Plus One: Shade 45’s Reggie Hawkins On the Keys to Hip-Hop Radio
Plus One: Reggie Hawkins
Title: Shade 45 Talent Manager and Hip-Hop Nation Program Director
Words Miranda J.
Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of of XXL Magazine, on stands now.
Reggie Hawkins knows radio. The current Talent Manager of Shade 45 and Program Director of Hip-Hop Nation has helped cultivate some of hip-hop’s biggest radio personalities and shows, including Hot 97’s “Star & Buc Wild Morning Show,” Hip-Hop Nation’s “Sway In The Morning” and “The Cipha Sounds Effect With Angela Yee,” to name a few, plus over 15 more. But Reggie’s power didn’t develop overnight. With two decades of experience under his belt, the Montz, La. native worked hard to make it in the game.
At 17, in an effort to escape the confinement of his hometown, Hawkins joined the U.S. Army to help get funding for college. He soon moved to New York City and attended Kingsborough Community College before transferring to NYU, where he graduated in 2000 with a degree in Mass Communication. While in school, Hawkins secured a job in the promotions department at Emmis Communications, working for both CD 101.9 and Hot 97 in a variety of positions. After six years at Emmis, Reggie hopped over to SiriusXM as a Program Director and has been there ever since. Today Hawkins, 44, works on all Shade 45 and Hip-Hop Nation shows.
XXL caught up with Reggie Hawkins to discuss his major responsibilities and how to make it behind-the-scenes in hip-hop radio.
ON THE GIVE AND TAKE
Reggie Hawkins: Life is an exchange. I think too many times as we cross paths with people, it’s, “Give me that.” I think that relationships go awry when people don’t understand that exchange. Why wouldn’t you want the exchange to be comparable to what you’re getting out of it? That’s the key to longevity, the exchange. I should want for you what I want for myself. Sometimes the culture is counter to that. I’ve always appreciated some of the folks along my journey.
ON BEING AUTHENTIC
Reggie Hawkins: I think that the best people in what they do are the people that stay true to what they do. If you didn’t write your rhymes, the truth is going to come out. Or if you don’t live a certain life, the truth will come out. [There’s] an authenticity to our culture that if you live your life by and dedicate yourself to seeking that, then it’s all going to work out.
ON ADVICE FOR FUTURE RADIO PROGRAMMERS
Reggie Hawkins: I think sticking to your passion is being faithful to yourself. You can cheat on everybody else but don’t cheat yourself, because you know what you really want to do. That shit will eat you up for the rest of your life. You have to live with that. Far too many people that I know [who] could have been in this particular business couldn’t stick to it. They couldn’t see past handing out t-shirts. So many folks rob themselves because they can’t stick to it.
Check out more from our Fall 2015 issue including our cover story with Future and interviews with Mac Miller, Scarface, Damian Lillard and August Alsina, a look at the beef between Meek Mill and Drake compared to 50 Cent and Ja Rule, profiles on Southside, Metro Boomin and London On Da Track and more.