VH1's "Yo: The Story of Yo! MTV Raps": (L-R) Jazzy Jeff, Ed Lover, Todd 1 and Will Smith as the Fresh Prince

*VH1’s “Roc Docs” series on Thursday premiered its latest effort, a walk through the history and cultural impact of “Yo! MTV Raps.” [Scroll down to view dates of rebroadcasts.]


Through archival footage and interviews with past guests, viewers are treated to highlights from the show’s seven year run – including the time Tupac bragged about beating up the Hughes Brothers – and later had those words used against him in court.

(L-R) Ed Lover, Tupac Shakur, Dr. Dre, John Singleton on the set of MTV's "Yo! MTV Raps"

The special also traces the pre-“Yo!” years of MTV, when white rock and pop acts were dominating the channel, and had been doing so since its August 1, 1981 launch.  Hip hop wouldn’t make its first appearance until 1984, with the premiere of Run DMC’s “Rock Box.”

“When Run DMC got on MTV, there wasn’t anybody black on MTV but Michael Jackson,” Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons told us. “The plight of the poor was not a part of the cultural landscape in America. And when Run DMC came, it was kind of an introduction into how people were living. And since it had so much honesty and integrity, it stuck. So MTV changed the mindset of young America. Race relations in America have dramatically changed because of MTV’s embracing hip hop.”

Yo! MTV Raps hosts (L-R) Dr. Dre, Fab 5 Freddie and Ed Lover

“Yo: The Story of Yo! MTV Raps” also features interviews with former show hosts  Dr. Dre, Ed Lover and Fab 5 Freddy, who is also a consulting producer.

Below, Freddy reveals his initial thoughts when the late Ted Demme approached him to host “Yo! MTV Raps.”

“Yo: The Story of Yo! MTV Raps” will re-air the following dates: [Scroll down to watch clips from the special.]

Sunday, June 10: 3 a.m.
Monday, June 11: 5 p.m.
Thursday, June 14: 12 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 17: 10 a.m.
Wednesday, June 20: 1 a.m.