A History Of Rappers Appearing On News Programs
Earlier this week, Queensbridge rhymer Nas made headlines by appearing on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 and joining in on a roundtable discussion about the Trayvon Martin case and about racism in America. While Nas had plenty of interesting insights to share in his time on the show, this wasn't the first time a rapper has gone on a nationally-televised news program to speak about the current state of affairs (political or otherwise). Here we've compiled a list of five rappers, from Jay Z to 50 Cent, who have appeared on major news shows in recent memory.—Written and compiled by Chris Mench
Cam'ron appears on The O'Reilly Factor with Bill O'Reilly, 2006
In 2006, Cam’ron and Dame Dash appeared on FOX News’ The O’Reilly Factor to discuss the influence of gangster rap on inner city youth. The conversation was heated, and the interview proved to be a viral hit after Cam’ron taunted O’Reilly with the phrase “You mad?!”
Jay Z appears on PBS talk show with Tavis Smiley, 2008
In 2008, Tavis Smiley brought hip-hop and R&B superstars Jay Z and Mary J. Blige onto his PBS show for a discussion of their roads to success as black artists. Jay spent much of the interview talking about how he didn’t believe many people possessed the same work ethic as he does. This work ethic, he claimed, is what has led him to success not just in music, but also as a CEO and entrepreneur.
Lil Wayne appears on 60 Minutes with Katie Couric, 2009
Before the 2009 Grammys—in which his blockbuster album Tha Carter III was nominated for eight awards—Weezy sat down with Katie Couric for an in-depth interview. In it, he touched on everything from his childhood in New Orleans to his musical influences. Tunechi also sparked controversy when he mentioned his use of cough syrup, and claimed that he wasn’t a role model for anyone except his children.
50 Cent appears on Oprah's Next Chapter with Oprah, 2012
Last year, 50 Cent sat down with Oprah to bury the hatchet on their longtime feud. Amongst other things, the pair discussed 50’s dog and cat (respectively named Oprah and Gayle), his use of the n-word in his music and him painting his grandmother’s toenails.
Nas appears on Anderson Cooper 360 with Anderson Cooper, 2013
Anderson Cooper brought together a variety of African American figures for a discussion of race in America in the wake of the Trayvon Martin verdict, including veteran rapper Nas. He weighed in on the debate, talking about Americans’ tendency to judge others based on appearance. “At this point, America is looking like barbarians,” he said.