Hip HopOriginal Articles

#FridayFlashback – Toronto’s RapCity

(WWETV Network) Happy New Year everyone as this is the first article by yours truly Venom for 2019. Well, call me shocked as I just saw on Instagram WWETV Network host Brooklyn’s New Year’s Resolution about trying to bring back the classic RapCity from MuchMusic to Worldwide Entertainment TV Network. 

As you see in the clip above RapCity was revived in 2011 in Toronto with an interview with Drake.  What many hip hop fans in America and newer fans in Canada don’t know is the history of Rap City being in the Great White North. We can’t go into the history without giving props to the origin of the show in the United States. We have to start with the 1st Mayor or Rap City(yes there was a difference in the spelling of the two shows) Chris Thomas.

The show aired on BET Networks starting in 1989 in the month of August and launched one of the most important shows for hip hop. The United States version ended on November 8th, 2008.

During its run we saw a who’s who of hip hop royalty on episodes that have become milestones and cornerstones of the genre. Alvin Jones aka the “Unseen VJ” was the show’s creator.

One of its landmark interviews included Notorious BIG in 1997 that was just before his untimely death. He spoke about the “Life After Death” album and the death of Tupac Shakur. 

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The show also seen some of the greatest cyphers in history when Big Tigga was the host of the show. Tha Bassment was a place where everyone would unload their arsenal and showed that they got the wares to battle rap.

While BET in the United States was making hip hop history, MuchMusic Television was setting the groundwork for the foundations of Canadian hip hop with “RapCity”. The program was created by director/producer Michele Geister after much petitioning to Programme Director John Martin that a hip hop show was overdue for the Canadian market as well as the music channel’s credibility. Now MuchMusic was no stranger to urban music programming as they had a show which predated MTV’s urban culture with episodes of “Soul In The City” with Veejay Michael Williams. 

It would be that platform which would be the testing grounds for the new concept of “RapCity” in Canada. Michael Williams would be the first ever host. 

The show would have some of the biggest acts in hip hop right out of the gate with the likes of Chuck D and more.

As I stated above the show was groundbreaking in terms of establishing for the first mainstream acts in Canadian history for urban music. It is the place where the majority of people saw the likes of Michie Mee and Maestro Fresh Wes. It should be noted that the U.S. hip hop fans also saw these shows on satellite feeds and other alternative ways. 

Michie Mee 

The show made a return in 2011 after a hiatus from television. It went through various hosts such as Master T, Oliver, and Rachel whom conducted classic interviews with stars no longer here such as Biggie Smalls. The same way that the American Rap City was able to grab the brightest stars for interviews.

T Rexx  brought an updated version of the show that had something different that the older version didn’t. It gave a platform to battle rap and some of Canada’s best underground artists got to show their skills.