Straight from the horse's mouth: MTV2 is bringing back beloved old-school MTV hip-hop showcase Yo! MTV Raps for a special thirty-minute retrospective to be aired after the first-ever Sucker Free Awards.
We're a little disappointed that after almost two decades of no Yo! and an ever-shriveling focus on, uh, music television, they're only giving us a half-hour of Ed Lover, Doctor Dré (no not that one), and Fab 5 Freddy. But we'll take what we can get. And who knows? Maybe this is MTV gauging interest?
Either way, the news got us in the mood to revisit some of the show's finest feats of freestyling.
10. The Pharcyde (1992)
From "My name is Fat Lip! And I am funky!" onward, this brief Pharcyde cypher features three distinct voices that share a smooth, limber, and pliable flow.
9. Lord Finesse and Big L
Big L was only 17 when they filmed this! You gotta love Yo! MTV Raps for staying as true as possible to the culture it hoped to represent. Breaking new rap artists (instead of just blowing blunt smoke up the asses of the fat and sassy) was one of the show's most commendable qualities.
8. Coolio and 2Pac (1993)
Damn, who knew Coolio could spit like that? The man who wrote "Gangsta's Paradise" and went on to be a not-so-secret celebrity Juggalo reduces Don Killuminati (AKA ultimate '90s gangsta hip-hop martyr and amateur porn star Tupac Shakur) to Mother Goose.
7. Snoop Dogg (1993)
Man, how old was Snoop in this video? Is this pre-voice change?
6. Queen Latifah (1989)
Hip-hop's first queen dishes out her signature smooth, rhythmic, and earthy rhymes.
5. Redman (1994)
Goddamn, Erick Sermon's flow is so playful and effortless, we want him to rap our children to sleep at night.
4. The Fugees (1994)
Though not the most prolific, nor the hardest, nor the most "socially conscious," The Fugees were one of the most unique voices in the history of hip-hop. Can you think of any other hip-hop trios? Is that why this group was so good?
P.S. has anyone seen Inspectah Deck the past decade?
3. Ol' Dirty Bastard (1995)
This video of Big Baby Jesus unleashin' the beast is something special. After a totally wasted ODB mumbles (freestyles?) through a few tweaked-out bars, Ed Lover wisely suggests he spit some lyrics. And doing so, he successfully activiates Russell Jones's innate knack for captivatingly occupying the spotlight.
2. Final Episode's Grand Finale Freestyle (1995)
The final episode of Yo! MTV Raps obviously marked the end of an era. But the program went out in style with an epic grand finale freestyle that featured everybody from Rakim to KRS 1, Erick Sermon, Chubb Rock, MC Search, Redman, Method Man, Special Ed, and Craig Mack.
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1. Spring Break Freestyle (1992)
Essentially the same winning format as the finale -- a head-spinning all-star cast spitting in rapid fire succession. Only instead of the Yo! MTV Raps studio, everyone's spitting at Spring Break. Accordingly, the vibes are a little looser. And that verse from Salt (or Pepa?) is fire. The whole damn thing is fire. Also, note the Seuss hat on Busta Rhymes.