YO! MTV RAPS TURNS 30

HIP-HOP WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT THIS FAR WITHOUT YO! INTRODUCING THE WORLD TO & EDUCATING THE WORLD ABOUT THE CULTURE

30 yeas ago, an ambitious, hip-hop-loving white boy named Ted Demme finally convinced MTV brass to let him shoot a pilot for a hip hop show. (The network was famously barely f*cking with black music at all, let alone hip hop). The first Yo! MTV Raps, hosted by RUN DMC on the Tougher Than Leather Tour, aired today. Nothing was the same.

Yo! was the first national program showcasing hip-hop music and artists. For many, it was their introduction to hip-hop, as well as their sole source of hip-hop education. The show helped push the genre into the mainstream and spread globally. It was fertile ground for content that had never before been seen or done.

Today, in two companion pieces for The Boombox, I talk about how Yo! came to be, how it promoted the culture, plus recap some of the key moments during the course of the show’s run.

VH1 did a great retrospective on the rise and impact of the show. Highly recommended viewing.


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