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.