I know Ray-J’s not a rapper, but he’s ignorant enough to be considered one. You must know by now that Brandy’s little brother has a VH1 reality show, For the Love of Ray-J. Recently there’s been some drama, as one of the contestants, Danger, claims to be pregnant with his child and possibly used to be a prostitute. Somebody call Maury. Reality shows are in no way a new phenomenon but I know I’m not the only one who thought this craze was fleeting. Blame Flava Flav for igniting the trend in hip-hop. Before long, every rapper and their weed carrier caught on. After winning their Oscar, Three 6 Mafia displayed their full ignorance in Adventures in Hollyhood. Run’s House is inspirational I guess, but incredibly scripted, as is Snoop Dogg’s Fatherhood. And there must be some reality show coupon we don’t know about, because both Coolio and Uncle Luke had one, too. I had to watch at least a few minutes of these shows as part of my job in keeping up with what’s hot and not, and a lot of it is better left un-filmed.
The one hip-hop reality series I loved was Gotti’s Way, which revealed the many asshole tendencies of Irv but was incredibly entertaining and enlightening nonetheless. It not only showed Irv’s business savvy side but how much he cares for his family…aside from his nonchalance about cheating on his wife. Despite only focusing on one aspect of T.I.’s life—his prison stint—Road to Redemption is also uplifting. Those are the type of reality shows that stick, the ones where you get to see a different side of an artist. But normally, a reality show is an indication of being beyond the low point in one’s career. For the most part, it’s the last hoorah for rappers who don’t make money otherwise and need to promote themselves.
With reality shows now a part of the TV-viewing norm, however, we’ll be seeing more and more artists “getting real” for the cameras. Lil Scrappy says he’s working on a reality show for BET. Lil Kim has signed on for Dancing With the Stars (there’s some rehearsal photos circulating the Web), and good luck to Plies, who’s supposed to be shooting “Bust it Baby,” some type of search for the perfect hoodrat. Do you guys find these shows entertaining? Do you want to see more behind-the-scenes footage of rappers’ lifestyles and see how they really are? Who would you rather see have a reality show? —clovito