Yo! MTV Raps, which debuted in 1988, was MTV’s first music video program to focus exclusively on the flourishing hip-hop scene. The show enjoyed a successful seven-year run from the late-’80s to mid-’90s, during the golden era of hip-hop music.
Featuring music videos, live in-studio performances, and interviews with the biggest rap artists at the time, the program allowed for the relatively young style of music to reach audiences of a breadth and scope that had previously been proven elusive. Its many international platforms gave the world a peek into the then-little-known black and Latino sound.
The program went off the air more than 23 years ago, in August 1995, with a final show that featured a who’s who of the hip-hop scene, including Salt-N-Pepa, who hold the distinction as the only artists to appear on both the first and final episodes of the show.
And now, Asian rap fans can look forward to a revival of Yo! MTV Raps hosted by JOOX, one of the biggest music-streaming platforms in Southeast Asia. The comeback launches into the Asian market this year as the popularity of hip-hop rises in the region.
The vice president of JOOX parent company Tencent International Business Group, Poshu Yeung, told Billboard Radio China about the new partnership: “JOOX always excites fans with a wide range of music genres and music shows, and we are giving them more of the music they love through our partnership with MTV. Being the official streaming partner of Yo! MTV Raps further demonstrates our commitment to provide more dynamic and rich entertainment content.”
The reimagined show will put Asian artists front and center and allow unparalleled access to local and regional talent. The show will be hosted by DJ Kim Lee and Singaporean rapper Yung Raja and will feature top-notch artists from all over Southeast Asia. Asia’s hip-hop scene is ready to breakout onto the world stage and JOOX is set to take the lead in bringing this unique sound to streaming platforms throughout Asia and beyond.
The revamped Yo! MTV Raps will showcase regularly updated Asian hip-hop playlists along with one-on-one interviews with prominent artists. One of the artists slated to appear on the show is Dough-Boy, a Hong Kong rap pioneer and one of the leaders of the close-knit Hong Kong rap community, who scored hits with the songs “Chinglish” and “HONG KONG.”
Also making an appearance will be trailblazing Thai hip-hop royalty DaBoyWay, whose songs are mainstays in night clubs, bars and at music festivals throughout Asia. Malaysian listeners will be excited to hear that Kmy Kmo will also lend his voice to the discussion on the status of Asian hip-hop.