Disco King Mario

Disco King Mario (1956-1994) was a pioneer of Hip hop. In the 1970s, Mario was a prominent DJ of the New York Bronx. At the time, he lived in the Bronxdale Housing projects, where his parties made him well-known locally. The Bronx was famous for its block parties at which the DJ's were the most prominent personalities, the masters of ceremonies who garnered most of the attention.

Together with his crew, known as Chuck Chuck City, he played largely up-tempo disco music. Mario was known for the quality of his sound system. Afrika Bambaataa started out as an assistant to Mario, and Mario loaned Bambaataa the technical equipment for his first appearances as DJ, and Bambaataas first DJ-Battle took place in 1976 in the New York junior High School 123 against Mario. Well-known DJ Jazzy Jay had his first appearances as well with Mario. Together with Bambaataa, Mario controlled essentially the entire southeast Bronx. Both were originally members of the street gang Black Spades, and DJs had to either get permission from Bambaataas Zulu nation or from Mario, before they could safely DJ publicly.

Mario was also an influence on rapper Busy Bee Starski, helping him to develop his voice.

Disco King Mario never released any records. His pioneering role in the genesis of Hip Hop did not lead to the nationwide celebrity as either a performer of a producer, which a number of other early rap and hip hop performers enjoyed.

After his death, a concert and celebration was held in his honor on August 18, 2001, at the Rosedale 'Big Park' in the Bronx where he had thrown many of his early gigs.

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