AN icon of hip-hop culture and a pivotal part of the MTV News team, Sway has been a staple of the music-news arena for more than a decade. From giving Eminem, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac their very first radio airplay on his local show in the mid-’90s to providing television viewers with their first good look at some of today’s hottest celebrities in music, film, fashion and sports. Sway has been there for some of music and the world’s biggest moments.
Sway first caught the public’s eye when he and his partner King Tech (Tech) staged break dancing and rap performances in and around their hometown of Oakland, California. The duo created such a big buzz they were offered an opportunity to host their own hip hop show at the number one radio station in San Francisco, KMEL-FM. This historic move served beneficial for Sway and King Tech as well as the Bay Area listening audience. Artists from all over the country came to the show when they were in the area promoting their projects. Artists knew they had to visit “The Wake Up Show” while in the Bay if they wanted heightened support. Music Executives and other powerful people recognized Sway’s instincts for great sound and promising talent. Interscope Records enlisted him and Tech to produce an album called This or That, which featured many of the same exciting new acts that had been introduced to the world on “The Wake Up Show,” including Eminem, KRS-One and RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan.
Already a vanguard radio personality, record producer and hip-hop artist when he joined the MTV News team in summer 2000, Sway contributed MTV News reports during the live, one-hour interactive hip-hop show “Direct Effect,” for which he interviewed such acts such as Diddy, DMX, Master P, the Roots, Mystikal and Scarface. Sway was also MTV News’ chief correspondent on the Sean Combs trial in 2001 and served as the host of 2003′s MC Battle, which drew thousands of aspiring hip-hop artists to Times Square for an extraordinary rap showdown.
In 2004, Sway was a key correspondent for MTV’s Choose or Lose campaign, which surpassed its goal of getting 20 million 18- to 30-year-olds to the polls, and played a vital role in informing young voters about the power they could have on election day. He interviewed Republican National Committee Chair Ed Gillespie on “Total Request Live” to introduce Reggie the Registration Rig, the Republican Party’s mobile registration unit, and reported on the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network’s conference to engage and inform young black voters. Sway also co-moderated a panel on “Hate Crimes and How to End College Racism” at the 95th NAACP Annual Convention in July 2004. While in Philadelphia for the convention, he took to the streets with hip-hop mogul Diddy to register young voters and tell them about the issues that were at stake in that election year.
Sway reported for MTV News from both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. He joined the cast of “The West Wing,” Rock the Vote and Esquire magazine at the Esquire House in Los Angeles to host an evening called Young Hollywood Votes! on the night of the final presidential debate. He appeared at Reverend Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/Push Coalition conference to discuss the opportunities that exist for young blacks in today’s society. In addition, Sway hosted “Choose or Lose: Drug Wars,” a special that explored the ways each presidential candidate’s views on drug policy could affect young voters on — and after — election day.
The 2008 presidential campaign also presented stellar opportunities that positioned Sway to follow the candidates, Senator John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney to various cities during the campaign. Sway also had the opportunity to interview Vice President Joe Biden and sat down with President Barak Obama four times.
Sway’s MTV News endeavors have included the “All Eyes on…” series that featured popular artists such as 50 Cent and Kanye West. The “All Eyes on 50 Cent” took fans beyond the mystique of the hottest rapper around in an exclusive in-depth interview. On the “All Eyes on Kanye West,” Sway interviewed the superstar rapper/producer in which West revealed among other things, his feelings about homosexuality in rap music. He also hosted a special report called “MTV News Now: Jay-Z Vs. Nas: Beats, Battles & Beef,” that examined the ongoing feud between the two rap heavyweights. Sway also landed the first sit-down interview with the surviving members of Run-DMC after Jam Master Jay’s murder in 2002.
Known and loved all over the world for his versatile and trademark interview style, Sway has accumulated an impressive list of exclusive interviews from celebrities of all genres such as Jennifer Lopez, U2 front man Bono, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Lil Wayne, Tom Cruise and Tyler Perry.
In addition to the obtaining the most sought-after interviews, Sway has recounted on some of the world’s biggest headlines. He traveled to Houston’s Astrodome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to meet families torn apart by the disaster; his experiences were part of “MTV News Presents: After the Storm.” He’s participated on a panel discussion at the United Nations for the documentary “The Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life” discussing the world’s water crisis. Calloway also joined George Clooney and other celebrities such as Alicia Keys, Mary J Blige, Wyclef Jean and John Legend for the Hope for Haiti telethon.
Sway is an integral part of MTV News’ annual live-event coverage, including MTV Video Music Awards’ “Opening Act” and post-show event, and Grammy pre-show reporting. He also serves as an Executive Producer with the network and brings new programming ideas to the station.
He has also been featured in television shows, Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush, The Boondocks, The Parkers, documentary The Hip Hop Project and hit movie Stomp The Yard.
Lastly, Calloway also lends his time and service to the youth and community by working with New York City Mayor Bloomberg, hosting the Bill and Melinda Gates program, Get School and sitting on the Board of Directors for the Entertainers for Education Alliance (E4EA).