On a winter-cold evening in late March at a comedy club near the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan, a DJ and aspiring comedian named Cipha Sounds takes the stage for a short set before a screening of the first episodes of a VH1 show called This Is Hot 97. In the audience, music insiders and fashion bloggers mix with television suits. Ebro Darden, Angie Martinez, Funkmaster Flex, Peter Rosenberg, Laura Stylez, and Miss Info — radio personalities from the iconic New York hip-hop station Hot 97 who, together with Cipha Sounds, comprise the show’s cast — sit at front-row cocktail tables.
“All the black folks in the house, make some noise!” Cipha Sounds says, to applause from the crowd. “All the white people, make some noise! All the Latino people, make some noise! Other?” he asks. The room falls silent. “Anyone else in the house? Miss Info?” he says. This draws a handful of laughs.