SF State alumni-produced hip-hop show comes to an end

Distortion to Static

Aries Nuñez deejays at 111 Minna, Jan. 27. Although Distortion 2 Static is over, hip-hop is still a big part of Nuñez's life. Photo by Andrew Lopez.

Musicians today rely heavily on the Internet to become the next big thing, but think back to a time when YouTube stars didn’t exist and blogging seemed like a foreign language.

In 2002, a television show called Distortion 2 Static was created to highlight some of hip-hop’s biggest stars as well as up and coming acts. The show provided viewers a chance to observe their favorite artists in a sit down interview in a setting similar to Yo! MTV Raps or BET’s Rap City.

But after 10 years on the air, producers of the show and SF State graduates Halline Overby who goes by DJ Haylow, and Ariel and Aries Nuñez (aka Rel and Prince Aries), decided to end their long run last November.

Although the show is over, Aries said he appreciates everything D2S brought for the group. All members have different projects going on, with each project sharing some type of aspect from the show that brought them fame.

Aries is deejaying more events and developing mixtapes, Ariel has an online show called Conceited Bastards that focuses on lifestyle, and Overby, along with Ariel, is working on the Ron Ayers Project, which documents the famed jazz musician Ron Ayers and his influence on today’s culture.

“We compromised a lot for that show,” Aries said. “But it was the love and that passion for it that never let us give up. We accomplished everything we wanted with it and now we just have to find the next big thing.”

Aries said he knew they had a constantly growing fan base with the Distortion 2 Static name, but he never realized how big it was until they aired their final show at club Mighty in San Francisco.

“It was a very proud moment to see how packed the place was,” Aries said. “I wasn’t sad because it felt like we were graduating and it was on to the next big thing.”

Aries said the idea for D2S came from Ariel. Ariel at first wanted to do a variety show, but the focus then changed to showcase the attention starved hip-hop scene. Aries then joined Ariel and Overby to develop D2S after they earned a late-night time slot on public access television.

“The first show was weird. It was just a bunch of clips cut together. There was no structure, but it was all just for fun,” Aries said. “No artists really cared to mess with us until we got picked up by a Warner Brothers affiliate then we had to get a little more structure with the show.”

Aries said the three of them funded everything for D2S, with Ariel even taking out a student loan to purchase a camera. Any extra income they made from D2S, either by throwing events or selling merchandise, always went back into funding the show.

“We definitely did the show out of the love of doing it,” Aries said. “It didn’t matter that we were coming out of pocket with our own cash because we knew we had to invest in it.”

Overby said Distortion 2 Static was a true grassroots passion project. He remembered how he felt the first time the show aired back in 2002.

“I looked out over my balcony thinking that all these houses have a chance to watch our show and I realized how big our reach was,” Overby said. “ We knew we were sacrificing for the greater good for hip-hop and the Bay Area. For that we had people’s respect and we knew we were doing a good thing.”

SF State history major Eduardo Daza Taylor, 23, said he enjoyed the show because they were passionate about hip-hop and they paved their own way and told their own narrative.

“They were true entrepreneurs and hustlers in the game. It’s really sad that the show ended because it was one of the last organic shows out there staying true to their message,” Taylor said. “Their contributions make the show legendary status in the Bay Area.”

Overby said that with the accessibility of the Internet, television doesn’t have the power it used to.

“Television is becoming archaic,” Overby said. “YouTube and blogging changed the game on us. Those things, along with our late night time slot, started to affect Distortion 2 Static.”

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  • Am so proud of you boys, and I know your MOM would have been even prouder. Keep up the good work. I Love You guys………….