Many older hip-hop fans were introduced to this musical genre and its expansive culture through YO MTV Raps, a show created by the late film director Ted Demme in August 1988. YO! MTV Raps ran until August 1995, a time when hip-hop had already broken out from its underground roots to become part of mainstream culture. Thirty years after its debut, the groundbreaking show is making a comeback with a gala ceremony in Brooklyn, one of the spiritual homes of hip-hop.
According to a recent press release published by MTV, several rappers and musicians from the Golden Age of hip-hop will perform a tribute concert at the Barclay’s Center on June 1 to celebrate the return of YO! MTV Raps. Some of the artists who have confirmed their place in the stellar lineup include: EPMD, KRS-One, Big Daddy Kane, and Doctor Dre. In addition to live performances, some of the original hosts such as Fab Five Freddy will also be making an appearance and introducing tribute videos by Eminem and Redman.
The event will be streamed live on MTV; moreover, a few new episodes will be produced this year to augment the celebration. To a great extent, the show is being reinvented for the current generations of hip-hop fans, and archived episodes will also be featured on MTV’s various digital platforms.
During its initial run. YO! MTV Raps was an eye-opening experience for music fans who could not get enough of this emerging genre, which only received limited airplay. These days, hip-hop culture is part of daily live; however, this was not the case until the late 1990s. Legendary producer Doctor Dre believes that the impact of YO! MTV Raps should not be downplayed; during his time as a host of the show, he used to read letters written and mailed by fans from around the world.