Once upon a time, back before we all had supercomputers in our pockets but after video killed the radio star, the place to go to learn more about the then-nascent music and culture of hip-hop was Yo! MTV Raps (at least for those of us outside the New York tri-state area). Airing in the US from 1988 to 1995, the two-hour video block was the first of its kind on the network, airing rap videos, interviews with rappers, and in-studio performances. It was the first time many folks outside of urban America got to see the exciting new art form as it gained in popularity and power.
With the exception of a few anniversary shows, the block has been off the air for over 25 years. However, that’s soon to change thanks to the new streaming service Paramount+, which is relaunching the show with battle rapper/MTV fixture Conceited as the host alongside DJ Diamond Kuts. Like its predecessor, the show revival is set to feature interviews, performances, and, perhaps inspired by the original show’s legendary final episode, live ciphers from some of hip-hop’s hottest rising stars.
The show will premiere on May 24 with Freddie Gibbs and will air weekly, with future takeovers from Latto, Saba, JID, Shenseea, Tee Grizzley, IDK, and Trina. According to Complex, more stars including Baby Tate, Just Blaze, and Maino will appear throughout the season. In addition, Paramount+ will feature archived episodes from the show’s original run alongside past episodes of VH1’s Behind The Music and another pivotal MTV staple, Unplugged.
Check out the trailer for the return of Yo! MTV Raps above.