‘Rap Pirates’ Hijack Christian and Classical Radio Stations
With cheap recording technology and social media often replacing traditional record labels, it’s actually harder than ever to get shine as a rapper these days. One Florida MC named Mikhaul Rhodd decided to take matters into own hands by rigging together a laptop, audio mixer, computer and large industrial antenna in order to over-power the airwaves of two South Florida radio stations with his own pirate radio broadcast.
Listeners of the local Christian and classical music stations were shocked and appalled by the sudden takeover. Called ‘Trap Radio,’ the expletive-laden signal was traced by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office to a Lauderdale Lakes home. They soon apprehended the 22-year old Rhodd, who raps under the name Blakk Babi, and charged him with a combination of unauthorized transmission and interference with public or commercial radio. An accomplice named Maurice Roland, also 22, was arrested for an active warrant from Miami-Dade for an open battery charge.
While pirate radio has enjoyed a long history, it’s rarely been used for a hip-hop takeover in the United States. The U.K. grime movement, which was popular in the mid-Aughts, would routinely hijack airwaves in East London for nearly endless broadcasts of up-and-coming British rappers. In the U.S., pirate radio is increasingly rare and usually centered around hyper political — and often punk — rock music.