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Sway Calloway
Calloway in 2011
Jonathan Ahmad Calloway

(1971-07-03) July 3, 1971 (age 53)
Occupation(s)Journalist, radio personality, producer, rapper
Years active1986–present[1][2]
Notable credit(s)Radio Hall of Fame,[3] MTV, SiriusXM, VH1, Billboard Music Awards, Grammy Awards

Jonathan Ahmad Calloway (born July 3, 1971), known as Sway, is an American radio personality, journalist and former rapper known for hosting music, news, and culture programming. He was an on-air reporter and host for MTV News and occasional non-news hosting, including numerous red carpet MTV award pre-shows, and reports on major events, concluding his tenure with the network as host of the short-lived TRLAM.[4] He is co-hosting the nationally syndicated radio show The Wake Up Show as as one half of the duo Sway & King Tech; and hosting Sway in the Morning on SiriusXM Shade45.

Early 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.[5] 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.[citation needed]

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

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.[citation needed]


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.[6] 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.[citation needed]

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.[7] 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.[6][8][9] Sway also made an appearance on Jennifer Lopez's DVD, The Reel Me in late 2003.[citation needed]

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.[10]

In November 2013, Kanye West appeared as a guest on his show and had an infamous meltdown on air, uttering memorable lines like "You ain't got the answers Sway, You ain't been doing the education".[11]


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.[8] 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. Sway recorded the voice introduction for the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show.[12]

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 established the opportunity to produce programming with King Tech on MTV and other Viacom channels as well as continue to host programs.[13] He hosted coverage of Michael Jackson's death for the network.[14]

Sway appeared in cameo role voicing "Sway" in "The Story Of Gangstalicious", the December 11, 2005 episode of the animated series The Boondocks.[15][16]

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


Year Title Artist Type
As a rapper
1988 Flynamic Force King Tech & MC Sway Extended play (EP)
1991 Concrete Jungle Sway & King Tech Long play (LP)
Various artists
1999 This or That Sway & King Tech Long play (LP)
2005 Back 2 Basics Sway & King Tech Long play (LP)


Year Title Role Notes
2014 Top Five Himself
2015-2018 Empire Himself Three episodes
2016, 2018 Luke Cage Himself Episodes: "Soliloquy of Chaos", "Can't Front On Me"
2018 Death Wish Himself


  1. ^ Jost, Matt (July 24, 2007). "King Tech & MC Sway Flynamic Force All City Records". Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  2. ^ Christopher O'Connor (1999-06-17). "RZA, EMINEM PAY HOMAGE TO HIP-HOP ON THIS OR THAT". MTV News. Archived from the original on September 25, 2020. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  3. ^ "2020 Inductees"]. Radio Hall of Fame. Retrieved October 19, 2020
  4. ^ "Sway Calloway Joins VH1 Family and Some Big Things Are Coming". Vh1. March 17, 2016. Archived from the original on August 29, 2023. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  5. ^ Entzminger, Angela. Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting Hosts Second Annual Careers in Television Event The Animator's Journal: April 28, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Wake Up Show about page". Archived from the original on 2016-08-13. Retrieved 2007-10-27.
  7. ^ Sway & King Tech singles charts history at Allmusic
  8. ^ a b Sway Calloway biography at MTV
  9. ^ Conaway, Matt. "This or That" overview. Allmusic: 1999
  10. ^ Osorio, Kim.Sway Talks About Revolutionizing Radio. The Source: May 9, 2012
  11. ^ "Kanye West Flips Out During Interview". Rolling Stone. 26 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Revisiting the Justin Timberlake-Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction, Minute by Minute". 2 February 2018.
  13. ^ Rashbaum, Alyssa. MTV's Sway Calloway Considered Leaving The Network. VIBE: January 10, 2006.
  14. ^ Graham, Mark (June 26, 2009). "MTV Shines in Its Coverage of Michael Jackson's Death". Vulture. Archived from the original on August 29, 2023. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  15. ^ "Sway Calloway". Behind the Voice Actors. Archived from the original on August 29, 2023. Retrieved August 29, 2023.
  16. ^ "Sway Calloway". TV Guide. Archived from the original on August 29, 2023. Retrieved August 29, 2023.

Media related to Sway Calloway at Wikimedia Commons