BET’s Uncut: A Retrospective

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BET Uncut Title Card

From its rowdy, stray dog award shows to their mischievous reruns of the same ol’ blacktacular flicks, there seems to always be a reason for folks to hate the Black Entertainment Television network. Some refer to it as “The face of the new Black Experience” while others have called it the next level in blaxploitation entertainment. For example; the word “coon” usually gets thrown around whenever the station is mentioned online and in real life. Still to some, it will forever be known as the home of legendary shows like “Video Soul,” and “Rap City,” which is arguably the second greatest Hip-Hop video show of all time.

For what it’s worth, BET has never been much of a contender with its original programming (remember “College Hill?”), but one show will forever be heralded and reminisced over. That show is “BET Uncut” – a late night visual hub for rap mini-movies that were deemed too risqué by other stations – which ended it’s run in 2006. The show’s risk factor came from the overflowing amounts of boobs and buns bouncing around on-screen in what seemed like each video. In fact, some say “Uncut” gave birth to the “video vixen,” as well as websites like WorldstarHipHop.com, where rap and porn have been seamlessly fused together. While MTV and VH1 have always been a bit reserved regarding rap music in general, BET took the bull by the horns and allowed rappers to display what they felt was complimentary to their music. And that was usually scantily clad urban models.

Half-naked chicks were the show’s main course and at some point, Nelly’s “Tip Drill” video became “Uncut’s” unofficial spokesperson for the program. Other videos, such as 50 Cent’s “Many Men” and Frayser Boy’s “I Got That Drank” were indirectly attached to the show due to their intensely violent imagery or gratuitous drug glorification. But for the most part, tracks like Black Jesus’ “What That Thang Smell Like?” is what the show was known for. “Uncut” is where overeager, undersexed teenagers congregated to hear the latest under-underground sound and watch chicks gyrate.

Critics claim that “Uncut” helped solidify the stereotype that rap music and the Hip-Hop culture is hypersexualized and ultra violent, but truth be told, it just provided a window into what was already occurring behind the glitz and glamour. Say what you will about the show’s lascivious nature, but it was a trailblazer for what today’s rap music video must look like.

BET Uncut was ahead of its time, for better or for worse, but don’t expect it to return to television any time soon. There’s no longer a need for a television show to do what the Internet has pristinely perfected. RIP “BET Uncut”. And thanks for everything.

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