Squares are usually pretty lame to be around. Hip-hop squares, however, tend to be the life of the party. Sensing that, MTV2 is set to launch Hip-Hop Squares on May 22 at 11p.m. EST. The game show is a spinoff of the classic Hollywood Squares game show, which had four separate runs on the air from 1966-2004.
The new series will be hosted by New York City’s Hot 97 radio personality Peter Rosenberg, with the actual hip-hop squares comprising a mix of rappers, celebrities and comedians, including Fat Joe, Ghostface Killah, Tech N9ne, Mac Miller, Nick Cannon, Lil Duval and Bam Margera of MTV’s Jackass and Wildboyz fame.
“Hip-hop needs a show like this to bring us together, celebrate the culture and showcase our diverse personalities,” says Joey Crack, who, along with DJ Khaled, has exclusively been booked to appear on every episode.
Hip-Hop Squares will be far from a typical game show. In addition to the rotating cast of experts, a DJ will be on set to spin the latest tunes. And, like past iterations of the show, contestants won’t be the only one who get stumped.
“Unlike a lot of other game shows, we think audiences are going to be tuning in not to see who wins, but to see what the personalities in the grid are going to say next,” says Paul Ricci, the show’s executive producer. “In a lot of ways, this isn’t a game show—every episode is a party.”
Just like the original, the show’s setup and aim will be simple: win a game of tic-tac-toe. Two contestants—chosen during casting calls—must call out one of the nine Hip-Hop Squares, who will be seated in a giant constructed grid, and pose a question via Rosenberg. Some of the witty questions are formatted in true or false style and others are purely trivial, both either related to rap or drifting into the obscure.
“You might get a question like, ‘True or false: Birdman tries to wear at least $1 million worth of clothing everyday?’” Ricci says. “But you also might get a question like, ‘True or false: Condoms have appeared in cave paintings,’ which has absolutely nothing to do with hip-hop at all.”
The first contestant to get three squares in a row by correctly guessing if the star’s answers are accurate or not will win an undisclosed cash prize.
“Hip-Hop Squares is such an incredible look for hip-hop because it’s such an awesome brand that everyone knows and loves,” explains Rosenberg. “This version of the show reflects American culture today, which everyday becomes more and more hip-hop. I’m honored to be hosting it.” Game on. —Mark Lelinwalla