The Hiphop Tip
The longest-running hiphop shows on the tube ain't Yo! MTV Raps or Direct Effects. Instead, they can be found on our very own local public-access channel, SCAN. When Gordon Curvey started one of the old-school Seattle shows, Music Inner City, in December of 1990, he intended to give the people what they couldn't find on BET and MTV at the time--because, be it label politics or racism, whatever the case, you couldn't see videos from artists like Masta Ace, Main Source, or the D.O.C. on the regular unless you stayed up late. Looking back on his decade-plus in the industry, Curvey says, "The one thing I've noticed since I started doing this is the originality in music videos has disappeared. Back then, the videos actually stuck to the topic, whereas nowadays it's all about tits, ass, and riding spinners, whether it applies to the song or not." This season, MIC is on Friday afternoons at 4:00 p.m., just in time for the average slim to get out of class and watch some music videos from a local perspective. (Curvey also made a big move by landing MIC on the Home Shopping Network late Friday nights.)
Also on SCAN, The Coolout Network has two airtimes this season--Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 11:00 a.m. Like Curvey, Coolout's Georgio Brown has been doing this for a long time. While MIC has, for the most part, stuck to the same format, Coolout has definitely evolved several times, from showing music videos and covering local and national artists' performances to having a Club MTV-esque setting and branching into the electronic-music arena. Brown has been very active for quite some time in the community and has been one of the biggest supporters of local artists, helping them get seen by a million households on his show.
Every Sunday night at 6:30 p.m., also on cable access, local rapper and community activist Logic Amen and his partner Wayman Earls host a show that is hands down one of the best and most introspective shows on TV. The program is called Speak on It, and the hosts discuss life issues that those in the black community deal with on a daily basis. Since the most random people watch and call up live hiphop shows, Amen and Earls' topics can range from 50 Cent to Toni Morrison novels to the current events that youths deal with on the regular.
Speaking of the kids, though, the younger generation have definitely held their ground with the O.G. shows; Dirty Devin, DJ Scene, Khazma, and Silent Knight of Hip Hop 101 keep it going improv style, taking calls, playing classic hiphop videos, and hosting special guest performances on SCAN Thursdays at 10:00 p.m.
With the playlists at MTV and BET getting smaller and smaller, and with the diminishing chance to see videos that don't objectify women or floss Enterprise or Hertz rental cars and fake jewelry, there luckily are plenty of local resources for seeing real artists on the tube in our own community. So, as Georgio Brown would say, "Don't sleep on Seattle!"