'Club Queen' remembered

Listeners, colleagues mourn 92Q DJ K-Swift

July 23, 2008|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun reporter

It was a day of music and mourning. Yesterday, downtrodden callers and DJs on hip-hop station 92Q shared heartfelt memories of their late colleague Khia Edgerton, better known as K-Swift.

Edgerton, 29, died early Monday morning of neck injuries after jumping into an above-ground pool at her home, the state medical examiner's office said yesterday.

Dubbed the "Club Queen," Edgerton trumpeted the Baltimore club scene on the air and in dance halls up and down the East Coast. She introduced a younger audience to the fast beats and dirty vocal tracks of Baltimore club music - one of the city's signature sounds.

Yesterday, grief-stricken DJs at 92Q celebrated Edgerton's life and coped with her death on air.

"It's been therapeutic for me," said morning show host Marc Clarke. "Baltimore is letting it out. The only thing we can do is talk about it. If you don't deal with it and don't grieve, it will hit you when you least expect it."

Callers flooded the station with an outpouring of grief yesterday and Monday.

"People like K-Swift are the true celebrities of Baltimore," one caller said. "When you say Baltimore, you say her name."

As a DJ and mixer, Edgerton worked toward a national distribution deal that would place her albums in record stores around the country. She signed with Unruly Records several years ago, which was a step closer to that goal. Less than a day after her death, the national deal went through, according to Unruly Records co-founder Shawn Caesar.

"Last night could have been that announcement," Caesar said yesterday. "Instead, all this stuff went down."

Monday night, hundreds of Edgerton's fans, friends and family gathered on 92Q's parking lot to mourn and remember Edgerton's short but accomplished life. Station DJs, her mother, Juanita, the Rev. Jamal Bryant and others eulogized Edgerton's pioneering career as a Baltimore club DJ and her warm personality. Fans penned farewell messages on a large card dedicated to Edgerton, and Baltimore-based R&B singer Paula Campbell performed a gospel song.

Organized via Edgerton's MySpace page, the vigil started at 6 p.m. - the time her radio show Off the Hook normally began.

"It brought the Baltimore community together and K-Swift's family together to memorialize her and honor her," said Howard Mazer, the station's general manager. "It was really moving."

Edgerton's death stunned fellow DJ Tavon Smith, known as DJ Tigga. He grew up listening to her radio show and seeing her at shows around the city.

"She was the face of club music," he said. "There won't ever be anybody who can take her place or fill her shoes."

During a party at her house early Monday morning, Edgerton jumped into her shallow above-ground pool but did not resurface, according to police reports. Her friends later pulled her onto an adjoining deck and called 911. Edgerton was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Neke Howse, host of the midday show on 92Q, choked up when thinking of a future without Edgerton at the station and in the Baltimore club scene.

"I'm not looking to replace her," she said. "You can't replace her."

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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