30 years ago on this date, MTV premiered the first episode of the Hip Hop generated video show, YO! MTV Raps.
Everybody has their own personal memory of MTV Raps. Whether it was during the era of comedians Ed Lover and Doctor Dre or during the Fab 5 Freddy reign, YMTVR gave the world its first continual, visual experience of Hip-Hop music. Not to downplay the world famous VJ Ralph McDaniels and the esteemed Video Music Box show based in NYC as well, but the scenarios, special guests, live performances, and other exclusive footage was only available on Music Television’s first Hip Hop show.
Created by late film director Ted Demme, Yo! MTV Raps‘ first video to appear was Rakim’s “Follow The Leader”, which was shown on the 1987 pilot, however, Shinehead’s “Chain Gang” was the actual first video shown during the show’s debut season. It helped spread Hip Hop across the globe with the help of MTV Europe, MTV Asia, and MTV Latino.
The series finale aired on August 17, 1995, with an unforgettable freestyle session. There were several attempts by MTV to relaunch a Hip Hop video show that had a cultural impact like Yo!, including Direct Effect and Sucker Free, however, Yo! MTV Raps remains an unparalleled aspect of Hip Hop culture.