Last week, I saw a retweet of an Ed Lover tweet promoting a VH1 documentary about “Yo! MTV Raps”, the pioneering hip hop show that ran on MTV for eight years, from 1988-1995. I had absolutely no idea the show was on. While it was short, it was entertaining and took you back to a quintessential era in MTV history.

Hosted by Fab 5 Freddy, Doctor Dre, and Lover, Yo! created a dedicated block for rap music and rap artists whose videos weren’t played in regular rotation on the cable station. Freddy hosted the show early on before MTV wanted it to become daily. He kept the weekend gig and Dre and Lover were on during the weekdays. Each version of the show was different. Freddy was out on the scene talking to rappers and fans while Dre and Lover were in the studio, inviting artists to come to them. The time frame was perfect as the art form blew up around the time of the show and some of the most memorable artists created their best work during that time frame.

When rappers came on as guests, Dre and Lover would ask them to freestyle. I’ve added the very last freestyle which was on the last episode of the show. Rakim opens it up.

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