30 years ago, a TV show introduced a generation to a genre that has since dominated the world.
Perhaps it was a mere coincidence that the show debuted two days before the release of NWA's Straight Outta Compton, but Yo! MTV Raps quickly established itself in 1988 as a flag-bearing show for the culture.
Interviews with Tupac, Wu-Tang Clan, Notorious B.I.G. and Snoop Dogg, along with studio performances and music video premieres, brought the raging energy of the East and West Coast into home televisions, and exposed a wide audience whose radios were cluttered with safe, chart-topping pop hits.
Since then, hip-hop has become a global, all-encompassing force, with artists pushing fresh boundaries in unique and jaw-dropping directions from Compton to Canada. Where will Yo! MTV Raps fit in this new and exciting world?
This time, the show is returning as a special, replete with sharpened focus and blazing energy: setting sights instead on the explosive hip-hop scene of Asia. Hint: 88rising is merely the tip of the iceberg.
Hosted by South Korea's ferocious Jessi, a hip-hop star in her own right, and Singapore's burgeoning Yung Raja — our current MTV Asia Spotlight artist — the newly-rejuvenated Yo! MTV Raps zeroes in entirely on our regional talent.
Yo! MTV Raps will be the epicentre of the latest in hip-hop today, and amongst the surprises we have included the intricacies of beat-making — with the studio wizardry of rapper/producer SonaOne — to the buzzing conversations surrounding modern hip-hop culture, led by the hosts with rappers Zamaera, Kidd Santhe and Twopee Southside.
The episode's musical features will be kicked off with a special studio performance by Indonesian rapper Young Lex, a rapper whose swaggering infamy has enraptured his home country.
But hip-hop revels in the improv, and we'll be having our very own cypher at the end of the episode. What's a cypher? We'll reveal more really soon, but let's say what happened is unlike anything we've seen in Asian hip-hop lately — it's hosted by inimitable Malaysian hip-hop veteran Joe Flizzow, so you know it's about to go down.
For now, sit tight and start counting down to Yo! MTV Raps' premiere, happening on June 19th, right after our encore of the 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards.
Catch Yo! MTV Raps on Tuesday, June 19 at 10:00pm (SG/MY), 9:00pm (WIB), with an encore on Sunday, June 24 at 5:30pm (SG), 6:30pm (MY), 4:30pm (WIB).