A Response to/MTV: Revolutionizing the Music Video industry

A Response to/MTV: Revolutionizing the Music Video industry

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After reading all of the position papers written by other students in your “discussion team,” you will respond to one of them. Your response must be at least 350 words in length and either take issue with or lend support to the viewpoint expressed in that fellow student’s position paper.

MTV: Revolutionizing the Music Video industry

The music video scene is a multi-billion dollar industry; however it was not always that lucrative. Between producing the music videos, implanting subliminal messages and advertising the artist, it is clear it is not a cheap experiment to produce. However, once music videos began being aired on national TV, their popularity skyrocketed. The late 1980s ushered in a new world of entertainment led by MTV, specifically their very first Hip Hop music video program called “Yo! MTV Raps”. Before this show aired, the public had no access into the lives of rappers, singers and artists. It is hard to imagine, but rap music back in the 1980s was simply not what it is today. Simply put, it was an underground following that competed with the mainstream popular music at the time. What this show did was bring Hip Hop into millions of suburban homes with an insight into rapping at a time when very few outlets were offering rap video viewings. The language, style, trends and attitudes of rap music began to drastically influence popular culture throughout the tenure of the program. Yo! MTV Raps brought a front row seat into the lives of popular rap artists by airing rap music videos, interviewing rap stars and live performances all while portraying a comedic vibe. Hip Hop, specifically Rap music, has grown into the biggest music industry with arguably the biggest fan following, largely due to Yo! MTV Raps.

On August 6, 1988 the very first episode of Yo! MTV Raps was aired. It included a couple of the most famous celebrities to date on the very first episode, which coincided with their rise to superstardom. This series premier was hosted by Run DMC, and featured interviews with DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, otherwise known as Will Smith. This premier was met with unbelievable success, as only two other programs produced by MTV had a higher rated program: the Live Aid music festival and the Video Music Awards. Yo! MTV Raps was initially a test run, but after the success of the pilot episode, the program extended to a permanent weekday slot, hosted by two novice VJs (video jockey) named Ed Lover and Doctor Dre, who became hip-hop celebrities just by hosting this show. Soon, an appearance on this program was a must for any up and coming artist.

Eric B and Rakim, two popular artists, hold the title for first music video on Yo! MTV Raps. The music video was of the title track to their album, Follow the Leader. Eric B, who is one of the most acclaimed lyricists to come out of the rap industry, spoke about what the show meant to his rap career, “it changed the whole way we had to think about marketing our music”. This show created an opportunity for little known artists to gain exposure, and to be seen instead of just heard. Hip Hop tycoons as well as many foundations of mainstream rap, including record labels, had not been established yet. This caused a huge interest of big business owners to realize the potential, and led to using Hip Hop and Yo! MTV Raps to sell products and music.

Yo! MTV Raps had a very successful seven year run and became a crucial component to late twentieth century rap culture. Not only did it explode rap music and culture onto the streets of America, but it also skyrocketed the careers of countless artists who likely would have never found the same success had it not been for Yo! MTV Raps. There will undoubtedly never be another show like Yo! MTV Raps that will simultaneously launch the careers of countless artists while skyrocketing the popularity of a music genre.




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