No Show

Waddup y’all, it’s your man Skyzoo, back for day 3 of my guest blogging gig. So for the third entry, I figured I’d break down the life and times of one of the game’s most prominent factors and the road it’s traveled thus far; the music video show. As hip hop fans, we always find a way to get what we want. Since day one, when dudes would set up in the park and plug into the light poles (prospect park waddup!), the deejays at hand would be surrounded by fans, admirers, etc, all off the strength of word of mouth. When radio stations only played hip hop for an hour on the late night, you pulled out a TDK and taped that hour. When the project basements were the only place that would let you get away with throwing a hip hop party, the basements became flooded immediately. Even nowadays with downloadable mixtapes and their instant access, Moral of the story, we find a way to get our fix.

Visuals are no different, and since the creation of videos, we’ve always had our avenues to get them no matter what. A dope video can easily make a song, an album, even an artist as a whole. At the same time, videos can (and have) easily broken careers in half. The wrong video can completely f**k up how you’re perceived. As a vehicle of getting the vids from points A to B, the concept of a hip hop video show was birthed in the early 80′s to heavy fan fare and even more skepticism. The idea of a tv show airing songs that you heard on the radio, with no added or changing elements, seemed simple and un-needed to say the least.

What hip hop video shows accomplished however, was bringing different types of living into homes it would’ve never existed in otherwise. A kid in Minnesota could now get a feel for the Bronx off of Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel’s “The Message.” Queens now existed in Kansas when Run DMC’s “My Adidas” came on. Compton was a reality in Seattle when NWA dropped “Express Yourself.” Lines became blurred, fans became a lighter shade, crowds sold out quicker, and hip hop became undeniable.

I grew up in Brooklyn NY, so for me, Video Music Box was everything. My Saturday mornings were locked on channel 25. I was a late bloomer with cable (if you from the ‘jects you understand), so I only saw videos on Saturdays from 12pm-1pm. When I did get cable in the crib, I found Yo MTV Raps and Rap City, as well as a few random hip hop looks on MTV’s daytime playlist and BET’s Video Soul, depending on what artist it was. I grew up as a fan of all of those shows; I remember the last episode of Yo MTV Raps with the all star cipher, I remember when “Protect Your Neck” was ONLY played on Video Music Box, I remember when The Box came along and convinced you to PAY $2 for videos that you just watched for free, I remember it all. As the shows came and went, it’s dope to see Video Music Box is still around, through all of the digital advancements, viewer control, etc, Ralph McDaniels has found a way to stay afloat regardless. The one show that did hurt to see leave though, to me, was Rap City. Aww man. SMH.

Rap City seemed like the end all be all for hip hop in the 80′s and 90′s, and by the ealry 2000′s it pretty much stood alone as far as it’s place of importance nationwide. Whether it was Big Lez, Joe Clair, Big Tigger, Mad Linx, Q45, or any of the other hosts before them, it didn’t matter to me, as long as Rap City was on, we was straight in my hood. The thing that made Rap City matter so much was the way it walked the line. You saw your Common Sense videos right along with your UGK videos, your Pharcyde’s with your Redman’s, your De La Soul’s with your 2pac’s, your Mos Def’s with your Mase’s, it all made sense. The balance was there, and it gave you everything that hip hop was at that moment. From the interaction between the hosts and the viewers, to the personality they showed, to the fact that all the hosts chosen seemed like true hip hop heads who could appreciate any style of the game, Rap City was easily FTW.

The best part about the show though, hands down, was and always will be the booth. When the clock hit about 5:45, you knew it was about to go down (whether good or bad). Seeing who would hit the booth the hardest was the main attraction of the show to me. As a high schooler, all I wanted to do was get on so that I could be featured on Rap City and rock the booth (I always wanted it to play out where they threw on Ghostface’s “Daytona 500″ beat for me to body. Anyone who went to school with me knows what I used to do to that beat). I knew that if I got to get in that booth, it was lights out. To me, the booth was a stamp of approval. The show as a whole was a certification of being a part of the culture in the same light you saw your heroes in. No matter what happened within hip hop and the politics that came with it, Rap City was ours.

In the age of dance crazes, YouTube, and the “I can do that too” mantra, I guess it was only a matter of time before something like Rap City faded away. Keeping up with a climate that kinda doesn’t know when it’s coming or going, you pretty much have everything stacked against you. Shouts to all the hip hop video shows still supporting, ie: Video Music Box, Sucker Free Sundays, Fuse’s Hip Hop Countdown, Video City, and of course The Deal (the continuation of Rap City). I commend you all for keeping the flag up high, or at least trying to do your part, as we need all the help we can get. The internet is a marvelous tool that even I’ve obviously used to my advantage, but as the saying goes, there’s no pro without a con.

So here’s to Rap City, and all the other dope a** hip hop video shows we grew up on, and shouts to WorldStar, Vlad TV, and the new generation video “shows.” If we can figure out a way to incorporate the essence of the booth to one of these web movements, we might be aiight.

In conclusion, my video for “The Beautiful Decay” is debuting today. Check for it on your fave blog/video site/etc now, and hopefully on one of the aforementioned remaining video shows in the next few weeks. Directed by the super talented Artemus Jenkins, I’m sure it’s something Rap City would’ve been proud of. Signing off, I’ll see yall here tomorrow with day 4 of my guest blogging. Holla—Skyzoo

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  • Pierzy

    What’s poppin’ Sky? Once again, an excellent blog. Very impressive.

    As far as videos, it’s a shame that it is a dying art, even with an MTV Jams channel that plays nothing but hip-hop and R&B videos.

    But, the old-school, grimy videos that were shown on The Box are missed. Where else could you see The Luniz’ “I Got 5 On It” (Remix) video?



  • Curtis75Black

    A nice retropective on Hip Hop and how it was presented to us. I remember all of those shows and it was cool at the time, especially with Rap City when rhe balance was there with who we seen and heard on the show. Much like it was everywhere in Hip Hop. And you’re absolutely correct, we seen every video we wanted.

  • John cochran

    Yo, Im only 23 but you just took me back. I miss the box, rap city, and all the other video shows that were on in the 90s and early 2000s. I was heartbroken when they cut Rap city off. The booth was like a right of passage. Like, you couldnt fully ride with someone unless they killed the booth. Cause shit, some cats used to let tigger shit on em. Hip hop just feels really confused right now as a culture an I hope we get it together.

  • Federal Ranga

    Nice drop, Sky… The ending of The Box and the mainstreamization (I know that’s not a word) of MTVJamz (a channel I used to blast a lot when it first started) is clearly the evidence that once payola is involved even the best of the best video shows and channels are not out of reach of being fucked with and I for one can’t stand that shit. Where the fuck will it end?


    • chillin mayne

      yo, i done checked out yo video blogs lol, i jus had to say…u had me rollin wen u was talkin to dat customer talkin bout sum “watever, im in the middle of somethin” (i think it was da paris pershun mixtape review ) jajajajajjaajj…trippin yo, how u gone do yo customer like that??…

  • chillin mayne

    ay, wattup skyzoo…im scratchin my head, aint u da dude dat went up against jin on 106 & park??..”im nastier dan wats between lil kims legs BEFORE she started rappin”..”i rap like sam cassells face, ugly / and battle any chump who think he wanna touch me”…”u rap like A.J. dress dog, terrible” jajajaja…das off da top i dont remember da line in front of dat A.J. line tho…thats u right??..

    anyhow, i aint never herd any of your music(im on the 3rd coast), but ima check this new music video u got out see wat u about…

  • Around and Around

    Great write up, Rap City was by far the best hip hop show on tv(Bring back Joe CLEEZY!!) said it perfectly:

    “The balance was there, and it gave you everything that hip hop was at that moment.”

    -Something we never get anymore, no sense of balance in anything music related. YOu have to actually put in work to find a balance, otherwise it’s same shit day in day out.

  • durdy burd

    ay, mayne fu, real doe they need to bring rap city back….
    rap and hiphop muzic is in a hard time right now.
    i wonder how long will the muzic we love last?
    can we actually fix all the problems?
    will rap city ever come back?

  • marsmusic

    Why don’t you go ahead and hit the 500 beat now.

  • Dwn-South-Cat-Who-Knows-More-About-Hip-Hop-Than-U

    Yo rap city had sum classic booth sessions. Frm Eminem,to LL wen he waz sitn on da toilet lol,to jada(rappin ova the sunshine anderson beat),even joe budden rocked the booth wen he 1st dropped. It really waz a stamp of approval for being an MC,especially considerin Big Tigger used to shit on alot of ya fav rappers(no names said). Being an MC myself I used to dream of rippin it on there and being interviewed so I feel ya on dat.

    And i definitely rememba the box. How cud u be frm da hood and not rememba the box?? Unless u had the illegal hook up lol. Shit i rememba tryna fix da antenna on my tv jus to watch it. Ahhh the gud ol days

    Sky keep doin ya thang,1 of my fav joints of urs is “click” wit u and torae. Come and fck wit da South too wen u get on dat album promo.

  • El Tico Loco

    What up sky (btw you need to do a whole LP w/9th wonder) funny you bring up what we had to do to get that “fix”, cuz most of underground heads still go for that same feel by lookin for shit that the general public ain’t up on by going to “hole in the wall” spots and listening to college radio, but just like before you have to still have that patience to look thru crates and having an open mind for old and new stuff and not compromise your standards because the music that’s saturating the market is below your standards, at the end only the tru heads are left and when the real shit comes back everybody acts like they’ve been down all along just like B boys nowadays.

  • $ykotic

    Damn I remember all them shows. Another good drop.

    I’m liking how this cat is actually a student of the game.



  • capcobra

    it took 3 blogs..beautiful decay..a southside shout out..a stack bundles shout..a 9th wonder track and an open mind to finally salute this dude….good job.

  • Tony Grand$

    How about all my old(er) heads? Y’all remember “Da Mayor” (from Rap City)? Dude came up with the silly ass shoulder bounce dance to keep up with (Yo!Mtv’s) Ed Lover’s hip dance? Hahaha!

    Good drop Skyzoo. You mentioned monday that you’ve been a writer since you were a kid, & it shows [||]. I’m going to see if I can find that vid out there somewhere.

    Keep up the good work. Cats better hope your rap career does as should…… fuck around & start taking bloggers’ jobs, ha!

    • capcobra

      champ was the mayor dance the start of the bankhead bounce?….lol.

      • Tony Grand$


        Da Mayor……dude looked like Robin Harris’ little brother. He always seemed like he was drunk to me.

        • oskamadison

          He probably was!!!

  • abdulnasir

    this is the best blog u’ve written so far (not that i really read the others, but this got my attention). a part of my adolescent years will always be when we first got b.e.t in nigeria and not the one they air now (b.e.t international), but the 1 y’all watched in the states too. i used to love rap city with big tigger as host. i thot homie could spit with the best of em, i was 1 of those ppl checkin out for his unfortunately shevelled album, tiggernometry. nice blog! brought back memories man.

  • BeerGangsta

    Good old days! When Big Tiggie host Rap city it was fun then. Now I don’t watch it no more.

  • EmCDL

    Aww man Rap City…damn! I use to stay watching that after I got home from school. When I was younger my moms wouldn’t even let me look at it for some reason…I had to sneak to watch that ish!

    Good looks on the blog Sky! Keep it up dawg!

  • DANJ!

    TRUE shit!

    Damn, now I gotta find a way to say it better about Rap City. That show was EXTRA-important to me growing up. It was more important than catching any show on TV or anything. I felt about that the same way my older brother felt about Yo! MTV Raps when he was a teenager. I can’t even start naming all the songs/videos I saw for the 1st time on Rap City, and the ones I prob’ly wouldn’t have known about if NOT for the show.

    Props, Sky


  • oskamadison

    Nothing was better than Friday afternoon when you knew Video Music Box was going to show some new joints. All y’all West Coast cats who think NY was hatin’ on y’all music, don’t believe it. Uncle Ralph was bangin’ Eazy-E/NWA (when MTV fronted on “Straight Outta Compton”, guessed who played it?), Ice-T, King Tee, Low Profile (WC and DJ Aladdin), 7A3 (the first group Muggs of Cypress Hill DJ’ed for), Everlast (pre-House of Pain, Rhyme Syndicate-era Everlast), JJ Fad, The D.O.C., Compton’s Most Wanted, DJ Quik, Def Jef, that West Coast All Stars joint “We’re All in the Same Gang”, Digital Underground…we caught all that and the real heads appreciated it. As for the South, Ralph hit us with The Geto Boys, 2 Live Crew, Outkast (before MTV), Silk Tymes Leather and Kris Kross (again, before MTV). All that AND he held NY down something serious, as well as Jersey and Philly. Ralph had people on there freestylin’ too (I remember Rage killin’ it off the head at somebody’s birthday party), DJ battles, live concerts (anyone remember the Fresh Fest?, all that shit. Rap City held it down more on a national level but for anybody in the tri-state area in the late ’80′s and 90′s, Video Music Box was that heat.

  • uncle ralph

    Skyzoo, Thank you Bro for the love.In a day and age where record companies don’t believe in the impact of videos.VMB and The Bridge still hold there numbers.We are proud to still be doin it on TV and online( I think I can get away with it.
    One Love
    VJ Ralph McDaniels

  • 6Cubed

    Man I missed the days of Rap City and the Box. I used to actually record the videos on those shows. I have 8-8 hr tapes of videos (@ 3-4 mins videos you do the math). All this 106 & Park is for the youngin’ they know nothin’ about Hip Hop yet. On 106 & Park Soulja Boy/Bow Wow/Newboys>>>>Jay-Z? Anyway thanks for takin’ me back to the early part of the 90s.

  • Alex Gilliam

    Skyzoo’s “The Salvation” may be the best hip-hop record in the last five years, i’m truly excited to hear the record!!!!!

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