Sway Calloway

Sway Calloway

Calloway at a Q&A he hosted for rapper Common in Tribeca on September 13, 2011.
Born (1970-07-23) July 23, 1970
Oakland, California
Occupation Journalist
News producer
Radio personality
Years active 1990–present

Sway Calloway (born July 23, 1970), better known mononymously as Sway, is an American rapper and reporter and executive producer for MTV News.[1] He is also the co-host of the nationally syndicated radio show The Wake Up Show. He is one half of the duo Sway & King Tech.

Life and career

As a teenager growing up in Oakland, California, Sway became a locally known rapper and b-boy performing on San Francisco's Pier 39.[2] He teamed up with DJ King Tech after high school and the duo performed at various San Francisco Bay Area clubs. They also released independent albums. A major label record deal with Giant Records followed. The resulting album, Concrete Jungle in 1990, got them the job of co-hosting their own show on radio station KMEL.

The Wake Up Show featured music and interviews with well-known hip hop artists as well as up-and-coming ones. The show became very popular and began simulcasting to Los Angeles on KKBT in 1993 and to Chicago on WEJM by 1996.[3] Ras Kass, Chino XL and Eminem are among the rappers who made their broadcasting debuts on the show. Soon, Sway was also hosting his own morning drive time show on the station.

The popularity of the show helped Sway and Tech get another record deal, this time with Interscope Records. Their album, This or That, reached #30 on Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and #1 on the Top Heatseekers chart in 1999.[4] The album featured contributions from hip hop artists such as RZA, Eminem, Xzibit, Kool G Rap, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, Tech N9ne, Pharoahe Monch and The Roots.[3][5][6] Sway also made an appearance on Jennifer Lopez's DVD, The Reel Me in late 2003.

President Barack Obama adjusts Calloway's hat after an interview for a Live MTV special at the White House, 2012

In 2000, Sway was approached by MTV to join the network as a correspondent, becoming a regular reporter for its music video shows and news specials, including Total Request Live and the hip-hop music video show Direct Effect.[5] Because MTV's studios are based in New York City, King Tech and The Wake Up Show went along with Sway in his move. Sway's prominence on MTV made the radio show even more popular than it was before. This inevitably led to a TV version of the show on MTV running briefly in January 2004. Sway and Tech also have a popular series of mixtapes that feature freestyles performed on the show.

Another album, Back 2 Basics was released in 2005 on Sway and Tech's own record label, Bolo Entertainment, which is distributed by Universal Music.

He appeared as a guest star on the MTV sketch comedy show Short Circuitz in 2007.

Sway hosts a weekday morning show on Eminem’s Shade 45 channel on SiriusXM! “Sway in the Morning” launched on Monday, July 18, 2011 on Shade 45 (SiriusXM channel 45) and airs Monday-Friday from 8am-12 noon ET. The second week he was there Ludacris phoned in on the show and they talked about his music and movie career. In an interview with The Source in 2012, Sway talked about his experiences in both satellite and terrestrial radio.[7]

Leaving and returning to MTV

In September 2005, Sway decided not to renew his contract with MTV. However, in 2006, Sway signed a new contract that included an ability to bring new projects to MTV, making him the first TV personality since Carson Daly to negotiate such a deal (Daly turned down a similar contract). He will have the opportunity to produce programming with King Tech on MTV and other Viacom channels as well as continue to host programs.[8]


With King Tech

Album Information
Concrete Jungle
  • Released: 1990
  • Chart Positions: N/A
  • Last RIAA certification: N/A
  • Singles: "In Control"
This or That
  • Released: 1999
  • Chart Positions: #107 US, #30 R&B/Hip-Hop
  • Last RIAA certification:
  • Singles: "The Anthem", "Get You Mad"
Back 2 Basics
  • Released: 2005
  • Chart Positions:
  • Last RIAA certification:
  • Singles: "I Don't Think So"


Media related to Sway Calloway at Wikimedia Commons

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