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Yo! MTV Raps was a two-hour Americanmarker television music video program, which ran from August 1988 to August 1995 through its Yo! MTV Raps (and by Yo! until 1999). The program (created by Ted Demme and Peter Dougherty) was the first hip hop music show on the network, based on the original MTV Europe show, aired one year earlier. The U.S. version was hosted by Doctor Dré (not to be confused with N.W.A. alumnus Dr. Dre), Ed Lover and Fab 5 Freddy, premiering on MTV on August 6, 1988.

History

Pilot episode

Run-DMC hosted the pilot episode. Also featured in the pilot were DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. Eric B. & Rakim's video for the title track of the album Follow the Leader was the first video to be shown on Yo! MTV Raps. The pilot was one of the highest rated programs to ever air on MTV at that point. Shinehead's "Chain Gang" was the first video to be shown during a regular season episode. Only the Video Music Awards and Live Aid received greater ratings.

Yo! MTV Raps and the spread of hip-hop

The advent of Yo! MTV Raps in the late 1980s was crucial to the spread of hip-hop around the world. Through MTV Europe, MTV Asia, and MTV Latino, African-American and Latino style and sound was instantly available to millions of people across the globe. This helped to create a worldwide appreciation and interest in the hip-hop scene, which is something that was celebrated on the Yo! MTV Raps 20th anniversary.

Rivalry

In January 1989, former rival BET created competition when the network premiered Rap City (was a two-hour-long program, now an hour-long show as of July 2009). The show was the longest-running hip-hop program because of its 19-year run. It ended that same year.

"Down With MTV"

One of the most popular artists to be featured on Yo! MTV Raps was Naughty by Nature. When MTV started its Down With MTV advertising campaign in 1992, Naughty by Nature's smash hit "O.P.P." was used as the basis.

Censorship and declining popularity

The ratings fell after pulling Public Enemy's video "By the Time I Get to Arizona" in 1991, claiming it was too violent. Yo! MTV Raps also came close to refusing to air the video for Cypress Hill's "How I Could Just Kill a Man." It was only after an intervention from Vice President of Music and Artist Development at MTV, Sheri Howell, that MTV changed their minds.

By around 1992-93, MTV aired Yo! MTV Raps only once a week, for two hours, on Fridays after midnight.

The end of Yo!

Yo! MTV Raps had its series finale on August 17, 1995. Numerous high-profile names in the world of hip-hop closed the show out with a freestyle rap session. Salt-N-Pepa holds the distinction of appearing on the first (technically, the first episode to feature Fab 5 Freddy) and last episodes of Yo! MTV Raps.

From 1996 to 1999, MTV repackaged it as simply Yo! The repackaged version was far more stripped down. Yo! had a weekly slate of special guest hosts. Angie Martinez and Fatman Scoop served as its hosts. By 1997, Yo! was hosted by various Hip Hop and Rap artists. By 1998, Yo! had no guest hosts and became a one hour program airing late Friday nights at 1am or 1:30am (Eastern Standard Time). With the occasion of Thursdays.

In 2000, MTV's outlet for hip-hop videos became Direct Effect, known since 2006 as Sucker Free. It airs three times a week around 7:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time). It is one of the few music video outlets for MTV besides its late-night/early-morning music video rotation hours, as MTV continues to focus on non-music video programming, especially reality television shows.

Revival of sorts

Yo! MTV Raps made a comeback of sorts, after an eight year hiatus during the Jackassworld.com: 24 Hour Takeover in February 2008. It had Steve-O (alongside Sam Maccarone) promoting his new rap album, doing freestyles, and showing his new music video. The old set was carefully recreated and on that episode, Johnny Knoxville revealed that Mike Judge had created a brand new Beavis & Butthead episode with B & B ripping on Steve-O's rap video.

20th anniversary

In April 2008, Yo! MTV Raps celebrated its 20th anniversary by making a comeback on MTV. MTV's show Sucker Free transformed into Yo! MTV Raps and featured classic hip-hop music videos as well as current hip-hop videos. Fab 5 Freddy, Doctor Dré, and Ed Lover contributed to the tribute of the show. At the end of April 2008, MTV aired Yo! countdown shows and featured the top moments from the show during its airing on MTV.

Noteworthy episodes

  • During a 1990 visit from MC Hammer (who was accompanied by his friend Fab 5 Freddy), one of the dancers whom Hammer was holding auditions for was a then-unknown Jennifer Lopez.
  • Ed Lover and Doctor Dre on one occasion, "filled-in" for the other Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg as live performers. Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg missed their plane which resulted in the two hosts performing "Deep Cover" (which Ed Lover didn't know all of the lyrics to) in their place.
  • During a 1993 interview with Tupac Shakur and his Poetic Justice director John Singleton, Shakur boldly acknowledged on camera the fact that he assaulted the Hughes Brothers, who dismissed Shakur from a role in their movie Menace II Society. Ultimately, the interview proved to be enough evidence needed (since there weren't any known witnesses to the assault) to earn Shakur a 15 day jail sentence. During the camera "confession", Ed Lover physically attempted to restrain Shakur, to the point of putting his palm over Shakur's mouth, before he could say anything more considerably outrageous or incriminating.
  • In 1993, Fab Five Freddy presided over a considerably awkward interview with The Leaders of the New School. What made the interview seem awkward was the noticeably despondent demeanor of group member Charlie Brown, who was believed to be growing increasingly annoyed by the growing popularity of co-member Busta Rhymes. Incidentally, Leaders of the New School (who were caught on camera holding a tense pow-wow) would disband shortly after their 1993 Yo! MTV Raps appearance.
  • During one 1995 episode (the last year of Yo! MTV Raps), an apparently drunk Ol' Dirty Bastard still managed to come up with a freestyle rap, even after host Ed Lover tried to stop him from continuing. ODB must have ultimately come to his senses since he soon asked Ed Lover about what he had just said.


References in popular culture

References in songs

  • Ice Cube's popular 1992 song "It Was a Good Day" had the lyric "Went to Short Dog's house and they were watching Yo! MTV Raps."
  • The hip-hop group EPMD's 1990 song "Give the People" referenced Yo! MTV Raps with the lyric "To get airplay and a spot on TV, like Ed Lover and Doctor Dre from Yo! MTV Raps". It meant that if you want to become a successful rapper, you need to come to Yo! MTV Raps.
  • Underground hip-hop group Cunninlynguists' 2003 song "Seasons," which likened the history of hip-hop to the changing of the seasons, featured the lyric "No more gold, no more Yo! MTV Raps, now we got R&B cats stealin' classic rap tracks."
  • Juelz Santana's "Good Times" on his What The Game's Been Missing album, he says "Memba them good ol' Yo! MTV Raps, man I hope they bring Yo! MTV back."
  • In Crown City Rockers' "B-Boy" on their Earthtones album, Raashan Ahmad starts the song off with "Beat Street, Wild Style, Yo! MTV Raps."


Other references

  • In the popular ABC sitcom-drama Doogie Howser, M.D. from around the same time, Doogie is frequently seen wearing a Yo! MTV Raps white T-shirt.


  • In the famous sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when the family is annoyed at Ashley's loud drumming, Will says "She will not be on Yo! MTV Raps if you all don't work with me!" This is referenced in the episode "Bang the Drum Ashley".




  • On the Season 2 episode of the TV series Smart Guy entitled "Bad Boy", Floyd says "I've been watching Yo! MTV Raps."


DVD Releases

MTV Networks currently has no plans to release the music show on DVD at this time.

See also



External links

  1. Chang, Jeff. “It’s a Hip-hop World.” Foreign Policy 163, Nov/Dec 2007, 58-65.
  2. Yo! MTV Raps 20th Anniversary | MTV
  3. 'YO! MTV RAPS' CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY: Occasion will be marked throughout April via special programming.



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