DJ Mr. Rogers: From custom BMW's to saving Houston in a lifted truck
DJ Mr. Rogers and his 1991 BMW 318i convertible.
DJ Mr. Rogers is a celebrity DJ in the Houston area with a huge following, a popular show on radio station 93.7 the Beat and a steady presence spinning at top parties and nightclubs across the country. He also has a love of cars, particularly iconic BMW’s with quality rap history references, as well as one new ride that is all about his love for Houston.
While not your typical picture of a “classic” car, Rogers’ 1991 BMW 318i technically does fit into the standard definition of a classic, being well over 20 years old now. It is Rogers’ custom touches to his BMW, though, that make the car stand out even more.
Rogers decided to model his BMW after the car owned by the character “Money Making Mitch”, played by actor Mekhi Phifer, in the film “Paid in Full”, a 1987 E30 with gold BBS wheels.
He got the car from a seller on craigslist in southwest Houston for about $1500, and while it was drivable, it had issues. He drove it home and began his plan to overhaul it at his brother and father’s shop. He started by dropping the car off for body and paint work with his friend and fellow Houston area DJ, DJ Marvins, who is a fellow BMW aficionado, and then spent the next six months sourcing parts, including on eBay. His favorite place to search, though, became his friend Fernando’s junk yard, Fuentes Auto Parts, in north Houston, which he calls a “true blessing for my builds.”
He took his BMW to EMG, European Motor Group, for an engine swap, a rear end swap, and a new clutch, all of which took the BMW from 118hp all the way up to around 300hp. He has done what he estimates to be around 60-70% restoration since he got it, including new interior, air ride suspension and brake lines.
“It’s a quick car. It’s fun,” Rogers says.
Rogers “grew up in a shop”, as his father was an engine builder in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, working on both classic cars and pro-stock drag racers for the NHRA. Because of that, he often spent time with his dad at the race tracks, frequenting Kennedale Speedway, the Texas Motorplex, Yellow Belly Drag Strip and more.
He was around eighteen years old when the Fast & Furious movies started coming out, and between that and the guys in his neighborhood driving the BMW’s and Euro cars of the era, his father’s hot rod ways laid the groundwork for him to become a different type of car guy – an import lover. He got into Hondas and mini trucks for a while before he went to college at Prairie View, which he called a culture shock. Instead of imports or hot rods, the car scene in Prairie View was all about luxury and performance. He first got into Lexus’ but it was the “ultimate driving machine” BMW that he was really after.
DJ Mr. Rogers' 1991 BMW 318i convertible.
Soon, he was gifted a 1989 BMW that had a lot of problems and ended up being a parts car for a white 1992 convertible he picked up. The ’92, however, had its own problems, as its rust issues were hidden upon first review, and he decided to sell both the ’89 and ’92 and use the funds to get his 1991.
Not too long after, he found a 2001 BMW E38 7 series and decided to buy that one, too. Aside from being the last year of the square body BMW’s, the car was also the same type as the one that Tupac Shakur was killed in, and known as what Rogers called, “his death chariot.”
He quickly became known for his BMW E series love, and friends and fans started to reach out to him about the cars. One friend called to get his advice about buying an all-white 1994 BMW, which he eventually passed on, but Rogers decided to pick it up himself. Although it is a few years newer, the car is reminiscent of rap legend Easy E’s last car, an all-white 1991 850i, and brings another rap reference to Roger’s growing BMW collection.
DJ Mr. Rogers and his 1994 BMW.
He drove his Escalade, which regularly served as a great family car, daily driver and DJ equipment hauler, and was at an advantage over small cars. He was able to reach the mother and child and got them home safely. While helping her, another driver took his Civic straight into 5-6 foot high flood waters, and stalled out. Rogers was able to get him into the Escalade through one of the passenger windows, and drove him to safety, as well.
He says that at a certain point on the first day of helping people, he said to himself, “Well, I guess this is what we’re doing now.”
He was getting supplies at Costco when he ran into a guy in a lifted Ford F250 who was able to drive through the high waters, and he realized that a lifted truck was what he wanted, too. He saw online that Houston rap legend Trae the Truth was out helping people around the city with their mutual friend, UFC star Derrick Lewis, in Lewis’ lifted Chevy truck, as well as another friend, DJ A Plus, in his lifted F150 in the Beaumont area, and Rogers knew he had found the perfect allies to continue his mission.
Soon after, Relief Gang was created as a network to bring together those in need and those who were able to come help. As the days went on and flooding continued, Rogers, Trae and their friends spent their days helping people in need around the greater Houston area. Their mission eventually expanded, and in the weeks and months ahead, they found themselves helping people fix their flooded homes, feeding people in the community, bringing supplies, and even doing special event days to get those affected free school supplies, haircuts, and sometimes just a day of fun to get away from the stress of the storm recovery for a few hours.
The Escalade was eventually totaled by the insurance company due to the damage from the flooding, even though it was still running and drivable, and he used the insurance money to get a lifted truck that would be ready for the next storm. Rogers purchased his 2017 Ford F250 Platinum that he had lifted 6” and outfitted with 22” Hostile Wheels and 37” tires.
Around the same time, Trae also got himself an F350 after professing to Rogers that he “would never get caught without a truck ever again.”
The two were back in action with their new trucks after one of the bad storms earlier this year, helping a dialysis center evacuate and even being called for help from another Houston rap legend. Bun B and his wife, Queenie, were stuck near NRG center and had to call for help, with Rogers and Trae picking them and others up off a stranded Metro bus, the highest point out of the water that was available to them.
While the hope is that they aren’t needed, Houstonians know that there’s always going to be another storm, and this time around, Rogers and Trae are even better prepared to help save the city again when it does.
Rogers give thanks to Planet Ford, who worked with him on the truck build, making it just right for the next Relief Gang mission, and to RimStarz Kustoms.
DJ Mr. Rogers and his 2001 BMW.
To see more images of DJ Mr. Rogers and his rides, or to keep up with where he is spinning tunes next, find him on Instagram at www.instagram.com/djmrrogers. To learn more about Relief Gang, find them at www.instagram.com/reliefgang.
An excerpt from this piece was first published in the Houston Chronicle on Saturday, October 6th, 2018 and can be seen here:
Keywords: 97.9 the beat, auto, automotive, Beemer, Beemers, BMW, BMW's, car, cars, classics, column, convertible, derrick lewis, dj, dj mr rogers, dj mr. rogers, e series, e30, easy e, European auto group, f250, feel good stories, Harvey relief, heidi van horne, Houston, Houston chronicle, htown, lifted truck, rap, relief gang, trae the truth, Tupac shakur
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