• info@howardcountymuseum.org

  • 1200 West Sycamore, Kokomo,
    Indiana 46901

  • (765) 452-4314

John Grant

Kokomo transplant John “Uncle Boogie” Grant has a unique claim to fame. He was inducted into the Hip Hop Hall of Fame with the Hip Hop Legacy Award last year, as well as receiving a Congressional Certificate of Recognition through his work as a pioneering internet radio Hip Hop DJ in Kokomo since the early 2010s. John’s work as the first hip hop artist to have an FM radio license has earned him some well-deserved recognition.

It was a long road traveled for John to make it to Kokomo. He grew up in the Bronx, New York, soaking up the sounds of hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five and the Sugarhill Gang. He imitated their sound and began coming up with his own rhymes, often also inspired by classic jazz sounds and his love of poetry. John’s interest in music grew throughout his teen years in Bergen County, New Jersey, where he met musical partner Reggie “Rock” Passley in high school. There, in Englewood in the late 1970s, surrounded by a myriad of well-known entertainers, they had many opportunities to collaborate and hone their musical skills.

When his father was injured on the job, John came home from college to help his mother. Around that time, John and Reggie recorded a song for a songwriting competition for a new movie – Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street.” Their 1987 “Freddy Krueger” later became part of the original soundtrack for the film. A record deal ensued with Basement Records for the group known as Rock N’ Gee.

The song’s nationwide success led to other recording deals and travel around the world. Their fame enabled them to open for big names such as Run DMC and  Whodini. Their manager got the band a deal with PolyGram Mercury Records, which resulted in their hit single “Swing Beat.” Now Rock N’ Gee and DJ Shawn, they filmed a music video for the song, which appeared on Yo! MTV Raps.

After his hip hop career waned, John went to school to study automotive mechanics, sparking a career that sent him across the country working in auto shops. But his interest in entertainment remained. In the early 2000s, he began an internet radio station called TableSetter Radio.

In 2011, his automotive career brought him to Kokomo, but he had plans beyond working in the McGonigal shop. John purchased his Low Power FM license in 2014 and began broadcasting Power 104.9 WTSX, the first radio station in Kokomo fully devoted to hip hop. He’s expanded to the internet and developed an impressive audience of listeners around the country. WTSX streams to as many as 2.1 million people a day and has a 13,000 following on Instagram. John is affiliated with many other radio stations all over the country, including 103.7 Da Beat in Rockford, IL, 100.3 The Blaze in Atlanta, GA, Power 108.1 in Cleveland, OH, Long Island Power
104.9, and he is an executive producer of the Planet of the Tapes show on XM Channel 43 Rock the Bells Radio along with his cousin “Geechie” Dan.

John notes that you have to be “all in” to make something like this happen. He attributes his successes to what he calls “lily padding,” or meeting people along the way that will help you “jump” to the next experience. Today John uses his radio station and social media to promote Kokomo and hip hop and works to teach kids how to conduct interviews with celebrities. Currently operating from a studio in the Kokomo Literacy Coalition’s basement, John is content in what he’s doing … and always pushing forward.