The 30 Greatest Months in Rap History

2. August 1988

Notable Events:
- Salt-n-Pepa's A Salt With A Deadly Pepa is released on 8/2/1988 
- Yo! MTV Raps debuts on 8/6/1988
- NWA's Straight Outta Compton is released on 8/8/1988  
- EPMD's Strictly Business is released on 8/20/1988

August '88 would've been notable for Deadly Pepa and Strictly Business alone, the sophomore and debut albums from two of rap's most beloved groups. But this was the month that ruined many a parent's life in the 1990s (and beyond) for other reasons. The funny part is, the poor saps didn't even know it at the time. 

On Saturday, August 6, 1988, MTV debuted a program whose pilot became one of the most watched shows in the channel's history at that point: Yo! MTV Raps. That first episode was hosted by Run-DMC; DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince appeared as well. The first video aired was Eric B. & Rakim's "Follow the Leader." With the rappity rap now broadcast into the homes of millions of teenagers, America (and the world) would never be the same.

Run-DMC and Eric B. & Rakim were enough to strike fear in the hearts of parents in middle America (Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince probably struck fear in the hearts of parents in middle America back then), but two days later, a group that should've really scared the shit out of parents the world over released their debut album. There hadn't been anything like N.W.A. in music up to that point-at least not on the level they eventually reached. Rap had violent, misogynistic lyrics before N.W.A., they just weren't spit so gleefully. Yo! MTV Raps didn't play N.W.A. that much (how could they?). It didn't matter. Once the show hit the airwaves, it was just a matter of moving a few rows over in the "Rap" section of the record store before kids found Straight Outta Compton while looking for "Parents Just Don't Understand." At which point it was game over for said parents. -Jack Erwin

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