You Can’t See Me

In between blog posts I’m trying to catch a lil idiot box to keep me up and on channel 25 the classic rap show that helped shaped my life was just on. Still going like a muthafuckin’ Energizer bunny is the homie Ralph McDaniels and his Video Music Box franchise. Now I must admit I don’t remember the last time I watched this show but back in the mid 80’s it was mandatory viewing for the kid. I would literally run home from school (even though I lived across the street from PS 151) to catch Uncle Ralph, the Vid Kid and the occasional guest spot from the truly crazy Crazy Sam.

This is the only way I could see Run DMC live from the Fresh Fest tour. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince at Union Square. KRS-One performing after the death of Scott LaRock with Ivan “Doc” Rodriguez behind the wheels of steel. And the videos! And soon as it was shot, Ralph had it. Dana Dane. Biz Markie. Antoinette. Chuck Chillout and Kool Chip. (Who kidnapped Dapper Dan?) You name it. (He and his partner Lionel Martin shot a lot of them themselves.)

But the real flavor was Ralph and the crew all up in NY clubs with cameras and mics in hand. Oh the pretty around the way chicks dancing and their shout-outs. It was ghetto fabulousness at its best. Oh how I longed to be able to be old enough to ride the train by myself and be in the place to be. But my latchkey kid ass spent most of the time posted in front of the screen eating tuna fish sandwiches. The show was my link to the New York nightlife and the culture behind the music.

I never wrote graf so Ralph’s show was it for me. I don’t really remember when it jumped the shark. But some day it stopped being a part of my daily operation. No disrespect to the Uncle (who still holds it down on Hot 97 occasionally) but Yo! MTV Raps came along and took a bite out of dude’s mojo. Still and all, VMB in its prime was unfuckwitable. And I could never thank Mr. McDaniels enough for the memories.

Sidebar: I wonder what Ralph is gonna do with his ridiculous archive. He pretty much has all the good classic shit. Some white man with a big check needs to holla. His video content is king.

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  • Brendan

    Man, I know they played that fuckin O’Neal video with Greg Nice. Thats a staple nowadays.

    I still like the show on DVR, but the “video remixes” they do are really hit or miss (usually more miss, but once in a while they are jamming).

  • DANJA29

    Growing up in B-More, I never got to see VMB. But just seeing the intro on Youtube gave me the impression that this show was a big deal to you New Yawkers in the ’80s, and I understand. The closest we got to that was New York Hot Tracks and shit… but from what I’ve always read about the show, I could imagine that this was HUGE considering the limited access to videos (much less a show that appealed to the young hip-hop crowd) at the time. I guess in 20 years or so, some kid’ll be writing about how Youtube used to be the sh*t while younger internetters have not a clue how monumental it was.

  • turnerclassicmovies

    shout out to Chuck Johnson (RIP), who owned/hosted Oakland, CA’s SoulBeat — the Bay’s own version of Video Music Box.

    Stay up, El. You’re doin’ it big.

  • LowKey

    I member Young Turbo kickin a freestyle on YO!..Keep going YN, your stories are truly inspirational!!

  • b-ease

    We’re still here E! lovin this shit! I’m a herb!

  • Pingback: dan » You Can’t See Me

  • YN

    I’m a herb too. Rap geeks rule!

  • brian “” miller

    We was @ Bfred crib’s watching the fight (4got who was slugging it out) and right b4 the knockdown, VMB pops up on the screen, lol. True story. Uncle Ralph is an OG. Keep it up sir. is it cool if I take a vaca next week?

  • MoneyMarc

    LOL!!! This was me too. Instead of the Tuna I had Chineese Chicken wings a bottle of Ketchup and some OJ. I still got them tapes I recorded every day!

  • YN

    Ask T-eye-yah, B Dot. > is coming!


    This is a fuckfest of epic proportions in Hip-Hop history.

    I need to save this shit and give it to my grandkids when this whole Hip-Hop thing is finally over. At least we had some cats willing to go the distance.

    I can’t lie tho, you’re doing a helluva lot better than I’d be doing. I am throwed.

    What the eff are you on right now? Doughnuts? Ephidrene? Crank? Prayer?

    Good shit. This shit has me laughing, but good job thus far.

  • YN

    Ha! MoneyMarc.

    Like Nine said, “4 chicken wings and rice.” With some extra duck sauce. Word to Sauce Money and his chubby ass.


    Rest In Peace My Brother Scott LaRock – Nuff Respect To Those Who Remember And A Shout Out To Elliott Wison For Remembering This Latino From Hells Kitchen And My Contribution To Boogie Down Productions And The Hip Hop Genre – Truly Appreciated!
    This Month (Dec 2007) I Celebrate 20 Wonderful Years In Thgis Game With At Least 20 More To Go – Get AT Me Familia! God Bless – 1!

  • dolo

    VMb > yo mtv

    Ahh who can forget the boom box risin with the nyc skyline in the back.. Yo mtv blurted logos out and you had to make aclean video for mtv ( you would never see the orig method man video on mtv) .. And who broke the low budget protect ya neck vid with the counter on the bottom.

  • Josh

    Still remember seeing “Run’s House” (the video for the song, not the MTV show) for the first time on VMB!