Words by M.C.

Hip-Hop heads love to make claims they can’t back up. Between executives claiming mogul status after one release and rappers claiming G.O.A.T before their first freestyle, it gets pretty hard to tell the authentic from the pretend clique. But in a world where women lie and men lie while trying to be fly, Ralph McDaniels can let the numbers do the talking.

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While mainstream media dismissed Rap music as a fad, Video Music Box, the first show fully dedicated to Hip-Hop videos and culture, kicked off in 1983 on a UHF channel. “We knew there was nothing like [VMB] on TV,” says Ralph. “We just hoped people would watch this relatively unknown channel. We had no promotions just word of mouth.”

But during the days before the net, word of mouth was all it took. And after five years of V.M.B.’s “Five Minutes Of Funk” intro (courtesy of Whodini), MTV decided to hop on the bandwagon, showcasing the music they previously ignored with YO! MTV Raps in 1988. B.E.T.’s Rap City popped up in 1989.

Although celebrated in the culture, plenty feel that Uncle Ralph never got the pioneer props he deserved. “I guess we are a pioneer,” he says humbly. “But I never look at myself in that way.”

And as long as cats have calendars, he’ll never have to.


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