Now MTV offers ``Ultrasound,'' with its first episode airing at 10 p.m. Sunday.
The show is basically a new version of ``Rockumentary,'' with a catchier, hipper title. While ``Rockumentary'' had gotten a little dull (it usually concentrated on the antics of one band), ``Ultrasound'' promises to be a little less star-struck and provide some depth along with insider access.
Upcoming shows include an exclusive interview with Madonna, including rare access to her daughter, Lourdes, and Madonna's studio, and a tribute to slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. on March 8, the day he was killed.
``Ultrasound'' is planned for a half-hour, but the first show, ``Back in the Day,'' is a meaty 60 minutes looking back at hip-hop music in the '80s. Run DMC are the hosts for a show that will be a fun trip down memory lane for anyone 28-35, who would have been of the age range to enjoy the history-in-the-making fun of hip-hop's first decade.
While it's difficult to re-create an entire decade in an hourlong show, MTV makes the best of it, showing footage of a youthful L.L. and Roxanne Shante, as well as lots of interviews with the stars of that era. KRS One, Salt-N-Pepa, Big Daddy Kane, Grandmaster Flash, Russell Simmons and many other hip-hop figures share memories of the times that are now viewed as the seminal years of the genre.
From U.T.F.O.'s Dr. Ice remembering the very real beef that existed between his group and Roxanne Shante, to Run DMC's Adidas fetish, to footage of concerts in the early years, to the fun, laughter and, oh, yeah, the outfits that became worldwide fashion statements, rap's early days are well-documented.
``Back in the Day'' also serves as an intriguing where-are-they-now look at some of the music's pioneering artists. Far from being bitter and broke, many are enjoying successful second careers. All of the artists seem proud of the contributions they made to what has now become a multimillion-dollar global industry. At the time, no one really knew what the future of the music would be - most thought it would go the way of disco and platform shoes. Now, 20 years later, it's become a vital part of American life much like rock 'n' roll. Set your VCRs if you love hip-hop. ``Back in the Day'' definitely delivers and bodes well for future episodes of MTV's new endeavor.