BET network has confirmed plans to cancel its long-running Hip-Hop series Rap City, effective by the end of this month.
Created by broadcasting veteran Alvin Jones in 1989, the video series chronicled Hip-Hop’s growing video music market, competing directly with Yo! MTV Raps.
The fledgling series was able to distinguish itself from its larger MTV competitor by not just focusing on mainstream rappers, but also championing videos and interviews from underground and up and coming artists.
Originally hosted by “The Mayor of Rap City” Chris Thomas for its first several years, Rap City’s “golden age” was 1994-1999, when the program was hosted by the colorful and knowledgeable duo of Joe Clair and Leslie Segar AKA Big Lez.
In 1999, the two hour slot was repackaged as Rap City: Tha Basement and christened with new host Big Tigger.
Tigger’s run birthed the popular Freestyle Booth session, where MCs would feature their best rhymes or freestyles following their interviews.
After completing their verses, many times with Tigger joining in, the MC(s) would traditionally sign the booth’s wall.
These freestyle sessions produced memorable performances from artists such as Ludacris, The Roots, Killer Mike, Chamillionaire, Jay-Z, Jadakiss, Obie Trice, Xzibit, Cassidy and numerous others.
Since Tigger’s 2005 departure, the show failed to establish a concise direction, running through a myriad of hosts and focusing on commercial artists, which failed to showcase Hip-Hop’s diverse talent pool as done years before.
Consequently, the show was reduced to a one hour time slot as rating suffered.
The final Rap City episode will commence on October 29, making it the longest running Hip-Hop program at 19 years.
At press time, the show is scheduled to be replaced by The Deal, an hour long video series hosted by DJ Diamond Kutz on November 10.