YO! MTV Raps is back! The iconic hip-hop video and interview series is premiering exclusively on Paramount+ on May 24 with battle rapper Conceited and DJ Diamond Kuts at the helm.

Produced by MTV Entertainment Studios, YO! MTV Raps will be a comprehensive deep dive into the current state of hip-hop, with hosted segments, live performances, cyphers, and lifestyle content. The star-studded lineup of featured guests includes the likes of Trina, Latto, Freddy Gibbs, Saba and more.

Ahead of its premiere, Shadow and Act Unscripted spoke with Conceited and Kuts on bringing the show back and its place in hip-hop culture today. 

Conceited says the show keeps its classic elements while merging hip hop and the culture of hip-hop for the revitalized version

If you think this version of YO! MTV Raps is all music videos and interviews, think again. Conceited says it’s a true celebration of not just hip hop music, but the overall culture that continues to dominate the music industry and influence the world.

“It’s definitely more of like a hangout. We have interviews, live performances, ciphers, dance battles, and we do have a couple of people premiering their videos on the show,” he told us. “The culture now is not the same as before where you countdown videos and everybody would come to YO! MTV Raps or 106 & Park or Rap City to promote a video. Now, they just go to a phone and upload it and that’s it. Now, we’re just trying to bring that traditional feel back. We want people to run to the house, run to the couch and watch it. We want them to get the latest and greatest news, and the good thing is that we do all the homework for you. You don’t have to do anything but sit down and enjoy the show. You get the newest rappers and the newest records. And you get great performance and get to connect with them. We have a nice combo.”

Why Conceited wanted to bring the show back

YO! MTV Raps premiered on MTV in 1988 and ran for nine successful seasons. It came at a time when hip hop was becoming the dominant force in music and featured some of the most iconic legends on the platform where they may not have been welcomed elsewhere. It’s one of the reasons why Conceited felt the show should be back on the air, as there’s been an open space for something similar for many years.

“I wanted the show back because I was dying to be the host of a rap show. I was also a fan of the show from its heyday,” he said. “And I felt like there were so many reboots of iconic shows that why couldn’t the same be for YO! MTV Raps, especially when there aren’t any shows with hip hop at the center.” 

DJ Diamond Kuts is excited because the show puts a positive spotlight on hip-hop

Kuts says she missed the era of hip hop when it wasn’t so many negative influences. Within the social media and blog space, it seems that’s all the focus is on.

“One of my favorite pieces of the show is that we don’t feed into the gossip,” she explained. On social media, we see a lot of the nonsense that goes on within hip hop. But on this show, we get to the meat of it, we get to support our artists, we get to contribute to culture in a real way.” 

What this moment means for DJ Diamond Kuts as a woman in a male-dominated industry

Kuts is the first female host and DJ, of the show. She believes she was selected to bring a different flavor to the show. The Philadelphia native understands the significance of her being on the show in such a prominent role.

“There’s never been a female deejay to come out of the city and do anything like this or have done anything that I’ve done and accomplished as far as being a Philly native is concerned, so it feels good,” she said. “Even outside of the city a lot of female DJs haven’t made it to this level, and being on YO! MTV Raps is huge. It feels like a full-circle moment for me because I’ve been working so hard and I’ve been doing so many great things.”