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MTV to Relaunch ‘YO! MTV Raps’ With Fresh International Versions (EXCLUSIVE)

“YO! MTV Raps” is getting a makeover, with fresh versions of the iconic hip-hop show launching around the world. The first of the reinvented “YO! MTV Raps” will launch in the U.K. later this month; production is underway. A German version will follow next year, with African and Southeast Asian shows in 2019.

It will be the first time that the MTV International-produced series has gone local in these territories and regions. Each version of the show will have two local presenters, with talent announcements coming soon. Highlights will be repackaged for MTV’s social channels internationally. The initial runs will extend to four or five episodes for each market, with about 20 new installments expected in all and the potential for longer series orders.

“YO! MTV Raps” showcased the biggest artists in its heyday on MTV during a golden era of hip-hop. The Viacom-owned cable net has been revisiting the show in recent times, live-streaming a 30th-anniversary special from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn featuring old-school legends such as Big Daddy Kane, Boogie Down Productions and KRS-One, EPMD, and Flavor Flav. MTV Asia also ran a local special in June, with performers from around the region.

The new shows will put local and emerging artists on center stage with studio and remote performances – “YO! Originals” – and there will be segments about the scene in each country and region. The U.K. is up first, with the British show bowing Sept. 25.

“Our reimagined ‘YO! MTV Raps’ series will celebrate all aspects of hip-hop culture and the global force it has become,” said Bruce Gillmer, global head of music and talent for Viacom and co-brand head for 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.”

The executive producers include Gillmer and Jennifer Demme-Harris, the sister of Ted Demme, one of the creators of the original show 30 years ago. She will oversee talent bookings and the look and feel of the new international show.

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