As a youngster growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania, H. Vidal listened to the music that his mother would play throughout the house. As a result, he was raised on a steady musical diet of classic funk and soul. Groups like the Bar Kays, the Fatback Band, Parlament/Funkadelic, Earth, Wind & Fire and Mandrill were staples on his mom’s turntable. And the precocious little tyke was soaking it all in growing up.
The same thing happened when he heard his first rap record King Tim III by the Fatback Band, which, by the way, was actually the first hip hop record ever released, beating the Sugar hill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” by about two weeks. Like his mom’s penchant for 70s funk and soul, H. Vidal was hooked on the music of his generation, making records by stalwart hip hop acts like LL Cool Jay, The Fat Boys, The Skinny Boys, Treacherous 3 and RunDMC a mainstay in his musical buffet. But as much as he loved rap music, oddly enough his first active participation in hip hop culture wasn’t music, but dance.
From there H. Vidal got into beat boxing thanks to his love for the music of groups like the Fat Boys, the Skinny Boys and Dougie Fresh. His passion for making percussive sounds and music with his mouth lead him to battling other beat boxers from around his way. But it was one fateful day in 1986, when H. Vidal went to a party at Philly’s fabled Fair Mount Park, where he saw the legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff rock the turntables and his life was forever changed. “I saw DJ Jazzy Jeff DJ,” recalls Vidal. “I was done after that. I had to have it. Nothing else mattered, that was it.”
That Christmas he convinced his grandmother to buy him some DJ equipment. She bought him two belt-driven turntables, a mixer with no cross fader, a pair of speakers and four records. Although he didn’t have the proper equipment to start with, H. Vidal still managed to hone his DJing skills by studying some the City’s great DJs; among them were DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Tat Money, DJ Cash Money, DJ Johnny V and DJ Ran, whom he credits as being one of his main influences. “Definitely DJ Ran [is] like a major influence as far as my style, how I mix, how I scratch, how I rock clubs, he’s a major, major influence.”
After honing his skills on the wheels of steel, H.Vidal started throwing parties in his grandmother’s attic. A few years later, his parties and mix tapes had H. Vidal’s name started to spread like wildfire in and around the Philadelphia area. Soon, his reputation as a DJ landed him a spot as a guest mixer on Philly’s number one station Power 99’s holiday mix, a post he held for four years until a close friend recommended him for a position as a mixer at a new station called Power 94.3 in Charleston, South Carolina.
“I got hired basically as our station just went on the air,” says Vidal. “They didn’t have no mixer, no DJs, no nothing. They could have hired anybody. They could’ve have hired somebody from down here. But my friend who I grew up with already had a job there and he told me to send a package down here. I sent him all my mixes from what I did in Philly. I also sent him like a little bio and a picture and I got a call right away to come to Charleston for an interview. I jumped in my little Plymouth Lazer and drove all the way down to Charleston. I came down there with some T-shirts with my name on it and the station’s name on it and gave it to the program director. I went out and spent my money and got some t-shirts made. I sort of forced myself on them because I wasn’t taking no for an answer.”
Although hired as the station’s mix show DJ, doing the 5 o’clock drive time mix H. Vidal quickly became the station’s rising star. In addition to doing his regular drive time mix he was picked to helm the station’s ten to twelve weekend mix plus held down a regular air shift at Power 94.3. Bear in mind that all of this happened to him within the short span of two years. To say the least H. Vidal is one busy DJ, no wonder his organization the Tech.nitions nominated him for their coveted Rookie of the Year Award. In September of 2004, Clear Channel moved H. Vidal to 95.7 the Beat in sunny Tampa Florida, where he held down an on-air shift as well as mixes. Within five short months he became the number one jock in his time slot, and is also sydicated on z92.3 in Killeen, Texas from 7pm to midnight where he is also number one in his time slot. And if that’s not impressive enough H. Vidal has also done tour dates with comedian Dave Chapelle and has been picked to be Bubba Sparrxxx official tour DJ. H. Vidal credits his success as a DJ to his experience as a radio, club and mix tape DJ which gives him the ability to read and audience and adapt to different crowds.