The 40 Biggest Hip-Hop Moments in Pop Culture History

30. Theo Huxtable Raps on The Cosby Show

Date: October 22, 1987

The Moment: By 1987, The Cosby Show had become one of the most successful television sitcoms in history, and handily the most successful sitcom with a predominantly African-American cast. Yet, the Cosby kids seemed to stay frozen in time, and run slightly awry of what actual kids their age were doing and saying. Those actual kids had their attention taken from them that Fall, though, when, during the fifth episode of the fourth season of "Cosby," Theo Huxtable and his friend Cockroach wrote a rap for a school assignment concerning the matter of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

The Impact: In a show in which Bill Cosby had specifically avoided the (his words) "jive" parlance of the country's African-American youth, the sight of one of America's most famous teenagers rapping in their living rooms was a benchmark moment for kids and parents, further evidence to the entire country that rap wasn't just a passing fad in a small segment of the culture, but something that would be coming to all families, everywhere.

The Upshot: Theo set the foundation for characters like the Fresh Prince to arrive, but The Cosby Show remained generally conservative when it came to addressing hip-hop culture head-on for the rest of its run, which amounted to five more years, and totaled six seasons (or 202 episodes), and is generally considered one of the greatest family sitcoms of all time. Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who played Theo, has kept up with acting (and yes, in the '90s, dabbled in a brief music career that didn't exactly pop off).

blog comments powered by Disqus