Rap City Is Back For One Night Only…For Now

BET’s Rap City was a staple of Hip-Hop culture for nearly 20 years. The show evolved with Rap culture over a series of hosts, studios, and themes. Through it all, BET found a vehicle that was a rival to Yo! MTV Raps as a vessel of the music on television. From 1989 to late 2008, the program offered audiences a chance not only to watch curated Rap music videos but experience their favorite artists in a meaningful way. Besides just interviews, guests would often freestyle, and sometimes offer glimpses of their personal lives.

Tonight (October 5), Rap City is making its special one-night return ahead of the 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards. Big Tigger, who hosted the show between 1999 and 2005, is returning to his post for Rap City ’21. Given the host, this may also mark the return of “the booth,” which became a destination for MCs to join Tigger in freestyles while guest DJs cut, mixed, and scratched instrumentals. The booth was an extension of Rap City: Tha Bassment, which was part of the show’s 1999 changes, giving it a down-homey feel—despite being on a sound-stage. JAY-Z, Cam’ron, Gang Starr, GZA, Lil Wayne, and Beanie Sigel were among the segment’s memorable guests. Rap City ’21 airs Tuesday at 8 pm EST. The 2021 BET Hip Hop Awards will kick off one hour later, hosted by Karlous Miller, DC Young Fly, and Chico Bean. Nelly will be this year’s “I Am Hip Hop Award.”

This Oral History of Rap City Follows The Show From The Basement To The Top Floor

In episode #63 of What’s The Headline, the Ambrosia For Heads team discusses the impact of Rap City—personally and on Hip-Hop culture (at 1:20:50). We also speculate if Tuesday’s one-night return could give way to something that goes beyond just a one-night return, given the brand power of the series. There is opining on what Rap City can do to stand apart from similar show revivals, even if for one night. The What’s The Headline episode also covers news of Dr. Dre’s Super Bowl halftime show—with Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige, as well as a preview of the October 17 Verzuz battle between Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One.

Below are the time-stamps for episode #63 of the What’s The Headline podcast:

0:00 Intro 4:50 J. Cole brought bars to Brooklyn with The Off Season Tour
15:55 Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One will be the next to battle on Verzuz
17:50 Did the people want Big Daddy Kane Verzuz Rakim
22:10: Who was your first favorite rapper
25:40 Does Big Daddy Kane have a deep enough catalog to battle KRS-One
31:25 What are Big Daddy Kane and KRS-One’s top 5 records
35:50 What each of KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane needs to do to win their Verzuz
46:20 Who will win Big Daddy Kane Verzuz KRS-One 49:00 Other artists who should face off on Verzuz
53:40 Dr. Dre, Eminen, Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar and Mary J. Blige will be the halftime performers for the Super Bowls
54:10 Super Bowl LVI will be Dre Day and Hip-Hop is celebrating
59:15 A history and timeline of Hip-Hop Super Bowl performers
1:04:20 Dr. Dre has set new boundaries for Hip-Hop and Pop culture before
1:08:00 Will Dr. Dre release a new album after the Super Bowl
1:10:00 What songs Mary J. Blige will perform at the Super Bowl
1:11:10 JAY-Z’s role in making this historic Super Bowl halftime show happen
1:15:00 Will JAY-Z be a surprise performer at the Super Bowl LVI halftime
1:17:15 Is this Super Bowl halftime just a reflection of where culture is now
1:20:50 Rap City is returning for one night only
1:25:00 New music of the week— Meek Mill, Andy Mineo, D Smoke, Wale & J. Cole, Solemn Brigham, Maticulous, Neek The Exotic & Large Professor, and more

Joey Bada$$ Brings Back Rap City’s Booth With Beast Coast & Big Tigger (Video)

AFH readers can catch regular discussions about the culture on our What’s The Headline podcast. Additionally, What’s The Headline has recent interviews with Blu & Mickey Factz, Kurupt, Evidence, Skyzoo, Pharoahe Monch, Prince Paul & Don Newkirk, Statik Selektah, Lyric Jones, The LOX, MC Eiht, Havoc, Duckwrth, photographer T. Eric Monroe, and Lord Finesse. All episodes of the show are available to view or for listening wherever you stream your pods.