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Camera shy isn’t a term most would associate with someone who has spent the past 20 years in the public eye. But Sway Calloway has never been concerned with public recognition despite the high-profile nature of his job. The MTV News correspondent/executive producer is more focused on people knowing his work than his name.

A native of Oakland, CA, Sway’s journey began in the late 80s when he discovered Hip-Hop. Intrigued by the music, style and dance, he immersed himself in the culture and eventually teamed up with local DJ King Tech to form a rap duo that released music independently. The pair went on to host The Wake Up Show on KMEL FM, which introduced radio listeners to future Hip-Hop legends like Eminem, OutKast and The Notorious B.I.G. early on in their careers.

It was through The Wake Up Show’s success and Sway’s in-depth interview style that the critical thinker began to realize that his true purpose behind the mic was not to be a musician but to be a journalist. That was further realized in 2000 when MTV approached him to be an on-air correspondent. Since then Sway has seen both his career and influence grow as an executive producer for the cable network who has had a chance to document everything from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the 2010 earthquake that rocked Haiti to President Barack Obama’s historic inauguration, all while still maintaining his Hip-Hop focus.

Given Sway’s evolution from Hip-Hop spectator to daily commentator, he seemed like a perfect fit for The Gentleman’s Project, a campaign, done in collaboration with Hennessy Black, which highlights the achievements of individuals who help shape today’s culture. So Hip-Hop Wired connected with the journalistic genius to get some answers.

Photo: Margarita Corporan

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