Disco King Mario

Disco King Mario was a pioneer of Hip Hop. Mario belonged in the 1970's to the prominent DJs of the New York Bronx. At the time, he lived in the Bronxdale Housing projects. The Bronx was famous for its block parties at which the DJ's were the most prominent personalities, the masters of ceremonies who garnered most of the attention.

Together with his crew, known as Chuck Chuck City, he published several Mixtapes. He loaned Afrika Bambaataa the technical equipment for his first appearances as DJ, and Bam's first DJ-Battle took place in 1976 in the New York junior High School 123 against Mario. Well-known DJ Jazzy Jay had his first appearances as well with Mario. Together with Bambaataa, Mario controlled essentially the entire southeast Bronx. Both were originally members of Black Spades and DJs had to either get permission from Bam's Zulu nation or from Mario, before they could safely DJ publicly.

Disco King Mario never released any records. His pioneering role in the genesis of Hip Hop did not lead to the nationwide celebrity as either a performer of a producer, which a number of other early rap and hip hop performers enjoyed.

After his death, a concert and celebration was held in his honour on August 18, 2001, at the Rosedale 'Big Park' in the Bronx where he had thrown many of his early gigs.

"Disco King Mario never released no records. He didn't produce no major rap stars. I'm not even sure if he ever toured around the world once Hip Hop became known world wide. However, for those of us who were around back in the beginning days of the 70s, Disco King Mario who lived upstairs from my man DJ Paradise of X-Clan over in the Bronxdale Housing projects, was a household name. He was known for throwing some of Hip Hop's best jams and keeping the party going. He was staple in early Hip Hop whose name and his crew Chuck Chuck City was mentioned on many of the early tapes. One of Mario's unwritten contributions was how he gave Afrika Bambaattaa a helping hand. He used loan Bam his dj equipment. Later on Bam would face Mario in his first official DJ battle. Back in the early days it was Disco King Mario who was at the top of heap and the man to beat.

Today its hard for people to understand the significance of the DJ. When Hip Hop first began it wasn't the rapper who was in charge. It was the DJ. It was the DJ came to symbolized the African drummer. It was the DJ who kept the pace and set the tone. It was the DJ who rocked the crowd and was the supreme personality who garnered the spot light. Everyone else including the rappers were secondary. Cats from all over came to your party based upon who was deejaying. Hence when Disco King Mario's name was mentioned cats came from all over because he was the man. He was the type of cat who simply had that magic and command of the crowd. Sadly he passed away before his time, unknown to many of today's bling bling artists who benefit from the culture he helped lay down."

- Davey D [DaveyD.com]