It all started with One Video. A low budget video from a low budget group of ragtag D.C. area (Or uurrheaaa for my peoples who know what’s up!) rappers who looked like they were well into their 30′s. If you know music like I do then you knew from the second you saw it come on that, A) you were up waaaay too late, B) Obviously these guys were in some kind of time warp or regional haziness thinking that they were actually gonna pop with this and C) This was gonna be some shit!
At first, most of us didn’t know what to make of it. We now knew there may have been something entertaining on television at the UnGodly hour time slot, so it cushioned our insomnia or knack for staying up B.S,ing while we knew we should have been catching sleep and preparing for our next days. And this was usually the video that started each episode off! We knew when that stopped being the first video to play, that this show was taking off and we weren’t the only ones staying up past midnight to see gratuitous booty clapping at a time when the vixens and their inuendo-drenched scenes had just began to get trimmed down on daytime video play. I even remember seeing Nipples in this video!
It was clear that the programmers at BET network weren’t quite sure what to do with this music video vehicle and time slot. It probably originally started because they just needed somewhere to dump all of the video submissions they were constantly getting from random no-name, independent artists with lower distribution and finances. They probably were receiving plenty of complaints from them for not getting granted equal exposure to that of their counterparts with major industry backing. And I’m sure that on the flipside of that, there were a good amount of complaints from viewers of Rap City who would get angry when their good hour of Hip-Hop video watching (bad enough it had gotten scaled down from 2 hours to 1 at the turn of the century, and been flooded with a handful of corny hosts) was compromised by inbetween moments of WTF? artists. I know I used to get mad when After my dope Camp Lo, Nas or Snoop video went off, some cornball video by M.C. Never -blow-up would come on and take away 3 minutes of my life!!
However it came about, what’s more important is what it became. The growth of UnCut seemed unstoppable. You could feel it building up with each bootleg video clip from every bammafied, non-lyrical, dollar hungry perpetrator calling themselves artists. I have a theory that the wacker a rapper is, the realer they are. I know that that’s a silly notion, but something tells me if you were busy flipping weight and doing drive-bys and stick-ups, that you didn’t really have time to be paying attention in english class to know where to delicately place your metaphors and a,b,b,a patterns lined up with the alliteration and double entendre. So OJ da juiceman…I BELIEVE YOU!!!
These niggas clearly had lots of drug money to sponsor their rap star dreams. Or at least to give them the satisfaction of having their own anthem to hear in the strip club! But popularity is a mutha. The more this show became a safe haven for warm blooded, Hetero-sexual men to bond over and release their visual-cheating tendencies, the more variety came. It went from being a platform for your favorite black lipped, trapper-rapper making booty songs, to being open to anyone with an outrageous enough video. So in come in the nerds and gimmicky rappers (like The Firemen – a trio featuring former DTP affiliate, 4-Ize and Tec, from MTV fame),
the wannabes (like Won-G, a Mystikal-meets -Da Brat M.C. Hammer clone)
and the female rappers (Rasheedah, La Chat).
You know it had reached it’s height, when it became so big that the celebrities and more well known rappers began to make videos to join in the race. And with that, is exactly when we witnessed the Death of UnCut…
Guess it was just too big for it’s own good. It grew too fast. It got talked about too widespread. It’s like a member broke the code of a fraternal order. Somebody snitched on the boy’s club and it was no longer an underground meeting of the…uhmm….minds… It was too much once you had dudes’ girlfriends and female friends staying up and tuning in, dying to see what all the fuss was about, only to be disgusted with both us and the videos, but strangely intrigued at the same time. It’s the same way they treat men with Porn. The cool chics wanted to watch it with us because they would get just as much of a kick out of it, but still and all, there was no point of return once the doors had opened that wide.
Not everyone was so amused.
You can thank Nelly, Hip-Hop’s Media darling at the time for the beginning of the end. After the now infamous “Tip Drill” video, people who never even heard of the show started trying to watch to get a glimpse of the controversial Credit card swipe (re-enacted by me in the similarly infamous “Subway bus or Walking” video). It became a fascination, then a conversation, then an outrage. Boycotts ensued, including one that canceled a bone marrow drive at Spellman College that could have potentially helped save Nelly’s sister’s life. The double standard was astounding to me. These conflicted half -a -feminists Black College girls, who I’m sure were just dancing to a Luke song or Ying Yang Twins hit telling them to drop and shake, went from wanting to see a video with their favorite rapper that everyone was talking about, to wanting to see the very program that it was shown on taken off of the air! I guess things were ok when it was just the grimey looking guy from Arkansas putting up a video on there, but when it’s the same guy who was slow dancing with Kelly Rowland in the streets of the suburbs a year before, it was Unacceptable! How dare he go to a strip club and make a video about it with Real Strippers in it!! What blew my mind, was that people seemed to forget that fact – these were Strippers!! Nobody was mad at them for allowing these dudes to exploit them. It was all the rappers and BET‘s fault. I may have joined that bandwagon, had there not been such an obvious attempt made by BET to make sure that it was known that this was ADULT programming at an extremely ADULT time slot. Yeah it sucked that we only had One Major Black network at the time, and this is what these dumb-ass rappers chose to do with their time and craft, but Iam much more worried about and offended by what I hear and see during the daytime and peak hours where the younger folks are the predominant audience. I would only hope radio took as much responsibility as to put songs in content-based time slots, but nooooo! How much money would be lost if we couldn’t hear Nicki Minaj talk about licking other chics on Usher‘s single, or hear Rihanna tell some guy to “Take it” repeatedly, or whatever hot new rapper tell a chic to get drunk, high and bend over on the dancefloor. Your daughters and sons are soooo much safer with 106 & Park right??
Well, that’s how the cookie crumbles… They started moving the show to later times and making it even shorter until it eventually went away without a goodbye. I remember being on campus and seeing a girl who used to be quite promiscuous turn into the ringleader of a petition to get the program banned from BET. This was all due to some kind of spiritual rebirth she had underwent during the previous semester. I couldn’t help but think that it was her and her minions who were responsible for the demise when I saw that it was NEVER going to come back on again.
Make no mistake. This was ignorance at it’s finest. The kind of ignorance that should have never existed in the first place. But what I hated is the reasons surrounding it’s fall. They were steeped in contradiction and ridiculosity! Much like the videos accompanying the songs themselves, which ranged from dark songs about getting money, to silly sex solicitations, to almost-rape themes. It was a sad awakening that was so bad that you couldn’t do anything else but be entertained by the fact that this was not a joke. These fools were serious! The legacy is a lifetime of memories, bad visuals and horribly infectious hooks and taglines that we laughed at so many times that we actually began to like them. Word to Black Jesus!
Now here are a few of mine and your personal favorites!
And The Best song ever!!
R.I.P. Uncut, you had your time