Ask some industry insiders to name the top 3 most skillful DJ’s on New York radio and it’s guaranteed you will hear praises from many on one particular DJ some call “The Best Kept Secret” DJ Cocoa Chanelle. Cocoa, best known in New York City for her 15 years on New York's popular radio station HOT 97. A-List actor Chris Rock was recently quoted saying "Cocoa Chanelle is Radio Royalty" at his Madagascar 3 movie premiere in New York City. Cocoa also joined forces HOT 97s legendary sister station 98.7 KISS fm which is also located in New York City to start her show "LADIES NIGHT" which went on to become #1 in New York in the Saturday night 8PM to 10PM time slot.
Cocoa is the owner and operator of her own entertainment Blog www.iamcocoa.com... quickly gaining attention online, in less than 6 months cocoa became ranked in the TOP 5 sites in the United States ran by a DJ. In a male dominated field such as hip hop its not easy for women to get respect for their talent from their male peers, “Hands down Cocoa Chanelle is not only 1 of the special ones in the small few of the elite dj circle but she's THE BEST FEMALE DJ to me hands down" says Interscope Recording artist Busta Rhymes. “She has a unique style that puts her in a class by herself.” Comments Grammy award winner Rocwilder. Cocoa is considered to be what many call a “Triple Threat” she’s not only praised for her skills as a Dj, Lately it seems she is a Jack of all trades. Those who are aware of Cocoa's other talents equally praise her as a Producer and Lyricist. One of Cocoa's remixes landed in the Tyler Perry block buster Precious film. Legendary Rakim sought out Cocoa to create a hook for his new songs "Euphoria" featuring Jadakiss, Styles P & Busta Rhymes. Many predict Cocoa to be the future “female version of Dr Dre or Kanye West”.
First introduce to Djing at a young age by her brother, Andre. “Believe it or not I was a MC entering local talent shows & battles before i was a DJ” explains Cocoa. “I started as a MC and became a DJ later when I was about 13 years old" she explains “my brother use to rap and dj, I wanted to do everything he did. He got me in this game, he was shot and killed 3 months before I got on HOT 97” Cocoa is no stranger to adversity being born in Brooklyn, orphaned at a young age and raised by her grandmother in Bluefield West Virginia. “when I tell people I lived in bluefield W.Va they usually laugh or say huh? Where’s that?” she explains (laughing). “It’s a small town most people never heard of where you couldn’t hear hip hop or r&b on the radio but that’s where it started for me. I used to practice for hours in the basement, my grandmother called it "The dungeon" I was a hip hop fanatic,”I was the kid in class making beats on my books instead of reading them” she’s confesses (smiling).
Cocoa got her first break in the music industry as a teen touring with the "Kings Of Swing" in the 90's, She later went on to become B.E.T’s first ever resident Dj with a 6 year weekly slot on the teen talk show Teen Summit. “they was lookin for a dj so I went to DC and auditioned for it, that was a turning point for my career, it led to other opportunities.” In fact it was TV exposure that gave her the chance to be a guest DJ several times on HOT 97’s morning show. Ed Lover who at that time was the morning show host was so impressed with Cocoa’s skills he recommended her to the stations program director and as a result, the morning show producer created the idea for "Ladies Night" which consisted of Angie Martinez, Jazzy Joyce & Cocoa.
She Continues to open doors and break down barriers, being the first female ever to land a feature DJ spot on MTV’s highest rated show spring break, which resulted in a return invitation from MTV to appear in several of their specialty shows. She also made several guest appearances on B.E.T’s rap City and 106 & park. She proudly notes being listed in Vibe magazine as one of the top 17 dj’s in the country and mentioned in the Source Magazine as being one of the producers to watch for. Cocoa was honored by BET (Black Entertainment Television) in 2009 for Black History Month alongside of legendary djs such as Kid Capri, Grand Master Flash, DJ Scratch...etc for being a legendary influential DJ in the Hip Hop culture. Recently she was honored with a prestigious award from Black Girls Rock. Recognized as one of hip hops most ground breaking and respected female dj's, Cocoa has gained international exposure entertaining crowds across the globe in countries such as Japan, greece, switzerland, germany and Russia to name a few.
When asked what’s the next career move “production & making records” she explains. “she’s more than just a DJ she’s a producer and a smart business woman” says SRC/Universal executive Tye Dash. Cocoa is the CEO of her own production company called 5th House Entertainment. She first gained attention producing a remix for 50 Cent “In Da Club” although unofficial, her remix gained an impressive amount of radio adds across the country. “back then I gave 50 a beat CD when he was working on his first album, he picked a track from me, him and Sha Money was feeling my beats” she adds.“ She has a serious future as a producer, her drums have alot of feelin... s**t made me go home and make a beat" says Tone of the multi-platinum production team Trackmasters after hearing Cocoa's tracks one night at Sony Studio's.
Her production really started raising eyebrows when she began doing production for one of the Hottest rap camps in New York City "The LOX" also known as "D-Block" first working with Sheek Louch to produce the first single on Universal records off his debut solo album entitled "OK" and tracks on his 2nd album as well, then continuing on to work with rapper Styles P on his 2nd solo album "Time Is Money". doing production for D-Block gave my production more credibility on a street level". say's Cocoa, "Being a female producer and getting respect is not easy, I had to prove myself as a DJ, it’s no different with production, I had to prove to people I can actually make beats and produce” I do pre-production in my house, i'm very serious about it.” Cocoa then went on to produce the 1st official Single for Platinum producer Just Blaze and Alantic Records recording artist "Saigon" the single entitled "pain in my life" received radio adds across the country. Things went a step further when mixtapes featuring Cocoa dropping verses alongside of D-Block came out, surprising those who didn’t know she was a MC. She then teamed up with The Brat and lil Mo to do the All Female remix to Ghostface “back Like That” “we came at the dudes kind of hard on that one” she says laughing “my verse was a true story, it was like therapy for me when I layed it down” she says. Cocoa's all female remix landed in the Oscar winning film "Percious". “The rapping version of Mary J Belige” is how TVT’s director of A&R James Eichelberger describes Cocoa. The future is never certain, but it’s my guess that “The Best kept Secret” is about to be revealed!