A Valentine’s Day Love Letter To My Favorite Hip-Hop Morning Radio Show

Dear Cipha Sounds, Rosenberg, K. Foxx and Old Man Ebro,

Every morning, my alarm goes off at 7 a.m., rousing me from sleep. I hit the snooze button, and then 10 minutes later, hit it again. When the third alarm finally goes off at 7:20, I pry one eye open, then the other, and haul myself out of bed, heading straight for the radio. See, my day doesn’t properly start, doesn’t get off on the right foot, unless the second sound I hear (after the alarm) is my favorite morning radio show, The Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg Show on Hot 97. Cipha Sounds, Rosenberg, and K. Foxx, along with my boo, program director Old Man Ebro, you all are quite literally the reason my ass gets out of bed on time in the morning, and you ensure that my day at least starts off on the right note.

Seriously, I fucking love you guys. Let me tell you why.

Cipha Sounds, your 7:20 turn-up is always completely on point. I don’t want to be eased out bed and into the shower — I want my tired ass to be compelled to dance at that early hour. I want to be hollering along with Trinidad James before I’ve even brushed my teeth. I want to improvise my own lyrics to Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools” while I shampoo my hair. Here’s a sample: “Get it wet drank/Pour it out drank/Lather up drank/Rinse it out drank.” I know it’s not perfect, but you get the picture. I want air horns! I fucking love you for those air horns, Ciph. I love you so much, I am actually considering buying a Hoodie Footie! Oh, and don’t even get me started on that sweet throwback mix you did a few months ago, featuring songs you love to hate. That was basically the best day of my life. Someday, when I marry Ebro, I hope you’ll DJ our wedding. I promise I won’t embarrass you like Rosenberg did to K. Foxx when they were in South Africa.

Anyway, by the time I’m out of the shower and putting on my makeup around 7:50, K. Foxx is doing the Flashing Lights Report. Now, K. Foxx, I love you too, despite the fact that we strongly disagree when it comes to Chris Brown. Rihanna may have “forgiven” him, but I don’t think he’s shown the level of remorse and growth that he should in order to have earned that from the rest of us. Rosenberg sometimes annoys me too, but I agree with him that Chris Brown is a douchebag. (For the record, I also think Mike Tyson is the worst, so you and I agree that Rosenberg is a little hypocritical in his perspective on abusive famous men.) Differences aside, your Flashing Lights Report serves two very important purposes in my life: 1) Reminding me that I need to stop dilly-dallying by dancing around naked and get to putting on my makeup because it is almost 8 a.m., and 2) giving me all the breaking celeb gossip about hip-hop’s most famous names, with a dash of realness. Like that ridiculous rumor on Tuesday morning that Beyonce — hold on … deep breath … let it out, Beyonceeee — wore a fake butt to the Grammys. I know you and I are on the same page about this one, K. Foxx — LEAVE BEYONCE ALONE. But as much as I love those gossip tidbits, the real reason I love you is that you’re the only woman amongst all that testosterone in the studio every morning, and you hold your own. Every time you roll your eyes because Rosenberg did something stereotypically white, or Ciph said something curmudgeonly, I’m rolling my eyes right along with you. I love you, K. Foxx, and congrats on your engagement.

Before I go any further in shouting you out individually, special attention must be paid to how much I fucking love the “Everyday Racism” segment at 8:05. I pause in the middle of blowdrying my hair just to make sure i catch every word of whatever stupid racist thing someone said to you or one of your listeners. I especially love when you each admit to your own acts of everyday racism — the world could use a lot more of this type of self-reflection and honesty. I know the segment is supposed to be funny — and it is, especially the intro song … K. Foxx, your part in that is the best – but real talk: people do racist shit every day and don’t realize it or just deny it. Maybe if we got a little more real with ourselves and the people in our lives when we or they are behaving, however innocently, in way that reveals our prejudices, we could get closer to tearing those prejudices apart.

Now on to you Rosenberg. Oh Rosenberg. I’ve ragged on you a bit so far in this love letter, but you gotta know I love you too. Ebro has my heart, but crushing on your voice was what got me listening to Hot 97 in the first place. Don’t listen to those anti-Semitic YouTube commenters, Peter. You are hilarious. “The Realness” is the last thing I listen to before I leave the house to walk my dog and then head to work and it always puts a little kick in my step and a little swagger in my dog’s strut. (She’s a fan of the show too, obviously.) Whether you’re being silly or discussing something serious and personal, you never hold back with your opinions. I respect that. You know what else I respect? That you are constantly pushing for underground hip-hop artists to get more airplay on the station. Hot 97 plays a fuckload of the top hits, and lesser known artists need someone important in their corner. You’re that person, looking out for the little guy. When the 100 fresh blooms of love — that I bought for myself using your special discount code — arrives on Valentine’s Day, I will think of you. Nicki Minaj may hate you, but hundreds of others love you. Kick this realness, Rosenberg: I love you too.

Last but not least, Ebro. You’re not even officially a part of BlackRicanJew trifecta, but you’re on everyday as the voice of reason amongst these crazy three. Where do I even begin? I know. With your beard. I realize this is radio we’re talking about and I can’t even see you, but I do check your Twitter everyday and I can see your lush facial fur in your avatar. I die. It perfectly matches the tenor of your voice, a little rough and deep. I could make a sex joke here but I’m trying to keep this letter classy. Mostly I love you because you are the glue that holds this favorite radio show of mine together, and without you, I’m afraid these three might kill each other. I know you consider yourself an old man, but I’ve always considered myself an old soul, so perhaps you will take me up on my offer via Twitter — which you initially laughed at — to take me as your date to the Beyonce show in August. I’m great at making conversation, am a pretty good dancer, and totally put out. Just think on it, and I’ll ask you again tomorrow. And the day after that. You get the picture. I love you, Ebro!

And I love you, BlackRicanJew crew! Thanks for making each of my mornings the best ever. See you first thing tomorrow at 7:20 on the nose. Hey Ciph, maybe you can play something special just for me?

Much love,

Amelia McDonell-Parry