Best of Phoenix

Full Tilt

Phoenix has been very, very good for 28-year-old JX3. The Power 92.3 DJ moved from Denver to Phoenix to study meteorology at Arizona State University. Eventually, this gregarious young gent began MCing local club events, where he was spotted by Power program director Bruce St. James. Four years later, the mellifluous mic-maestro boasts the highest-rated show in his time slot, weekdays from 7 to 10 p.m., and he continues to be one of the most sought-after on-air personalities in the PHX. He's also hard at work on his debut hip-hop album, Mathematics, which may drop as early as year's end.

You'll find me in the club: I do a lot of club appearances. I always have. That's how I got into radio to begin with. I was doing clubs for That's how Power got to know who I am. There are times where I'll have three or four a week. But I like it. You get to touch the people who listen to you at night. Without them, there's no way I'd be where I am.

Studying the sky: People get sick of me talking about the weather, but I've had an interest in that since I was a little boy. When I was a kid, I used to go lie on my back in the front yard and watch the clouds. In Denver, the weather does a lot of crazy stuff. Like, it could be 75 degrees one day, the next day it could be snowing. Twenty years later, I still go outside and look at the sky. And I watch the Weather Channel all the time.

What you hear is what you get: I don't hide myself on the radio. I'm me. The person you see in the club, or that's on the radio, that's the same person that's out with my friends or at home with my family. I'm just a clown. When I turn the microphone on, I don't change anything. I believe when you're fake or you come across as you're trying too hard, people can pick up on that phony feeling.

When will Phoenix hip-hop shine? It takes camaraderie. In the hip-hop industry, nobody has ever made it strictly on their own. That's why all these rappers have got these big crews. People who never hated on them or tried to bring them down. Instead, they said, if he blows up, that's gonna open the door for the rest of us. Phoenix has not been tapped yet by the record industry. And until it gets tapped, everybody's got to kind of come together.

PHX is the place: If you can plant your seed here and make something happen, you're gonna have a leg up on the people who are gonna be here in a year or five years. In five years, Phoenix is probably gonna be a top 10 radio market instead of a top 15. So if you can come out here and be successful, especially in this business, you'll have a lot to say about yourself. This city's going nowhere but up.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons