Monday, October 6, 2008

R.I.P. Rap City

BET's Rap City is done. It's not the best of news, but considering what the show has become in the past few years – basically a reflection of the ever-deteriorating quality of BET programming – it’s hardly a tearjerker.

I used to tune into Rap City not just to witness Joe Clair's often-erratic behavior and ogle Big Lez, but to get the dish on some of the best hip-hop artists of the mid- to late-90s, watch whole blocs of their videos and peep their newest cuts. Rap City was at its prime in an era when video shows still played the whole damn video, and you could still peep low-budget films from underground artists. If not for the show, I may have never fallen in love with Black Star after seeing Common walking up the street rapping in the video.

I think if I dig in my daddy's basement far enough, I could still find the VHS tape of the Wu Tang episode they played before Wu Tang Forever dropped; they had damn near EVERY Wu video that mattered play through the two-hour episode. I cared a bit less about it when Big Tigger was running The Basement, but the artists he had come on were often reflective of hip-hop's general decline.

Not quite as sad as when Yo! MTV Raps went off the air, but we did lose a one-time bastion of the genre; regardless of the number of Yung Joc videos that aired in its final days.


Rich S said...

My sadness is sort of ho-hum as well. Joe Clair definitely had the best years on Rap City. I still remember videos from Mic Geronimo, Smooth The Hustler, Smif-N-Wessun, Mad Skillz and all of the other nice Boom Bap East Coast artists of that day. They had a nice mix of West Coast in there too.

I think the art of the "simple" video is lost nowadays. Videos like Definition from Black Star, If I Ruled the World, Criminology and Clones from The Roots were the shit and had the artists at the forefront, not special effects, glitz and video chicks.

But the new guy they had and all the guest hosts and the 1 hour time slot did just kill it for good. I used to always watch the Top 10 on Saturday morning. The last 2-3 years sounded like Detroit Urban Radio though which means I could care less about what was being played.

Anonymous said...

I was feeling Big Lez too

Anonymous said...

it was definitely about the dope videos and convo. I actually miss The Box more because it allowed alot of unknows to put there money where their mouth was. You could send in your videos and call in to air it. Not a big fan of Mystikal but he made good use of that strategy. I bet Big Lez tastes like Hip Hop....mmmm....thick ass...before bad.

Prince Dejour hosted Rap City? I must've missed that one. Where was Prime? He must still have harsh feelings towards BET for giving him the boot.For the most part, the hosts really sucked but i dug the videos. Yo MTV with Fab 5 Freddy was the Holy Grail in comparison. He was intelligent and had history. Oh well. it wasn't like I was watching it anyways.
Was I the only one that thought Big Tiggers rhymes were wack? After all those years, all those artists and he still sounded like that? "Yes indeed....blah blah blah blah blah blah..."