Paramount Global Announces Content Initiatives for 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop

Since its origins in the early 1970s, the hip hop music genre and culture created by Black, Latino and Caribbean artists has shaped and redefined all aspects of mainstream entertainment.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of hip hop, Paramount Global Nov. 17 announced an extensive slate of content that celebrates the culture across the media and entertainment company’s portfolio of broadcast, cable, streaming and digital brands.

Showtime kicked things off in late 2021 with “Hip Hop 50,” a three-year initiative with Mass Appeal, who have a legacy and focus on the music industry, through which Showtime has showcased the genre’s stories, including “Supreme Team,” “Cypress Hill: Insane in the Brain,” “You’re Watching Video Music Box” and “Ricky Powell: The Individualist.”

In addition to these titles, a collection of new and returning content offerings that are rooted in hip hop’s cultural impact will become available across Paramount’s suite of brands in 2023.

BET will produce a documentary on its iconic series “Rap City” and will honor the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop all year long, including at the BET Awards and BET Hip Hop Awards. The legacy and future of Hip Hop culture and its icons will also be celebrated and profiled across BET.com and BET Social.

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MTV Entertainment Studios will produce new episodes of “Behind the Music,” as well as a slate of Hip Hop documentaries to be announced. Fans will also have the opportunity to celebrate Hip Hop’s 50th anniversary with exciting in-show moments during the VMAs and EMAs.

CBS will continue the year-long celebration during the 65th Annual Grammy Awards (Feb. 5, 2023) and will culminate with a historic commemoration later in 2023 with a special music event in partnership with The Recording Academy.

Paramount+ will continue to stream 50 of episodes of MTV Entertainment’s original series, “Yo! MTV Raps” for the first time since it premiered, with the rebooted series now also available to stream alongside home makeover series, “Hip Hop My House.” Additionally, Paramount+ will act as the home for this content and more with over 100 hours of programming.

Lionsgate Releasing ‘Origins of Hip-Hop’ Docuseries on DVD Nov. 29

Lionsgate will release the docuseries Origins of Hip-Hop on DVD Nov. 29.

Narrated by Grammy-winning rapper Nas, the eight-part documentary series delves into the stories of some of hip-hop’s most celebrated and groundbreaking artists in their own words.

Origins of Hip-Hop features interviews with dozens of acclaimed artists and music industry veterans, as well as family and friends of the highlighted icons, plus never-before-seen archival footage.

The hour-long episodes chronicle the rise of eight culture-defining hip-hop legends across multiple generations and styles — including Busta Rhymes, Eve, Fat Joe, Grandmaster Flash, Ice-T, Ja Rule, Lil Jon and Uncle Luke — as they share the experiences that shaped their music and made them icons.

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Update 10/4/22: Street date changed from Nov. 22 to Nov. 29.

‘Yo! MTV Raps’ to Return on Paramount+ With Hosts Conceited and DJ Diamond Kuts

Paramount+ announced that battle rapper Conceited and DJ Diamond Kuts will host the return of the hip-hop series “Yo! MTV Raps.”

From MTV Entertainment Studios, the reimagined global iteration will include hosted segments, live performances, cyphers and lifestyle content, and serve as a comprehensive deep dive into the current state of hip hop, according to a press release. As previously announced, the series will premiere on Paramount+ in the United States and in all international markets where the streaming service is available.

“Yo! MTV Raps” debuted 33 years ago on Aug. 6, 1988. 

“’Yo! MTV Raps’ is truly one of the most groundbreaking, iconic music series to date,” Bruce Gillmer, chief content officer of music at Paramount+ and president of music, music talent, programming and events at Paramount, said in a statement. “The wildly popular franchise introduced hip hop to the world and along the way helped launch the careers of countless artists. Conceited and DJ Diamond Kuts are the perfect pair to bring new life and energy to our storied past, as we merge the show’s legacy with the fresh faces of hip hop’s present and future, taking ‘Yo!’ worldwide to a whole new generation of fans on Paramount+.”

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Reggie “Conceited” Sergile, is a multifaceted artist best known for being a battle rapper in the SMACK/URL circuit and as one of the recurring cast members of the franchise “Wild ‘N Out.” Hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., he earned his fame in the “Motherland of Urban Renaissance” in Harlem, N.Y. His first major-league battle took place in fall of 2009 alongside battle rap legends such as Murda Mook and Loaded Lux’s at the Lion’s Den. Across all social platforms he has surpassed more than 30 million online views. In February 2020, Conceited began hosting the MTV internet series “Sneaker Wars,” posted on the “Wild ‘N Out” YouTube channel.

Hailing from Philadelphia, DJ Diamond Kuts is the first female mixer to have a DJ slot on Philadelphia radio, along with being the official DJ for the Philadelphia Eagles. Over her career she’s DJed for political campaigns, including President Barack Obama. Diamond has toured with various artists, such as Nicki Minaj, and has appeared on and worked for numerous television networks and shows such as BET, “Good Morning America,” and others. Diamond has been featured on worldwide promo campaigns for NYX cosmetics and Dove and produced music for chart-topping artists and Disney Records. 

Executive producers for the series include Kurt Williamson, Warren Oliver and Michelle Kenner of HollandWest Productions. Kim Velona is head of production. Bruce Gillmer and Jennifer Demme serve as executive producers for MTV.

Mattel, Rapper Lil Yachty Producing Live-Action Movie Based Around the ‘Uno’ Card Game

If it can work for G.I. Joe, Barbie, and Hot Wheels, why not a game? Mattel Feb. 5 announced it is developing the Uno brand into a live-action motion picture.

Mattel Films will produce the project alongside Grammy-nominated rapper Lil Yachty and Quality Control’s Kevin “Coach K” Lee, Pierre “P” Thomas and Brian Sher. Marcy Kelly penned the screenplay for the action heist comedy, set in the underground hip hop world of Atlanta. Robbie Brenner, executive producer, and Kevin McKeon, supervising producer, will lead the project for Mattel Films.

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“At Mattel Films, we are looking to explore stories that bring our brands to life in unexpected ways,” Brenner said in a statement. “Uno is a game that transcends generations and cultures and we look forward to partnering with Lil Yachty, as well as with Coach, P and Brian Sher, to transform the classic game into a comedic action adventure.”

Conceived in 1971 in a barbershop in Cincinnati, Ohio, Uno was created as a way for families to spend time together, and quickly became a household staple. Five decades later, the game is now available in over 80 countries. In celebration of Uno’s 50th anniversary this year, Mattel is releasing one of the brand’s largest product lines offering new twists on gameplay, a global Uno tournament and is collaborating with a variety of names across art, fashion, sports and more.

“I played Uno as a kid and still do today, so to spin that into a movie based on the Atlanta hip hop scene I came out of is really special,” Yachty said. “It hits close to home for me.”

Uno joins other Mattel Films projects in development, including movies based on “American Girl,” “Barney,” “Magic 8 Ball,” “Major Matt Mason,” “Masters of the Universe,” “Thomas & Friends,” “View Master” and “Wishbone.”

Netflix Producing Hip-Hop Music Competition Reality Show

Spurred by the ongoing success of singing reality TV series, “The Voice,” and “American Idol” reboot, Netflix is entering the genre with a multi-city, 10-episode hip-hop competition series launching in 2019.

Rhythm + Flow” features Cardi B, Chance the Rapper, and T.I. as hosts searching for the next breakout star. The series is co-produced by John Legend.

The celebs will serve as the main judges for the competition, joining additional artists and industry VIPs to be announced.

Auditions begin this fall, including in the judges’ hometowns of Atlanta, Chicago, and New York. In each audition city, established rappers who hail from that city will serve as guest judges to help seek out the best unsigned hip-hop artists.