The 40 Biggest Hip-Hop Moments in Pop Culture History

39. Tone Loc Makes the Cover of Newsweek as the Face of Rap Rage

Date: March 19, 1990

The Moment: At the beginning of the new decade, Newsweek—then one of two magazines in every other suburban, middle-class household, along with Time—released a cover about the anger of rap music. The editors wanted to choose between two rap acts: LL Cool J, and Tone Loc. They went with Loc.

The Impact: Tone Loc didn't become much "harder" of a rapper than he already "was." The impact on Loc's career was minimal at best. The cover's effect on perceptions of rap, however, wasn't insignificant. To one segment of America, it was a sign of things to come: Rap and these rappers are scary, it screamed, so you better lock away your children. To another segment of America, it screamed: People who write newsweeklies know nothing about rap, as evidenced by their selection of Tone Loc to represent anger in rap.

The Upshot: To another, much smaller segment of America, it screamed: Wow, scaring people with rap is pretty compelling. Let's replicate it! And thus, thousands of fear-based pieces about the dangers of angry rappers were born, in a tradition that continues to this day. Meanwhile, Loc went on to have one of the most family-friendly careers in acting as a rapper has ever had, including famously being talked to by the ass of Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

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