Hundreds of mourners crowded the sanctuary of the Empowerment Temple in West Baltimore Feb. 12 to honor DJ Reggie Reg Calhoun, former 92Q mix master and icon of the local music scene. The “unofficial mayor of Baltimore” died Feb. 6 of congestive heart failure at St. Agnes Hospital. He was 50 years old.
“Our hearts are heavy but we know he’s resting well,” the deejay’s former employer WERQ-FM (better known as 92Q) said in a statement on the station’s website. Radio One, the owner of the station, also hosted a Feb. 8 candlelight vigil in his honor.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake also expressed her condolences and hailed Calhoun’s musical legacy, saying, “I was terribly saddened to hear of Reggie Reg’s passing. He was one of the best DJ’s of my generation, with a personality bigger than life. He will definitely be missed.”
Born Reginald Calhoun Nov. 5, 1965, to Melinda Calhoun and Charles Wright, Reggie Reg was raised on the 1800 block of N. Payson St. He attended Matthew A. Henson Elementary School, Booker T. Washington Middle school, and Walbrook High School.
Even before his high school graduation in 1983, however, Calhoun was already honing his skills as a disc jockey. The teenager was initiated into the art by Skeet T of MixMasters. And, while in school, he spun records on WEBB-AM along with DJ Spen, Kool Rod, Kevin Liles (who went on to become a Def Jam executive), DJ Junie Jam and Big Moses, collectively known as Numarx.
Calhoun was later mentored by the likes of Frank “Ski” Rodriguez—one of the pioneers of Baltimore club music, a former WERQ DJ and a dominant force on Baltimore’s radio airwaves in the 1990s.
By the time Calhoun joined WERQ in the mid-1990s—where he remained for a decade—he was already a “force to be reckoned with” in the entertainment arena, friends and family said. His groundbreaking mixes of hip-hop, house and song samples along with his ear for emerging talent transformed urban radio and the local club scene, they said. And he was an avid promoter of the local music and an event organizer and host.
Zeke Marshall, former Cornell University basketball star, said he knew Calhoun from their mutual membership at Christian Memorial Church and their involvement in events such as Easter plays.
“Reggie Reg pioneered the hard work that it took for music professionals [to] get their due,” he said in a tribute on Facebook. Marshall went on to call Calhoun the “Angel of Baltimore,” and “the true Mr. Baltimore City.”
“You did all that you could for your city, church, friends and most important your family…. No matter what block, hood, church, club, house or school party event he would be there.”
Calhoun also influenced another generation of disc jockeys, who dubbed him “The Godfather.” He nurtured the careers of radio personalities and DJ’s such as Kenny K, Big Tony, Mike Crosby, K-Swift, Squirrel Wyde, DJ Unique, DJ Boobie and many more.
“Reggie was a pioneer in Baltimore radio and paved the way for many who came behind him,” said former Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon in a statement on her website. “My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Reggie’s…family, colleagues, friends and to the city of Baltimore for such a great loss.”
Calhoun is survived by his daughter, Jazzy Calhoun and a stepson, George Alford, both of Baltimore; two brothers, James Kevin Henson of Philadelphia and Melvin Henson of Baltimore; sister, Betty Covington and mother, Melinda Turner, of Baltimore.