Pimp My Ride's fame cost Xzibit his rap career

Originally published at: Pimp My Ride's fame cost Xzibit his rap career | Boing Boing




I think even in the days of Beavis and Butthead MTV could still be called a music channel. Yes, they were doing some original programming. But there were still many hours of music-related programming like Headbangers Ball.

A couple of years later (in the UK) we started to get “pure” music channels on cable TV that allowed you to call a (premium rate) phone number and vote for songs to be played - that’s the direction that TV channels playing nothing but music went.

I’ve always thought that MTV’s move towards reality TV was forced by those cheap cable channels that had a more direct connection to their (paying) audience and no overheads like VJs, outdoor broadcasts or studios.

I doubt that MTV could succeed today as it was originally broadcast, simply because it’s been undercut by technological developments at least twice since those days. Feel free to be nostaligic about it, but it ain’t coming back any time soon…


Snoop Dogg has done all kinds of non-music-related projects and he still has a successful rap career.



His career is pretty ironclad. Even being a huge NFT guy hasn’t really dented his career either.


Snoop had been massively successful as a rapper long before he ventured out into other endeavors, so his “brand” was well established before diversification. Mr. Xzibit unfortunately didn’t have that under his belt before hosting PMR, and I suspect that’s why his rap career faltered.

Edited for clarity.


“Yo dawg, I heard you liked dope in your food.”

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Was his music any good?


I know I found his music pretty forgettable. But I was moving into jazz, funk and other such stuff (ironically the fault of rappers) and didn’t have much time for hip hop anymore.


I’m exactly the right age to have associated MTV with music. We got cable TV for the first time in 1980 or '81, when I was starting junior high school. But our cable lineup didn’t include MTV.

Most of my friends had it because they lived on the other side of my street. I saw a couple videos at their houses, but I’ve never seen most of the iconic videos people of my generation reminisce about. There wasn’t any cable access on my college campus, and when I got my first apartment after graduating in 1989, they had a custom cable plan that didn’t include MTV. The first time I got access to MTV was probably 1992 or '93, when they were running a “Real World” marathon.

I still love 80s music, but I’ve never associated it with music videos. I’d never heard of a show called “Pimp My Ride” nor Xzibit until I saw this article.

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I just picked up Big Boi’s last album (from 2017) and Snoop showed up on that… so… yeah.

I’m not old enough to remember the “glory days” of MTV playing music all day.

I’d have to say that was a pretty short window, though. Doesn’t anyone remember the hours of VJ filler between videos in the early stages?


I think it was most of the 80s, at least… They did have some shows, and during the early 90s, you still had a good bit of music video content, but it did not really make the full transition to more focused on reality TV until the late 90s… I didn’t have TV for a while there, so… And then at some point, they expanded to multiple channels, and MTV2 had all the videos…


Not quite.

For one the “cheap” cable channels got their money from package fees from cable providers and ads, not direct from subscribers. That’s a “premium” cable thing spearheaded by movie channels like HBO.

For another MTV was one of those cheap channels. The VJs and music videos were always immensely cheaper than creating that much content from scratch, or licensing recent films and desirable syndicated shows.

Early cable had an issue in terms of how the hell do you fill 24 hours of airtime without the back catalog or the deep pockets of a broadcast network.

MTV “solved that” by running what was basically freely available promotional content from record companies. Instead of licensing or creating hours of content, they were paying out a royalty like radio airplay. 15 or 20 minutes per hour of what was basically live studio time to frame, was dirt cheap to produce.

Once they started creating their own content. They didn’t so much move to reality TV as invent it. The Real World was literally created when a soap opera the creators pitched was too expensive for MTV to make.

Reality TV proliferates along those lines. It’s an absurdly cheap way to fill a hell of a lot of airtime.

Before my time. But from what I understand that was down to the lack of actual music videos in existence.

They were kinda an occasionally produced promo starting in the 60s. Often just pieced together from a live TV appearance. 70’s into the 80’s there were a few labels and artists making them more regularly and deliberately. And lot of those artists got heavy airplay on early MTV just because they were the only options. Apparently at one point Michael Jackson was like 20% of their play list.

But the VJ concept wasn’t just about emulating radio. It was filling that dead space. And IIRC they had to expand how much of that were doing within months of launch.

Yeah they had some non-music, non-live stuff from pretty early on. I’m working off memory but it was mostly documentary stuff, MTV News. They launched their awards show in like 84.

But their big original content push with the cartoons, The Real World etc was around 1990.



Xxibit wasn’t exactly the most prolific lyricist even in at the height of his popularity, so it’s arguable that his career was already on the down slope.

Deciding to host a cheesy show on Mtv long after they stopped playing videos certainly didn’t help it any.


Yes, this. Very few videos, and a lot of dead space.

In that era, there were some weekend programs that showed videos on the Big 3 networks in a half-hour or full-hour time slot. I distinctly remember seeing Rod Stewart’s Tonight I’m Yours (1981) on one of these programs before I saw it on MTV.


I show my age by insisting of continue to use the trope: “Yo dog, I heard you like X. So I put X in your Y so you can X while you Y.”


My fav Xzibit moment. The way he laughs when he discovers Tom Green’s talent…


I recall that in the late ‘90s it was still possible to find music videos there without too much trouble, but it may have been half other stuff by that time, true.


MuchMusic survived until 2013 under this model. Now they rebranded and don’t play much music anymore (pun intended).