It’s not old school, it’s classic.

For a long time, those who pioneered and paved the way for today’s crop of hip-hop stars were called “old school,” a moniker that subtly implied the music, and therefore the artists and DJs who laid the foundation were somehow outdated … obsolete. Yet in other genres there was a different moniker. A moniker of appreciation.

Classic.

To quote the “God” emcee, Rakim, in his verse on the aptly titled “Classic,” song, “Ask the teenagers, OGs and ask the kids/What they definition of Classic is/Timeless, cause age don’t count in the booth/And your flow stays submerged in the fountain of youth.”

That’s classic. That’s Disco T. That’s Sam Soulprano. That’s Chaz Millionaire. That’s Tim Wilson.

Together, they represent an era when hip-hop grew from a novel artform to the leading genre in music. And if it weren’t for people such as the aforementioned and more, that growth doesn’t occur. Thanks should be given. Or better yet, thanks have been earned.

Each played their own roles in growing and celebrating the culture of hip-hop … the music of the people. Disco T, Soulprano and Millionaire boosted the culture playing either house parties, clubs and/or on the radio at KMOJ. Wilson’s Urban Lights has been the St. Paul go-to for hip-hop tapes, CDs and the classic form, vinyl.

“I started DJing around 1992 and I can say DJing connected me to the community,” said Soulprano. “DJing put me in rooms where before I didn’t have access.”

It’s that type of connection to community that the men hope will bring out the masses to celebrate one of its own, Disco T.

The pioneering DJ was diagnosed in November with stage 4 throat cancer. The diagnosis came with the daunting prospect of the musician having just six months to live. Thankfully, Disco T sees more time left in the hourglass.

“I was diagnosed on Nov. 2 and my mind was in shreds,” said Disco T, speaking during a Feb. 4 broadcast of “Conversations with Al McFarlane” on KFAI Radio. “But the community showed me so much love that I was able to pick myself up and a week later I was in a detox village in Mexico.”

Disco said he is relying on holistic and modern healing measures such as juicing and spending time in a hyperbolic oxygen chamber.

“The past three months I’ve been feeling well. My energy level is high,” said Disco T.

He’ll be relying on that elevated energy for a couple of upcoming tribute events. The first is a Feb. 22 radio tribute from noon – 4 p.m. on KMOJ (89.9 FM), with several DJs and personalities paying homage. Then, on March 1 from noon – 5 p.m. a live tribute and party takes place at the Fine Line Music Café, 318 N. 1st St., Minneapolis. That event is an 18-plus party with an admission of $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Proceeds with assist Disco T in his fight to beat cancer.

“This is all about love and honoring one of our heroes. He’s really the godfather of hip-hop here in the Twin Cities,” said Millionaire. “We want to give our guy the flowers while he can enjoy them.”

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