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Fight the Power

1987 - 1992. From the dawn of political and gangsta rap through the dawn of hip hop movies to the election of Bill Clinton; In Living Color; the Beastie Boys; Hammer and Vanilla Ice; the LA riots and racial strife in America.

aired 02/25/2014 · 41:46

Yo, this is Fab 5 Freddy.

I'm here hanging out inDapper Dan's all-night Boutique

on 125th Street in Harlem.

I got Dapper right here.

One thing that Harlemwas known for

was having the neighborhoodseamstress or tailor

that would createtheir own style and fashions.

One of the known designers whenI was coming up in the '80s,

it was a guynamed Dapper Dan.

Fashion in Harlem at the timewas determined by the hustlers.

Those were the most powerfulguys on the corners--

the most powerful guysin the community.

You had to be like the guyswho was getting the most money.

I remember just growing upin the '80s,

you wasn't nothing unlessyou had a Dapper Dan suit.

(Dapper Dan)And as a result of that,

the rappers startedcoming on their own.

Because the rapperswanted to be like the hustlers.

(Combs)Dapper Dan put luxury brandson the map.

They never knewhow powerful their logos were.

(Dapper Dan)We were open 24 hours a dayfor eight years,

every single dayof the year.

We never closed.

Customers would come in withmaybe a Louis Vuitton clutch.

So I said,"You know what?

"Let me figure out howto put these logos on leather

so that they can have thejackets to match their bags."

'Cause Louiswasn't making jackets yet.

So I said, "Okay."

It just took off after that.

(Combs)He would take the aspirationalbrands of Europe and Paris

and actually redesign theminto the way

we would wear itculturally.

I don't think they wanted theirbrands to be associated

with the gangstersthat I was catering to.

I would hear they don't wantsomebody walking out,

coming out the buildingin handcuffs

with a Gucci jacket on.


(Combs)So he would take a MCM bagand cut that up

into like a goose down coat.

Or make itinto a track suit.

(Dapper Dan)The more you had on,

the more it looks likeyou're making money.

If somebody came in and theyjust got their jacket

and the hat, somebody else gonnacome and try to outdo them.

Especially the rappers.

The rappers had to haveeverything from head to toe.

I made Louis Vuitton,Gucci, Fendi.

Bulletproof vest,bulletproof coat.

They used to comein the store plain

and leavelike they was luggage.

Who's some of the peoplethat come up here,

other celebrities,and buy they clothes?

LL Cool J,the Fat Boys,

Salt-N-Pepa, and of course,Eric B and Rakim.

(Steve Stoute)I credit Dapper Dan

as the guy who tannedcouture fashion,

because Dapper took the Guccis,the MCMs, and made it so that

sports stars, hip-hop artists,and drug dealers could wear 'em,

and that spread all aroundthe world and changed the way

couture labels startedto cut their clothing.

(Andre Harrell)He really took the psycheof what we were thinking,

and he created a businessout of the attitude

of being ghetto fabulous.

And he had the armoryou needed to put on to be

in the ghetto fabulous club.

He made the uniform.

Outside of New York, everybodywanted to be like New York.

Inside New York, everybodywanted to be like Harlem.


(all)Hi, we're the Beastie Boys.

No, we'rethe Beastie Boys.

(all)The beasts of rap.

Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, yeah!

Why don't you hook upthat Def Jam right about now?

♪ 'Cause I will chill real illwhen I start... ♪

The first hip-hop artists thatI loved that was the craziest

were three white Jewish boyscalled the Beastie Boys.

I thought they werePuerto Rican, honestly,

when I first heard them.

A lot of people didbecause of their voice.

And no one could have everimagined that they

were white and Jewish.

There's a natural relationshipbetween, uh, Jewish people

and black people becauseboth are similarly viewed

as outsiders.

(Dan Charnas)Jews were very involvedin the founding

of the seminal blackcivil rights organizations.

Jews were involvedin the founding of the NAACP.

Jews were involvedin the founding

of the National Urban League.

In some cases,in the early days,

the only "white people"that even cared

about what was happeningin black culture were Jewish.

Jews were highly involvedin rhythm and blues, jazz.

By 1981, there's a waveof Jewish entrepreneurs

who entered the hip-hoprecord business,

and it includes Tom Silvermanwith Tommy Boy

and Cory Robins andSteve Plotnicki with Profile.

Russell teams up withRick Rubin to make Def Jam.

(Stoute)Now you have Russell Simmonsand Rick Rubin

going from Run-DMCto the Beastie Boys

and really moving hip-hopinto the suburbs quickly.

(Rick Rubin)The original releasesof the Beastie Boys

didn't have any pictures,

so nobody knew thatthe Beastie Boys were white.

(Stoute)They automatically,because they were white

at the timegot embraced on MTV.

Because they were white atthe time got booked in arenas.

They got instant gratificationat radio.

And they were instantlybig on college campuses.

♪ Brass monkey,that funky monkey ♪

♪ Brass monkey junky,that funky monkey ♪

(Bill Adler)1986, when "License to Ill"comes out,

you know, Kevin Lylestells the story.

He's a rapper and a DJin Baltimore.

He's playing someof the local universities,

including someof the historically

black colleges there.

He says, "If youput on 'Brass Monkey'

at a party at Morgan State,"he says,

"the place would go berserkand nobody cared--

nobody cared-- thatthe Beastie Boys were white."

I don't know, things for rapare just improving

and just getting better.

So here's how Russelland Rick did it.

Run-DMCwould go out on tour,

and they'd use thatRun-DMC tour

to introduce Run-DMC'saudience to a new artist

like LL Cool J, and theneventually the Beastie Boys.

Then the Beastie Boysgo out on tour,

and who doesthis white rap group

introduce to their mostly whiteaudience?

♪ Fight the power ♪

♪ Fight the power ♪

(newscaster)Rap's most talked about groupis Public Enemy.

Its leader is Carlton Ridenhour,known as Chuck D.

(Chuck D)Rap is a reflectionof black society,

and it's a point of view like,"This is what we see.

"This is what's going on in ourneighborhoods and our areas.

"I-- this is the frustrationsI feel.

This is how maybeI want to fix it."

(newscaster)Public Enemy's breakthroughwas adding politics

to what had beensimply party music.

(Nas)You go from listeningto the Fat Boys and Whodini,

Run-DMC and Cool J,to Public Enemy

that's rockingwith us, but addressing

the realities of the streetswe're living in.

Black peopleas a nation is asleep.

It's time for the alarm clockto go off.

Public Enemy isan alarm clock rap group.

♪ Here it is,bam, in your face ♪

(Stoute)Crack in the early '80s

was decimating neighborhoodsin America.

Hip-hop was the first mediumto really pay attention

and speak specificallyabout the crack epidemic.

(Adler)Our Def Jam officeby the summer of 1986

was on Elizabeth Street,

and so there was an empty lotacross from our building.

I'd come in in the morningand it would be, uh...

the lot would be filledwith these little glass vials,

these empty glass vials.

It was very influentialto Chuck,

and that inspired him to write"Night of the Living Baseheads."

♪ Bass bass bass bass ♪

Gangsta rap is a direct resultof the crack infestation,

especially when you getout to a place like LA,

where the gang culturewas already there.

There was alreadythe Bloods-Crips thing.

So if you're a storytellerand you're looking for stories,

then you're gonna tell storiesabout the gangsters you know.

You are nowabout to witness

the strengthof street knowledge.


We wanted to make musicthat represented us

and where we came fromand the way of life

that we grew up knowing.

♪ Straight outta Compton,here's the crazy brother ♪

♪ Named Ice Cube from the stupiddope gang with a attitude ♪

NWA was a game-changer.

(Jonathan Shecter)They were telling storiesof stuff

I didn't reallyknow much about.

Violence and shootingsand rapes and, I mean,

all kinds of crazy stuff.

The first time I heard NWA wasactually in a white kid's house.

And it was a little, um...uncomfortable.

I think peopletrust hip-hop the most,

because most hip-hop artistscome from nothing,

so they got nothingto lose, so why lie to you?

They're gonna tell you the truthwhen everybody else ain't.

(Dr. Dre)"(Bleep) The Police"was inspired

by being harassed by cops.

Me and Eazy wereharassed by the police.

We were laid down on the 405freeway with guns to our head

because of what they thoughtwe had in the car.

So we left that sceneand went right to the studio.

Been snatched out of my car,guns to my head,

on the freeway laid down.

A little of everything.

I mean, that's whywe did the song.

'Cause a lot of peopleare scared to say it.

So we wasn'tscared to say it.

(Dr. Dre)Well, the first time I realized

how big the music wasthat we were doing

was on an NWA tour.

We actually looked outin the audience,

and it was predominantly white,and it shocked us.

That, I would have to say,was a big moment for us,

and that's when we reallyunderstood that we were

reaching out and we werebranching off into something

that we didn'teven understand.

We gave them a safe glimpseof the hood.

The kids from the suburbshad a chance to take that trip,

so to speak.

(siren blaring)

♪ That's the way it goesin the city of Compton, boy ♪♪

(Shecter)When I got to Harvard, one ofthe first things I did

was go downto the radio station.

Harvard has a very traditional,probably the most traditional,

college radio stationin the country.

The formatwas classical music.

I started pitchingreally hard

the idea of doinga rap radio show.

Two hours, once a week.

Around this time, I met a guywho was also a freshman.

I remember the daythat he knocked on my door.

He was wearing a FILA sweatsuit, and he had a moustache.

He introduced himself.

He was-- it was Dave Mays.

He had heard meplaying rap music,

and he was curious like,

who I was and how did Iknow about this?

It wasn't long beforeDave and I basically

took controlof this rap show.

We would get a hugeamount of calls.

I mean, the phoneswould go off the hook

every timewe got on the air,

and Dave started taking downthe names and addresses

of every caller, and I thoughtit was a strange thing.

I didn't actuallyunderstand it at first.

I thought it was a hugewaste of time.

Before you knew it,we had a few hundred,

then a few thousand,and that became the beginning

of "The Source" magazine.

He put together the firstone-page edition of "The Source"

is the summer of 1988.

So now we're in primetimeof what I consider

the greatestera of hip-hop.

The creativity is flowing.

You have KRS-One, Rakim,Big Daddy Kane, EPMD,

all these incredible artists,

and no one is reallytalking about them.

The only magazines catering tohip-hop consumers at that time

were "Right On!"and "Black Beat,"

and both of themwere Salt-N-Pepa,

Heavy D up in the limousine,as Biggie put it so eloquently.

So there wasn't anything therefor, we could say,

the intelligent rap fanor even just the real rap fan.

I did an interviewfor "The Source" magazine

when it was just a coupleof pages.

For us back then,it was like the thing to do,

to see how many mics we can getin "The Source" magazine.

That was an important thingto us back then.

(newscaster)Rap is the music.

Hip-hop is a way of life.

And it's been dominatingthe music scene,

and the top-selling musicmagazine on the newsstand

is "The Source."

Though it has a smallsubscription rate,

on the newsstands,"The Source" outsells "Vibe,"

"Spin," even the veteran"Rolling Stone."

The magazine is now a$10 million-a-year publication.

You have two white Jewish kidswho at Harvard University

started a newsletterbased on hip-hop music.

And they didn't do thisto make any money.

This was about two white kidswho grew up loving the art form,

loving the lyrics, lovingthe style and the culture

surrounding this music.

(Dr. Dre)I understood that hip-hopwas moving into film

at an early agewith the movie "Wild Style,"

um, "Krush Groove."

Yo, man, where'sRussell at, man?

He's over at the Fever,judging that contest, you know.

Yo, man, did you knowhe turned down a big contract

from Galaxy Records?

Galaxy Records?What?

(Stoute)As you go later in the '80s,

you start seeing morefilmmaking, better storytelling.

As you go into the '90s,you start seeing a whole new era

of filmmaking that encapsulatedthe culture.

♪ Colors, colors, colors ♪

♪ Colors, colors,colors, colors ♪

You look at Dennis Hopper and,you know,

you look at "Easy Rider,"and you realize

that this guy was alwaysabout capturing counterculture.

(Dennis Hopper)I think if peoplelive in Beverly Hills,

and they live in Westwood,and they live in Malibu,

basically white communities,

and they don't knowwhat's happening downtown

in their inner cities,they should be informed.

Enter Spike Lee, and he shoots"She's Gotta Have It,"

and then "Do the Right Thing,"

and then it justopened up the door.

It's not Walt Disney,and it's not "ET."

Okay, now who's yourfavorite basketball player?

Magic Johnson.

Who's your favoritemovie star?

Eddie Murphy.

Pino, all youever talk about

is, "Nigger thisand nigger that."

And all your favorite peopleare so-called niggers.

It's different--Magic, Eddie, Prince...

are not niggers.

(Dan Charnas)After the successof Spike Lee

and with the riseof hip-hop culture,

um, Hollywoodbegan deputizing

certain young black directorsas the new auteurs.

They started telling a storythat was much different

than the "They call meMr. Tibbs" generation.

It was a northern, urban,more hard life

kind of industrykind of story.

♪ Money, money ♪

(announcer)On the streets,

there's a fine linebetween wrong and right,

good and bad.

Everybody'sjumping up and down

because we got a coupledirectors now--

black directors--making films

with some black folksin them.

But you know how many films thatare made a year in Hollywood?

I think something like 500--I don't know the number.

Out of that, for 16 of themto be by black directors

and that to be unusualis really pretty pathetic.

Mario's fatherwas Melvin,

the godfatherof blaxploitation movies.

What the (bleep) youlooking at, nigger?

Hold up.

What, we got a problem here?

Can we have one nightwhere there ain't no fight

and nobody gets shot?

(John Singleton)Regardless of how you feelabout the characters,

you know that thesecharacters are real.

And, you know, Steven Spielbergdoes that for the kids

in the suburbs,but nobody does that

for people growing upin the hood.

In the category ofBest Achievement in Directing--

"Boyz in the Hood,"John Singleton.

(cheers and applause)

(newscaster)An impressive debut filmfor John Singleton.

He made "Boyz in the Hood"when he was 22 and Oscar history

as the youngest person evernominated as Best Director,

an honor that previouslybelonged to Orson Welles.

(Stoute)That was the first timean African-American

had ever gottenthat nomination.

And these movies areperforming at the box office,

and you have suburban audiencesgetting a chance to see

the African-Americanexperience.

These are breakthrough momentsin tanning

because it's gettingcritical acclaim

and people are respectingthe art form

and understandingthe storytelling.

Something wrong?Something wrong?Yeah.


It's just too badyou don't know what it is.


All right,let's do this, dude.

♪ I'm DJ Jazzy Jeff ♪

♪ And, yo,I'm the Prince ♪

♪ And I'mReady Rock C ♪

Hold up, bust this.♪ We wanna let everybody ♪

♪ Know where it's at,it's right here ♪

(all)♪ Yo, "MTV Raps." ♪

♪ Da da ♪


Turn it up!

(Ralph McDaniels)I approached MTV in 1986

and asked themif they would be

interested in doinga hip-hop show.

MTV was like,"Ralph, middle America

is not ready for hip-hop."

And I was like, "This is 1986.

"I was at the Fresh Fest.There's white people there.

"Run-DMC is hot right now.

What do you mean middleAmerica's not ready for it?"

He says, "No, but it can'tbe on the television set yet.

It's too early.It's not time for that yet."

I totally did not agreewith him.

I was like, "There's no way--you're wrong."

People were hungry for hip-hop.

People wanted to hearthis music and, you know,

you can only stifle somethingfor so long.

And then in 1987 is when theystarted "Yo! MTV Raps."

This is Run-DMC.Welcome to "Yo! MTV Raps."

I was also kind of a hip-hop fangrowing up in New York,

and just thoughtthere was a lack of

hip-hop music on the channel,and obviously, back then,

there was just a lackof black music on the channel.

And it aired in August of '88,and it just took off.

It was amazing.

Yo, this is Dr. Dreon "Yo! MTV Raps."

Come with us.

What's up, this is KRS-One

of the mightyBoogie Down Productions

on "Yo! MTV Raps."

The parents didn't knowwhat was going on.

They just figuredthey were watching MTV.

Meanwhile, they were gettingtheir daily dosage

of hip-hop culture.

"Yo! MTV Raps."

So "Yo! MTV Raps" becamethe single most impactful way

for millions of peopleto connect with this thing

that had only existedin the streets in New York.

If rap music wasn'tone of the top 15

music business storiesof 1989, I don't know,

I'll jump the (bleep) offthe top of this building.

Rap music had been a prettysignificant force in pop music

for, you know,half a dozen years.

And the Grammysfinally caught up to it,

and the first nominees wereJazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince,

LL Cool J, JJ Fad,Salt-N-Pepa, and Kool Moe Dee.

We thought that was excitingexcept for the fact

that they did not planto televise that award.

And that struck usas unacceptable,

and so we decidedwe would boycott,

and we called a press conferencein Los Angeles

on the day of the broadcast,

and we managed to embarrassthe Grammys.

Grammys acknowledged heavy metaland rap this year.

All right?

The heavy metal is beingtelevised and rap is not.

We hada "Boycott the Grammy" party,

and it turned to be the party that year.

It was crazy.

This is Fab 5 Freddy

at our specialLA get-down edition.

This is Eazy-E and NWAon "Yo! MTV Raps."

MC Dennis Hopper.

"Yo! MTV Raps."

The winners of the firstrap Grammy award--

DJ Jazzy Jeff, my man,the Fresh Prince.

I want to congratulate y'all'cause that's incredible.

Do you think rap musichas a good future to invest in,

I mean, if you had to advise--

Well, look at the crowdit's got.

You know?

These guys don'tneed investment,

they are the investment.All right.

And you better believe thatthe next year, uh, hip-hop,

that hip-hop awardwas televised.

Tanning in television startedlate '60s, early '70s

with Bill Cosby in "I Spy,"

and then Norman Lear justtook it to a whole nother level

with Archie Bunkerand "Sanford and Son,"

and then you got"The Jeffersons"

and "Good Times."

And by the time you getto the late '80s,

early '90s, hip-hop itselfis affecting all of television.

(announcer)Arsenio Hall!

(cheers and applause)

(newscaster)Arsenio Hall has been dubbed

the Prince of Late Night.

And with his outrageous outfits,buzz-topped hair,

and get-busy attitude,he woke up late night.

Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof--"Arsenio Hall Show"

helped put hip-hopon a bigger global scale.

Brandon Tartikoff,

the new headof Paramount Studios,

is keeping one of hisbiggest stars waiting.

Make me wait.Don't wear a jacket.

If I was a white man,I bet he'd have on

a new suit,and he'd be on time!

There are a lotof white people

that would not goto a black person's house,

would not go to a black party.

Maybe here'san invitation.

(Stoute)What Arsenio didto late night television

is he really shook it up.

He brought hip-hop artistsand culture

that was not necessarily gettinglate-night television exposure

and putting themon air.

She's making hernational television debut.

Her single is called"Vision of Love."

This is Mariah Carey.

Give it up, y'all.

♪ Prayed through the night ♪

♪ Felt so alone ♪

The biggest point in my lifewas Arsenio Hall

allowing meto be on his show.

Oh, Arsenio Hallwas a big deal, man.

It was like, we would goin the studio and make records,

and you know, if it came outgood, we would say,

"Okay, man, this is gonnaget us on 'Arsenio.'"

(cheers and applause)

Ah, boy!

(dogs woofing)Yes!

Oh, that's my Dog Poundright there!


♪ Do what you wanna do ♪

♪ In living color ♪

(newscaster)It's a windowon black America

with a view you don't seeon "The Cosby Show."

♪ What you wanna do ♪

(Stoute)What "Saturday Night Live" did

was they would always haveone black member on its cast

that was funny--like, so, you know,

Eddie Murphy was a breakout starand Chris Rock was there.

What "In Living Color" didwas something else.

It inverted the whole model.

They had all African-Americansand Jim Carrey.

At age 32,Keenan Ivory Wayans

is not only the starof the show,

but he also writes and isthe executive producer,

making him the only blackin network television history

to wear the three hats.

This is more celebration ofculture and exchange, you know,

us sort of opening the doorsand allowing America

to come on insideand see us in a light

that they haven't reallyexperienced before.

Yo, yo, yo, all you badbargain hunters out there.

Welcome to...

(both)The Homeboy Shopping Network!

(Stoute)So you got this sketch comedy,but then at the end,

you had a hip-hop artistthat you love

performingat the end of the show.

♪ Fight the power ♪

♪ We got to fight the powersthat be ♪

♪ And it's phat,watch the sniper ♪

♪ Time to pay the piper ♪

♪ Come on, go 'head,go 'head, go 'head ♪

(Stoute)And the dancers wereunbelievable-- the Fly Girls.

And they were doinghip-hop dancing.

(newscaster)Well, according to Fox,the audience is about as diverse

as the targetsthey satirize.

It's male/female,it's black and white.

It's ages 14 to 44,which is precisely the kind

of young melting pot audiencesthe networks are looking for.

It was a breakthroughfor television,

and it actuallyput Fox television on the map

because it was one of thoseearly shows that Fox had

that made Fox televisionwhat Fox is today.

(Fab 5 Freddy)Everybody in every living room

from coast to coast

gets to see all these differentflavors of black life.

♪ You know, parentsall the same ♪

♪ No matter time nor place,they don't understand... ♪

Will Smith is one of youraverage rappers.

He's known as the Fresh Princein the 1980s.

And what happens is Will Smithends up getting cast

in this series"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

(Stoute)Will Smith, with"The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,"

became the first hip-hop artistto ever star

in a primetime televisionseries.

♪ And I'd like to take a minute,just sit right there ♪

♪ I'll tell you how I becamethe prince of a town ♪

♪ Called Bel-Air ♪

Steve, David, Henry.

This is Will,my nephew by marriage.

(audience laughing)

(Charnas)In some ways, the Banks familyin "The Fresh Prince"

is kind of the sameas the Huxtables,

except you havethis other guy coming in.

So it's like "The Cosby Show"is not gonna deal

with that other guy.

But "The Fresh Prince" finallylets him in the door.

Will, you've been askedbasically to translate

the hip-hop cultureto mainstream America.

What's that entailas you see it?

That's not exactly whatI've been asked to do.

This is an endeavor I'mtaking on totally as an actor,

and it just so happens thatthe character that I'm playing

is steepedin the hip-hop culture.

(Stoute)The theme music on that showwas hip-hop.

And he wore the clothes,non-stop.

And he wouldbring on guests.

Heavy D, Jazzy Jeff,Latifah.

And then Latifah got a show.

He kept bringing themon the show.

That was so important becauseyou wouldn't see these people

on primetime television.

The same generationthat supported and bought

Public Enemy--all those white kids--

they went ahead and theywatched "Fresh Prince".

(Stoute)That's when you started seeingreal momentum

with mainstream televisionbeing immersed in hip-hop

because of the successof "Fresh Prince."

So what Bill Cosby started,Will Smith put on steroids.

We were crossing over--hip-hop was crossing over.

The music, the culture,the lifestyle, the people,

they were speakingto broader audiences.

Hip-hop was actuallybecoming pop.

And it was justbecoming popular culture.

♪ Looked at my kingdom,I was finally there ♪

♪ To sit on my throneas the prince of Bel-Air ♪♪

more than five million copies,

and it's only the thirdrap album in history

to top the pop charts.

♪ Can't touch this,fresh new kicks ♪

♪ Advance,you gotta like that ♪

♪ Now you know you wanna dance,so move outta your seat ♪

♪ And get a fly girland catch this beat ♪

♪ While it's rollin' ♪

(Stoute)MC Hammer really did a lotfor hip-hop.

To spreadthe art form global,

you needed guys who were"user friendly."


♪ You can't touch this ♪

♪ Oh, oh, oh ♪

♪ Oh-oh, oh ♪

♪ You can't touch this ♪

(Shecter)I remember beinga Harvard undergrad

and seeing that videoof MC Hammer

and being at onceblown away by his dancing

and disgusted by how badthe music was.

And I actuallyremember listening

to Hammer's first album,

and I was like, "This is okay.

It's way too poppy for mytastes, but I don't hate on it."

And then the second album,it was like, "This is horrible.

This isn't real hip-hop."

♪ My, my, my, my pantsso baggy when I move ♪

♪ It ain't hard, make youwanna say, Oh, my Lord ♪

♪ Hey, Hammer, do youreally have a weenie ♪

♪ With pants like thatyou look like a genie ♪

MC Hammer... you know,whether you like it or not,

is a pioneer.

(Stoute)Whether the core hip-hop fansdidn't like him or not,

they didn't likeWill Smith either.

They didn't like Kid N Play.

And they got "House Party."

But those guys were very,very important

in helping pushthe culture forward.

And the culture neededguys like that

to get intopeople's living rooms.

And then soon after,we meet the illustrious

Robert Van Winkle.

Professionally knownas Vanilla Ice.

♪ All right, stop,collaborate and listen ♪

♪ Ice is back withmy brand-new invention ♪

♪ Something grabs a holdof me tightly ♪

♪ Flow like a harpoondaily and nightly ♪

(Shecter)My reaction was very similar.

"This guy's a terriblerapper.

There's no way that thisis going to be popular."

And, sure enough,I was wrong once again.

The song was even biggerthan Hammer.

I mean, it waslike a phenomenon.

(Charnas)He was very successful,

and he had the first rap single

to go to number oneon the pop charts.

I think that he generatedsome backlash,

not necessarilybecause he was white,

but because, in fact,he wasn't cool.

He was not cool as ice,vanilla or otherwise.

He just happenedto be square as hell.

I'm not saying a word.

He did his thing.

Sold a lot of records.

And I respect him.


It's racial--it has a lot to do with that.

You know, the factthat I'm white

and I'm sellingmore records than them,

and they're the oneswho originated the,

you know, the formof music.

Blacks originated,you know, rap music.

There's no doubt about it.

(Shecter)The positive lessonsthat were learned

from the Vanilla Iceand Hammer experience

was that hip-hop actually wasbigger than we thought it was.

It could bemainstream pop music.

And eventually, it wouldreach there on its own terms.

Initially, it tookthese cheesier songs

to break throughthose barriers,

but I think that,in the big picture,

it opened the door for somereal good quality artists

to reach that plateau.

♪ Yo, man, let'sget out of here ♪

♪ Word to your mother ♪

♪ Ice ice baby, too cold ♪♪

Music has power,all right.

The advertising industryis betting rap music

has selling power.

As a result of all the successwith African-American culture

penetrating the box officeand getting on radio, and now,

there's like,tanning on television,

Madison Avenuegets involved.


♪ My name you know is C-3P0 ♪

♪ Rapping 'bout spacethe new place to go ♪

A rapping rhino?

♪ M-M-My name is DJ Rhino ♪

♪ I've been lookin'left and right ♪

Pillsbury crescent rolls!

♪ Just wrap a wienerfilled with cheese ♪

♪ Bake it up,it's sure to please ♪

(Young)I think one of my earliestmemories of music

and the impact of that musicwas watching a commercial.

Probablysomething like cereal.

♪ Kids, of course,they pick what they like ♪

♪ They eat it in the morningand they'll eat it at night ♪

And you know, there was ahip-hop song as the music bed.

And it was like, "Wow, theyare really using this genre

to sell everything."

I mean, there's a pointwhere everybody was rapping.

I mean, I would turn on the TV

and see a commercialfor breakfast cereal

and the cartoon Barney Rubbleor Fred Flintstone

were rappingto each other.

Who are you?

♪ I'm the master rapperand I'm here to say ♪

♪ I love Fruity Pebblesin a major way ♪

All of us were sort ofdiscovering this new genre

and taking itto painful extremes.

The fact that therewas an attempt at it

just proved that it wasa viable art form

that could connect withconsumers and sell products.

Yo, Mars Blackman here withmy main man Michael Jordan.

Yo, Mike, what makes youthe best player in the universe?

Is it the vicious dunks?

(Jordan)No, Mars.

Is it the haircut?

No, Mars.

Is it the shoes?

No, Mars.

(newscaster)Nike has paired

basketball star Michael Jordan

with filmmaker Spike Lee--

commercialsfor the MTV generation.

(Stoute)The look and feelof those commercials,

the way Spike Lee depictedthe Mars Blackman character,

it was completely driven froma hip-hop kid from Brooklyn

who was kind of nerdyand was a sneaker head

and loved Michael Jordan.

In the beginning, whenthey made Air Jordans,

Nike wasn't reallythe predominant sneaker.

(Stoute)That was where African-Americanslooked at him as like,

"Man, I wanna getthose sneakers immediately."

And you look at brand Jordanto this day,

and it was all driven bythe fact that they started off

doing these commercialsthat were deeply seated

in hip-hop insight.

♪ I dream I move ♪

♪ I move ♪

♪ I dream I groove ♪

♪ Like Mike ♪

♪ That I could be like Mike ♪

♪ Oh, if I couldbe like Mike ♪

(Toure)The moment when you havea Michael Jordan ad,

where lots of littlewhite kids are saying,

"I wanna be like Mike,"

that is an extraordinarywatershed moment.

I don't think thatthat was happening before.

(Stoute)Sports, the arts,music, you know,

you have figures who arealways going to transcend color

and be a part of peopleseeing them for what they are,

not necessarily becauseof their color.

And Michael Jordanbecame a hero,

no matter what raceor creed you were.

♪ Be like Mike,if I could be like Mike ♪♪

Hate on earth.

That's how "The New YorkDaily News" described

a savage racial attackin New York City last weekend.

23-year-old Michael Griffith,

a Trinidad-bornconstruction worker,

was struck by a car and killed

while running awayfrom his attackers.

Howard Beach.

Young black man killed forbeing in the wrong neighborhood.

This is not Selma, 1950.

This is New York,and black kids

are still beingran over parkways.

New York in the '80s,there had been a number

of high-profile incidents.

(Adler)Wasn't gonna be a steadymarch to "Kumbaya."

You know, there weregonna be setbacks.

(newscaster)30 white youths allegedchased a 16-year-old black youth

with baseball bats and a gun,then shot and killed him.

Young 16-year-old Yusuf Hawkinsheaded out to Coney Island,

got off the trainat the wrong stop,

went in the neighborhood,

and was killed for beingin the neighborhood.

They didn't allow blacksin that neighborhood.

♪ First nothing worsethan the mother's pain ♪

♪ Of a son slainin Bensonhurst ♪

♪ Can't wait for the stateto decide the fate

♪ So this jamI dedicate to places ♪

(women, shouting)Go home!

(woman)Niggers, go home!

Tell them to go home!

Back to East New York,where they came from!

(Clinkscales)You had Mayor Kochtrying to hold down things.

You had Spike Leemaking movies.

Reverend Sharpton was stillwearing sweat suits at the time.

It was a incendiary pile,

and through all thiswas a soundtrack,

and that soundtrackwas hip-hop.

♪ Controlling,fear of high rolling ♪

♪ God bless your souland keep living ♪

And it kind of culminatesin the horrible

Central Park jogger story.

(newscaster)It is the ages of the accused--

14 to 17 years old--

and the horror of their allegedcrimes that has caused a furor.

A white woman joggingin New York Central Park

last Wednesday night rapedand nearly beaten to death.

The New Yorkpolice department went out

and just arrested arbitrarilyyoung black men from Harlem

that had been in the parkor near the park that day.

The police say the suspectsdescribed their crime spree

as 'wilding,' a street term

investigators say theyhave never heard before.

(Sharpton)There were some policemen thatheard the young innocent men

talking about the "Wild Thing,"the song.


♪ Wild thing ♪

(Sharpton)And "wilding" came out of that.

They had the police or whateversay, hey, it's wild--

all they know is they wassaying, "Wild thing."

You know, this just shows you

that there's two differentcultures at work here

and there's frictionand there's conflict

because there'sa misunderstanding

of the two cultures.

They weren't wilding,they were talking about a song!

But "wilding" becamethis new criminal act

that every criminologist now,"You better study wilding."

The term "wilding" it seems nowreally might have been

a misunderstood useof the kids saying,

"Going to dothe wild thing."

(Walsh)Those boys were railroadedbecause the city needed to have

this story be tolda certain way.

(Nas)It makes you think, like,

"How is this goingto be resolved?

"Does anybody in politicsknow how to deal with

our communities, know how todeal with the racial tension?"

Yo, what's up?We got my man Eazy-E here.

My name is Dr. Drefrom the world's

most dangerous group, NWA.

(newscaster)The group's name itselfis controversial.

Niggers With Attitude,known as NWA,

has taunted law enforcementwith its lyrics

urging violenceagainst police.

(Fab 5 Freddy)I mean, I don't knowhow many groups

have receivedletters from the FBI

to basically stop making musicbecause it's too intense.

When we got the letterfrom the Feds for the song

"(Bleep) The Police," um...

it wasn't scaryto us at all.

At the time, the only thingwe thought was promotion.

And we needed all the promotionwe could get at that time

because our records weren'tbeing played on the radio,

our videos were banned.

I remember Eazy actuallywanted to call the agent

that sent this letter andthank him for doing this for us.

These guys are not onlymaking great music,

and they were not onlyleading the "Billboard" charts,

but they were makingthe kind of statements

that were changing the waypeople see

government interactionwith these communities.

Like, "Nikki (bleep)with a magazine."

"Just another (bleep)."

"Slide down my kneesand take my (bleep)."

And the latest controversyinvolves

sexual and violent lyrics.

A number of parents groupswant warning labels on records.

We now proposeone generic warning label

to inform consumersin the marketplace

about lyric content.

I think NWA is the reasonfor this sticker.

(chuckles)The Explicit sticker.

You know?That didn't exist before us.

Here's the-- some of the lyricson killer cop-- "Cop Killer."

♪ I got my brain on hype ♪

♪ Tonight'll be your night ♪

♪ Die, die, die, pig, die ♪

♪ (bleep) the police ♪

♪ I knowyour family's grievin' ♪

♪ (bleep) 'em ♪

Catchy little number,isn't it?

You know why?

We got a "Cop Killer"!

(crowd chanting)Time Warner's got to go!

(newscaster)Texas policewho started the controversy

over "Cop Killer"joined other police groups

in Beverly Hills.

They urged the shareholdersof Time Warner

to pull the albummade by Ice-T.

The effect?

Sales of his albumhave tripled in Houston,

doubled in threeother cities.

"Cop Killer" song, first off,was a protest record.

It was a record that was aboutpeople being angry at the way

police were treating peoplein Los Angeles.

And you'veseen it on the news.

(newscaster)It began as a high-speed chase,

according to the Californiahighway patrol,

and ended early Sunday morningwith the motorist,

a black male,being brutally beaten

and kicked by Los Angelespolice officers.

The motorist,identified as Rodney King,

was left on the ground until hewas picked up by an ambulance.

(Dr. Dre)It's finally on tape.

America is finally seeingwhat's really happening.

It felt like,"Yeah, we are right.

Now you guys can seewhat we were talking about."

No, it ain't nothing new,but everybody, like,

in the white community is like,(gasps), you know?

They never sawnothing like that, you know.

They was whooping himlike somebody on "Roots."

For the majorityof the country,

that was proof that maybethere is something to this.

Maybe there is an atmosphereof horrible brutality

and just injustice.

That secret up until now, thatit was up to these guys like NWA

and Ice-T to kind ofbring that to the surface,

and it turns out thatthey were right.

See, a lot of peopledidn't understand

what we was talking about,and they didn't like the song.

But now, they understand.

We the jury in the aboveentitled action

find the defendant not guiltyof the crime of officer

unnecessarily assaultingor beating any person.

♪ The police coming straightfrom the underground ♪

(Sharpton)So here you are

in a court of lawin the land of the free

and the home of the brave,and a jury says,

"I'm not goingto believe my lying eyes."

That's when I think a lotof Americans woke up and say,

"I don't know if I agreewith how crass rap is,

I don't know if I likethe way they present it,

but I can't dismiss it."

♪ Looking for the product ♪

♪ Thinking every (garbled)is selling narcotics ♪

♪ You rathersee me in the pen ♪

(Tom Brokaw)The final episode of"The Cosby Show"

aired tonightin Los Angeles.

For eight years, the programheld up an ideal of a happy,

successful,black American family.

The finale was almostnot shown in Los Angeles

because of today's violence,

but, after an appealfrom Mayor Bradley,

the show went on,and tonight,

Bill Cosby had these wordsfor the people of Los Angeles

and for the country.

Let us all pray for a bettertomorrow, which starts today.

Those events went onto kind of reinforce

a lot of the themes thatwere going on in the music

and, you know,for broader American media

and for white America,it was a wake-up call.

♪ Cops dying in LA ♪

♪ Yo, Dre,I got something to say ♪

♪ (...) the police ♪♪

(cheers and applause)


Bill Clinton was two things--

the first baby boomer president

and the first black president.

Bill Clintonwas extraordinary

and was the first one to reallyembrace popular culture

as a way to sell himselfas a candidate.

I don't knowif I said this yet,

but I'm gladyou're here.

Um, it's a pleasurehaving him sitting

with the posse and play sax.

It's good to seea Democrat

blowing somethingother than the election.

And, um...

(cheers and applause)

Comfortable with some ribs,comfortable with Arsenio,

playing the saxophone.

I mean, like, he wasjust dipping his toes

into black culture.

That allowed us to say, like,

"Wow, like, here's somebodywho's not sort of like,

actively (bleep)on black people."

(Stoute)Just his understandingof what the plight was

for minorities in Americawas a breath of fresh air

coming outof the Reagan era.

(Toure)He changed the gamebecause, after that,

you had to make a stopat Leno or Letterman or MTV

or one of these sort of placesto just be fully in the game.

MTV had a lot to dowith the Clinton-Gore victory.

One of the thingsI am proudest of

is that so many younger votersturned out in record numbers

and put us in,and I thank you for that.

♪ '93, you and me, unity ♪

♪ Time to partywith big Bill and Hilary ♪

(Charnas)Well, the election ofBill Clinton was, in many ways,

a harbingerof things to come.

The hip-hop generationwas gaining in numbers.

(man)The Nobel Prize-winningAfrican-American author

Toni Morrison famouslyobserved about Bill Clinton,

"This is our firstblack president.

"Blacker than any actual blackperson who could ever be elected

in our children'slifetime."

But I think the unexpressedpart there is,

"We wish that one day we wouldhave a black president,

"and we don't, and I don'tknow if we ever will,

so let's embrace this one."

(Charnas)But the real pointis that Bill Clinton,

he's the first presidentof the hip-hop generation.