Hip Hop Culture for Grown-Ups
Words by Phlip
Whatever happened to VH1 and their giving a damn about hip hop?
At a point in my life where there was literally ZERO hip hop based programming on the networks, I watched this when it came on the first time, then EVERY time it came on for the following month or two, even buying the book (and you should too).
From there, they took the baton and stayed relevant with hip hop-friendly programming, profiling hip hop acts as quickly as they might a rock or pop one. When the people paid attention, it came to them having the apparent respect to garner the INVOLVEMENT in other hip hoppers – old and new – and it grew fast, culminating with the creation of the “Hip Hop Honors,” the first of which took place in October of that same year and continuing annually for 7 presentations, the last of which being the “Dirty South” one, airing June of 2010.
In between, VH1 remained very diverse, but still definitely friendly to hip hop-flavored programming, including more ego trip-styled programming with 2007’s “ego trips The (White) Rapper Show” and 2008’s “ego trip’s Miss Rap Supreme” – both of which were ‘contest’ shows to break the “next big thing” in melanin-deficient and estrogen-rich rap, respectively and both equally dubious for the fact that NO ONE can name the last place they saw the “winners” without first consulting Google.
… then it all fell apart.
Well, more specifically, it was busting at the seams the whole time. Along with friendliness to hip hop came an affinity for “Reality” television, which spun off an odd intermingling, in the giving of Flavor Flav of all people a reality dating show, which in turn got a 2-time eliminated Tiffany, “New York” Pollard a couple of seasons of the same format herself, which got a couple of zesties brothers the same treatment. They KEPT going back to the well, one could say jumping the shark, and somewhere, somehow, the only new programming VH1 has shown in the past 3+ years has been of the reality type.
Considering that last paragraph, it is wholly arguable that someone held as a legend (or co-legend, as it were) was the one who led, then exploited the charge in the changing of the programming that killed the hip hop friendliness of the network, eventually murdering that hip hop friendliness in favor of inane “reality” programming.
So to those keeping score at home, they went from like NO music programming to very little (but all VERY Vanilla, if you know what I mean) music programming to HEAVILY into hip hop, until that moment a well-known got involved and thus jettisoned their involvement with hip hop at large BACK out…
Isn’t that IRONIC?