In the late 90s, hip-hop fans became enamored with BET’s Rap City. The show’s host, at one point, Big Tigger, brought an entertaining format of interviews, and fans got to hear their favorite rappers freestyle as well. His show, called Rap City: Tha Basement, was a staple between 1999-2005 for many.
So it’s really exciting news to hear that it will soon be on air once again. Big Tigger used Instagram to announce earlier today, September 30, that Rap City is being revamped for a 2.0 version of the show.
Big Tigger recently made a return in front of the camera after he joined up with Rapsody for the REVOLT TV video show Off The Top. The show shared a similar format to Rap City and featured special guests in-studio who would drop a few bars before answering some questions about their careers.
Big Tiger, who hasn’t seemed to age, said, “This is not a drill… This is not a throwback… #RapCity21 ??Details soon…” on Instagram alongside a photo of him sitting in a similar setting to the original show.
When Off The Top first started back in July, the first guest was Conway The Machine. At that time, Big Tigger, whose real name is Darian Morgan, spoke with HipHopDX about why he felt the need to do the show. He explained that he felt there was a void in the industry when it comes to artists’ telling their stories.
His focus for Off The Top was to give fans an opportunity to get up, close and personal in a different manner rather than just connecting with them on social media. A similar idea behind Rap City that existed in an age before social media really took hold of communication. His style of interviews focused on candid and deep conversations. The performances were a bonus for fans.
“There’s definitely a nostalgic feel to it, but it’s not just for nostalgia. That’s not why we’re doing this. We’re doing it because it’s something we were missing and we thought it was an opportunity to bring something special,” he said at that time.
His appeal as a host has remained unchanged, and there was a long, star-studded cast waiting to be interviewed on Off The Top. Some of them included NLE Choppa, Latto, G Herbo, Lil Tjay, Soulja Boy, Young Dolph, and Yung Bleu, to name a few. The other host of the show, Rapsody, maintained that the platform was for fans to connect with artists and it didn’t matter how hot they were or their lyrical skill level at the time.
She shared that she was excited to be a part of the show because it would give artists an opportunity to show their talent in a relaxed setting.
“They might make vibe music, but if they wanna come in and do some bars, they can do that, too,” Rapsody told HipHopDX. “I think it’s an opportunity to show there’s a lot of talent out here. Everybody’s talent isn’t always seen in all spaces, so it’s just another place for artists to come and show a different side of what they can bring to the microphone,” she said.
Rap City had a lot of appeal to fans because it wasn’t just about the big names in rap. A lot of the interviews were conducted with lesser-known and underground rappers. It originally premiered on the BET network in 1989 and ran until 2008. Rap City was officially cancelled in October 2008 and replaced The Deal which was also eventually cancelled.
Are you excited about the return of Rap City?