Reginald Calhoun, better known to generations of Baltimore radio listeners and music fans as DJ Reggie Reg, passed away at St. Agnes Hospital on Saturday, Feb. 6, of congestive heart failure. He was 50.
A popular disc jockey and on-air personality on 92Q from the 1990s through the mid-2000s, Reggie Reg had a warm, gregarious voice that was one of the Radio One station's most recognizable sounds for more than a decade. He rubbed elbows with hip-hop legends including Jay Z and Tupac Shakur, but it was in the city's local music scene that he perhaps left his greatest impact.
Calhoun grew up in the Easterwood neighborhood near North Avenue and graduated from Walbrook High School. Soon after, he began making his name in local clubs like Odell's, where hip-hop and house music were fusing into a unique local flavor. At 92Q, Reggie Reg The Godfather's tastemaking 9 p.m. mixes of Baltimore club music helped increase the visibility of the homegrown genre, and he was signed by club label Unruly Records to release a series of popular mix CDs including "Feel Me" and "The 9 O'Clock Mix," the latter being one of the more ubiquitous club mixes in the city. In his later years at 92Q, Reggie Reg helped introduce the station's listenership to another influential DJ, his co-host Khia "K-Swift" Edgerton, who passed away in 2008.
News of Calhoun's passing quickly spread through Baltimore last week, and on Monday evening hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil at Radio One's Gwynn Oak headquarters. "My father loved Baltimore," Calhoun's 22-year-old daughter Jazzy said in an on-air 92Q interview, while the crowds gathered outside. "He always wanted to bring people together." Even in his declining health in recent years, Calhoun remained a fixture of the local music scene, although he would often take a chair at events.
"He gave me my start at the radio station," says Rod Lee, a veteran Baltimore club music producer who Reggie Reg helped popularize in the '90s. "He was a good dude, he just liked to see people have fun." The two DJs collaborated on a song, 'Club Face,' and Lee's hit 'Feel Me' was the title track of one of Reggie Reg's most popular DJ mix albums. To get a sense of the long-lasting Calhoun's influence, young club producer DJ Juwan recently did his own take on 'Club Face.' Juwan also remembered Calhoun over Facebook, writing, "Damn! R.I.P. Reggie Reg. . .Crazy thing is just a few months ago, he called my phone saying someone played my Club Face Remix (Featuring himself), telling me he liked it and we should make an official joint together." Rapper and writer Abdu Ali fondly remembers Reggie Reg as a fixture in the community. "He was always DJing the kiddie discos and stuff," Ali says. "He was like a celebrity."
On Thursday, Calhoun's viewing made for an unusually festive event at Wylie Funeral Home in Randallstown, with several of his friends invited to DJ the event, including Unruly Records co-founder Scott "Scottie B." Rice. On social media, countless musicians, as well as notable Baltimoreans including music executive Kevin Liles and activist and mayoral candidate DeRay Mckesson (who mentioned Miss Tony in his announcement that he was running for mayor) remembered Reggie Reg. Even current Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake made a statement, calling Calhoun "one of the best DJ's of my generation, with a personality bigger than life."
Additional reporting by Brandon Soderberg