Fans of the Beastie Boys will always
remember Fab Five Freddy from his reign as host of Yo! MTV
Raps. Specifically the appearances that Freddy filmed in
New York with the Beastie Boys while on location in Chinatown.
Those episodes aired on MTV following the release of Pauls
Boutique in 1989, and helped to push the album to
sales of 500,000 units. At the time selling half a million
records seemed small compared to the success of Licensed
to Ill. When a person watches those old television
clips, it becomes apparent that both Freddy and the Beastie
Boys were excited about that albums music videos.
Perhaps the coolest part of Freddys on-air time with
the Beastie Boys was when they finally located the bands
old apartment on 59 Chrystie Street. If you listen closely
during that clip, Freddy drops a few details about the wild
Fourth of July party that the Beastie Boys had thrown on
the apartments rooftop back in 1986.
Although many people consider 1986
to be old school, Freddys ties to hip-hops legends
dates back much farther. For example, Freddy was heavily
involved with the classic hip-hop culture movie the Wild
Style. Even if you have never seen it, you have surely
heard a portion of it incorporated into the opening seconds
of the Beastie Boys song "Professor Booty."
At the time movie was filmed, graffiti was still fighting
for acceptance as a viable art form. Since Fab Five Freddy
had emerged on the streets as a credible graffiti artist,
it made perfect sense to have him work alongside of Charlie
Ahearn and make the motion picture a reality. Fab Five Freddy
also appeared in the music video for Blondies 1981
crossover hit "Rapture."
Even though Freddy had already has
his share of camera time, it was not until September 17,
1988 that Fred Brathwaite would become a house-hold name.
When Yo! MTV Raps premiered it was like the cannon shot
heard around the world. Or as Freddy himself tells it, "
was a big surprise to me when I was allowed to come in and
be the face of real change as far as their (MTV) programming
was concerned. Still, (the show was) a strange and amazingly
pivotal occurrence in the story of hip-hop. Yo! MTV Raps
was not only the first nationally broadcast television show
to deal exclusively with the then developing hip hop culture
in America, but was the only MTV program that was broadcast
on MTV all around the world" (Mac interview).
During the second week of March 1999,
MTV declared it to be "Hip Hop Week" on the station.
As part of the weeks festivities, Fab Five Freddy
was asked to host the airing of the hip-hop movie "Krush
Groove." The ironic thing about this was that Fab Five
Freddy auditioned for the role of Russell
in the movie, but was passed over for the part. As you very
well may know, the Beastie Boys appear briefly in it as
do Run DMC and LL