the gun-stashing spots on their block, to his interview with Chase & Status where he sonned them live on air, dismissed the entire genre of Dubstep, and dissed Jay-Z's dancing skills
, to him bodying Xzibit on his own show format when he hosted the UK version of Pimp My Ride, Westwood has always made great TV too.
Honourable mentions : the time he signed an autograph for my mate Shaun and spelled his name "Shar", his YouTube channel where he uploads incredible footage of Biggie
and the Beasties & LL Cool J
live in London, the Outsidaz freestyle session from around 1999 or 2000 that I could really do with an MP3 of, and the way he's a simultaneous inspiration and deterrent to all of us ageing white British Rap nerds.