I cannot overstate how essential Yo! MTV Raps was to the growth of hip-hop. The show helped take rap music from a genre only certain people knew about into the global phenomenon it would eventually become. It also brought a Black audience to what was originally a very white MTV. When the channel started in the early ‘80s, the only Black artists in regular rotation were Michael and Janet Jackson. Sure other videos would pop up occasionally, but they weren’t heavily featured. Yo! MTV Raps made the channel feel like it was more than just something for the white kids.


If you’re a hip-hop fan who wasn’t born in the ‘80s and ‘90s, you absolutely need to go back and check out the original. Then you can come back for the revival premiere Tuesday, May 24 on Paramount+.