African American Studies


Darryl Johnson is a professional DJ who goes by the name DJ Thoro. His story details the career path that one would take to success within the music industry.

Johnson was born in 1975 in Harlem. During his childhood, he shuttled between New York and Florida, as he had family in both states. He developed an interest in music after listening to a series of tapes which his brother made while attending park jams. Furthermore, he practiced skills as a DJ by listening to radio programs on KISS FM and WBLs. Johnson had to pursue his dream as a musician despite the fact that his parents did not believe that the field would lead him to a successful career. One of his more interesting experiences as a musician came when he purchased a pair of Techni-1200 turntables from a man in Harlem for $75. He said that these turntables helped him realize how much talent he had as a DJ.

Johnson’s first job as a professional DJ came when he worked for Elsie Muñez, a musician who married to one of Johnson’s friends at a concert on the pier. After this performance, Johnson decided to turn professional and began DJing at several clubs in New York City. Johnson also served as a DJ for the Wu-Tang Clan after a chance meeting with one of its members outside a shoestore in Harlem. As a DJ, Johnson estimates that he has distributed over one million mix tapes. He also says that he views hip-hop as a means to keep children out of trouble and that he feels that more people should primarily view hip-hop as a form of entertainment rather than an accurate account of singers’ lives.

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