DJ Semtex might never have been were it not for Public Enemy.
Manchester-born John Fairbanks has a tragedy to triumph origin story that your favourite comic book hero would be proud of.
Between visits back and forth to the hospital that would span his childhood due to a rare condition called lymphangioma, and the relocation of his family – from the multicultural Cheetham Hills, to a predominantly white neighbourhood where he’d quickly be forced to come to terms with racism, which he was experiencing first hand through cruel schoolyard games – hip-hop became that catalyst to turn him from zero to hero.
The music of Public Enemy in particular, opened his mind to a world beyond the one he found himself trapped in. Stuck on repeat, It Takes A Nation Of Millions, had John burying himself in an alternative curriculum to the one he’d been being force-fed at school; he’d read up on black history, was introduced to the trials and tribulations of Malcolm X and soon gained an understanding of his position in the world.
When complications with his lymphangioma lead to the amputation of his arm at the age of 16, the experience reinforced his determination to live life to the fullest and pursue his dreams. DJ Semtex was born; hip-hop raised him.