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MTV’S legendary “Yo! MTV Raps” launches in four new markets, reinvented for today’s global generation of hip hop fans

SINGAPORE —MTV International announced that the global youth brand greenlit local versions of its legendary hip-hop franchise “YO! MTV Raps” for Southeast Asia, UK, Germany and Africa.  

Like the original, each localized “YO!” will be a destination for current and new fans to discover the best in rap music and hip hop culture. Reinvented for the current generation of hip hop fans around the world, each international “YO!” will be anchored by two local presenters and feature regional emerging artists, in-studio and remote custom performances (YO! Originals), as well as special segments that tell unique stories and discover compelling people and trends within each local hip hop scene.

“YO! MTV Raps” UK will debut on September 25th, 2018 with the Southeast Asian, German and African launches slated to rollout into 2019.


The multi-territory “YO!” expansion follows MTV’s June livestream of the “YO! MTV Raps” 30th Anniversary Experience that brought together an epic all-star lineup of hip hop legends at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY; as well as MTV Asia’s “YO! MTV Raps” special which also aired in June featuring 11 Asian hip-hop artists from Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The top performing 5-artist Cypher* video garnered over 1.2 million video views in Southeast Asia.

Jessi’s performance on “YO! MTV Raps Special”, premiered on 19 June 2018

“Our reimagined YO! MTV Raps series will celebrate all aspects of hip hop culture and the global force it has become.  Music will of course be at the heart of each episode,” said Bruce Gillmer, global head of music and talent, Viacom and co-brand head, MTV International. “Relaunching this legendary franchise with local perspectives will give today’s generation of hip hop lovers a fresh platform to share their passion and love for hip hop all over the world.”

“It was a thrilling ride to produce the power-packed “YO! MTV Raps” special in Asia. Now, we’re really stoked to expand on that, going into a localized series for music fans in Southeast Asia. This is our take on the genre, the Asian lens into hip hop, and we want it to be vocal, passionate and original. It is exciting to take this across MTV’s platforms – TV, digital and social. With multiple fan touch points, we hope to provide a voice for Asian hip-hop culture, and a deserving spotlight to Asian hip-hop artists,” said Abhishek K Rao, Senior Director, MTV Brand, Southeast Asia.

After its debut 30 years ago on August 6, 1988, “YO! MTV Raps” became the premiere destination for all things hip hop. The advent of the series was crucial to the rise of rap music, and created a global passion for the genre and greater hip hop culture, which has since become the most dominant force in mainstream music and pop culture worldwide.

Additional detail and talent for each local series will be announced at a later date.

* A cypher or cipher is an informal gathering of rappers, beatboxers, and/or break-dancers in a circle, in order to jam musically together. 

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