Video Vault: 7 Classic Yo! MTV Raps “Live Fridays” Performances

Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)

A couple weeks back, we dug into the vaults to find 14 clips of artists promoting their now classic 1994 releases on Yo! MTV Raps, and in the process, we stumbled upon a condensed goldmine of Yo! MTV Raps “Live Fridays” performances also. “Live Fridays” provided a platform for Yo! guests who regularly got video burn on the show to also flex their MC stylings live in the flesh. It would be a shame not to share these with you all, considering not only the quality of the actual performances, but also the officially-archived MTV video quality itself, too. Check below for 7 classic Yo! MTV Raps “Live Fridays” performances by Run-D.M.C., A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, and more. Yeaaauuuuhhhh.

1. Run-D.M.C. “Medley”

Ed Lover and Dr. Dre introduced Run-D.M.C. for their “Live Fridays” appearance as “the world’s greatest rap band,” and after you watch this, you’ll see why. These dudes know how to tear down a stage, for real for real. Watch as they blend in various raps and breaks from their catalog (“Here We Go,” Beats to the Rhyme,” “Hit ‘em Hard,” etc.) for a straight-up off the hook hip-hop medley of synchronized science-dropping. Props to the late Jam Master Jay on the 1s and 2s controlling the sounds with effortless skill. RIP.

2. A Tribe Called Quest “Check the Rhime”

Another legendary trio by the name of A Tribe Called Quest made an appearance back in the days on “Live Fridays” to perform their hit single “Check the Rhime” off their classic sophomore LP The Low End Theory. Shout to Todd 1 with the funky introduction, and big ups to Tribe with the matching jean suits. It’s a shame these dudes ever stopped making albums together, but they left us with plenty of timeless joints like this to hold us over for eternity, so we’re good to go regardless.

3. Redman “Blow Your Mind”

Setting it off from the Yo! MTV Raps upper deck, a young Reggie Noble brought his funked-out single “Blow Your Mind” to “Live Fridays,” and those in the building with him definitely enjoyed themselves as he made his way from up-top down to the main stage, bopping along with him to every bar. Check for Ed Lover and Dr. Dre dancing along while holding up copies of the “Blow Your Mind” 12-inch, and a special hat tip  to Red’s towel-draped headwear.

4. Big Daddy Kane “How U Get a Record Deal?”

Big Daddy Kane took the Yo! MTV Raps stage for his “Live Fridays” performance hoodied down and ready to spit, and even had a couple fellas join him on stage to work some light dance moves for the crowd. “How U Get a Record Deal?” isn’t the most famous of Kane’s jams, but it was the lead single off his fifth album Looks Like a Job For… in 1993. And with an early Trackmasters beat and some fun circa ’93 punchlines to boot (“When I hit the skins they all say, ‘Damn Kane/You knock out the Bush like a presidential campaign'”), it’s a wonder why it isn’t praised more often. Plus Kane’s microphone control in general is no joke.

5. KRS-One “Hip Hop vs. Rap” and “Outta Here”

Oh yes, KRS-One came ultra correct for his “Live Fridays” set, rocking his slept-on B-side joint “Hip Hop vs. Rap,” which features a dope Showbiz track and an onslaught of unfuckwittable lyrics, as well as a clever medley of quotable rap lines pieced together perfectly, taken from classics ranging from “The Choice is Yours” to “M.E.T.H.O.D. Man.” And as if that wasn’t enough, he also broke the viewers off with a short rendition of the first single off his debut solo album Return of the Boom Bap, “Outta Here.” Ill performance by the Teacha.

6. Wu-Tang Clan “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’”

Wu heads, you’re gonna love this. For Yo! “Live Fridays,” the Clan showed up to rock a rendition of their 36 Chambers banger “Da Mystery of Chessboxin,’” spitting darts on stage together, lending ad-libs to each other’s verses smoothly, and displaying their Shaolin swordsmanship and unity. They’ve come a long way since this, huh? Wu-Tang forever.

7. Del the Funky Homosapien “Catch a Bad One”

Hieroglyphics captain Del the Funky Homosapien was hyped (and so was his hypeman Pep Love) during this “Live Fridays” performance of his No Need For Alarm single “Catch a Bad One.” And the crowd was right along with him too, feeling his energy and flow with each lyric. This is definitely some classic footage right here for the true Hiero fans. Peep above, and make sure you check out our making of Del’s No Need For Alarm LP with the man himself here if you missed it.

Previously: Video Vault: 14 Artists Promote Their 1994 Album Releases on Yo! MTV RapsVideo Vault: 10 Hip-Hop Artists Go Shopping at Amoeba MusicVideo Vault: 5 Underappreciated ’90s Posse Cut Videos |  Video Vault: 5 Classic Snoop Dogg Performances of Doggystyle Songs | Video Vault: 10 Classic In Living Color PerformancesVideo Vault: 10 Classic Showtime at the Apollo Performances | Video Vault: The Top 20 Rap Videos of 1993 | Video Vault: 5 Classic Wake Up Show Freestyles | Video Vault: 5 Pre-Reasonable Doubt Jay-Z Videos | Video Vault: 7 Classic Smack DVD Clips