Yo! MTV Raps was originally conceived as MTV's way of ghettoizing rap music. When the cable service was being criticized a few years ago for ignoring rap in favor of Whitesnake videos in super-heavy rotation, Yo! was hastily slapped together as a half-hour of rap vids tucked into an afternoon time slot with little chance of a long life. But it turned out that, gee, MTV's predominantly white audience was interested in the most original new pop-music genre in a decade, and strong viewer response boosted Yo! to an hour.
The weekend version of Yo!, which airs Saturdays at 10 a.m., is overseen by the program's original host, Fab Five Freddy; he's low-key and sly. The daily edition is headed up by Ed Lover and Dr. Dre they're boisterous and witty.
While MTV systematically shies away from controversial videos don't go looking for the 2 Live Crew or N.W.A. to show up with any frequency Yo! offers a good mixture of acts. You'll see feminist Queen Latifah as often as chart-buster M.C. Hammer, and many up-and-coming acts as well. B+