This song is about John "Mr. Magic" Rivas, who ran the "Rap Attack" show when he was a disc jockey on the radio station WBLS in New York City starting in 1982. The story of the song is also the story of how Whodini formed.
In 1979, before coming to WBLS, Rivas started "Mr. Magic's Disco Showcase" on the Newark station WHBI, where he paid for the airtime and made money by selling commercials on the show, which aired twice a week at 2 a.m., but developed a following because it was the only show playing hip-hop in the area.
At WHBI, an upstart rapper from Brooklyn named Jalil Hutchins interned on the show, mostly helping Mr. Magic by answering phones. He wrote a song for Rivas called "Magic's Wand," but wanted another voice on it. He asked a rival rapper called Ecstasy (John Fletcher) for help with the song, and when they were finished, Rivas not only played the song on his show, but made it his theme song.
After running on Mr. Magic's show for about two years, "Magic's Wand" got the attention of Jive Records, a London-based record label looking for rap acts in America. They signed the duo and had them re-record the song with Thomas Dolby - the same guy who did "She Blinded Me With Science
Jive named the act Whodini because of the song (Harry Houdini did magic - get it?), and they added a DJ for the sake of live appearances - a frequent caller to the Rap Attack show who went by Grandmaster Dee (Drew Carter). Thus Whodini was born.