Reflecting on Hip-Hop and Late Night TV…

Oh man, television!

Those of you who have the internet (which is most of you as subscriptions for “Popular Opinions: Analog” are at an all time low) have undoubtably had a link to rap outfit Odd Future’s Jimmy Fallon performance in your feed on several occasions over the past 48 hours. This is a good thing as the performance was rightfully fantastic. Seriously. Anyone who disagrees should just hashtag their tweets with #getoffmylawn.

It’s the first post-YouTube Late Night talk show performance that seems to have really broken a group nationally. We all remember in 1997 when Jewel took off seemingly overnight after one performance on Conan. Now that it’s happening again to Tyler, the Creator and Odd Future, let’s take a look at other monumental, and monumentally awkward, Late Night performances.

A Tribe Called Quest f/ Leaders of the New School – “Scenario” on Arsenio

Probably rap’s most famous late night talk show performance, “Scenario” introduced the world to Busta Rhymes and his four minutes of nonstop energy onscreen was enough for Elektra to offer him a four-album solo deal the very next day.

Truth Hurts w/ Rakim – “Contagious” on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

This performance is nowhere near as monumental, but I post it to represent all the dumb Hip-Hop moments Jay Leno has caused. How many people are involved in the production of his show and NOBODY could tell him how to pronounce Rakim’s name? There was also the sheer bizarreness in 2005 of an intoxicated Lindsay Lohan opting to uncomfortably grind on Juelz Santana. The most absurd of all had to be in 2001 when Trick Daddy and the Slip-N-Slide All Stars performed “Take It to the House” as BACKED BY KC AND THE SUNSHINE BAND! That is not a joke. I am not that clever. That really happened. Good thing Leno redeemed himself by making Kanye cry years later. I love that this particular rip is from the Minnesota ABC affiliate I watched this very performance on.

Atmosphere – “Trying to Find a Balance” on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Kimmel’s show had only been on for about a year at this time and it was somewhat Hip-Hop friendly. The first week of the show he had 50 Cent as a guest and proceeded to print his lyrics out and have the other guests read them aloud. The moment I’ll always remember the show for was Atmosphere’s national television debut in Spring 2004. They’ve had other televised performances since, but this one in particular was all sorts of perfect, particularly for a 17-year-old Minnesotan.


So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

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