A couple days ago while lampin’ and loungin’ on vacation I was doing my usual early morning boob-tube perusing. Couch surfing through a sea of Maury, Everest, online College, and injury lawyer ads I saw a familiar face and name flash across the screen. It had been some time since I willingly ingested the fodder commonly known as “daytime talk” so needless to say I was surprised to see hip hop alum, and pillar of 3rd Bass MC Serch next up to join the ranks. For those that may not be familiar with MC Serch here’s a brief overview.
Serch, born and raised in the Far Rockaway neighborhood of Queens, found that his experiences growing up would help to create the person we see today as well as provide the inspiration for him taking on daytime TV. Being from the Orthodox Jewish side of the fence Serch would learn the importance of family and sacrifice, while his experience and the friends he made in the nearby Redfern Housing Projects would teach him about the tenets of survival, hardship, love, community and strength. After immersing himself in hip hop Serch would later go on to become one of the members of rap group 3rd Bass which would subsequently lead to him being the executive producer on Nas’ Illmatic, It Was Written in addition to doing the same for a number of other projects.
After coming across the ads and checking out the first episode of the show I thought it only right to get the word from the man himself. Usually these daytime shows are sensationalist arenas of chaos, with guests resorting to assaulting or berating each other for what ultimately seems no reason at all – most shows end up in a whirlwind like that one watering hole scene in Mean Girls – but I noticed something about the way Serch ran his show. Unlike the defunct ringmasters of the daytime circus we all know too well Serch was making an honest effort to help guests find resolve and solutions to the issues expressed on the show. Watching the show I’d witness him reign things in. Whether that be his “BS- Meter”, kicking G.A.M.E.(Grown Ass Man Education) or hitting the tumultuous guests with a Buddhist proverb to circumvent the madness. Granted this was the first episode and considering that audiences have been left jaded by years of what has become conventional daytime TV madness we got in touch with Serch to find out what was really good with his new show and how his past in television and radio played a role in its development and execution.
MA: I know you don’t have a lot of time so I’m just gonna sort of get into things about the show. Once again its great to see you back on TV, it was a trip to see the previews for the show.
MC Serch: Oh, thank you man, it’s good to be back and doing something that’s hopefully helpful and puts hip hop into a different kind of light.
MA: How did the show came about? Because I know you have a history in radio and TV and I’ve heard you mention a few times that this is just another extension of that.
MC Serch: Yeah, [the radio show in] Detroit started out being me and two comedians, and then 30 days into our show, this dude called in saying that he was going to kill himself. Basically, we talked to him for three and a half hours live on the air, didn’t cut to commercials, didn’t do anything, talked to him, had other people call in and it really became a whole movement in the city this one day and the news picked it up and we finally got the guy to agree to put down the gun.
Right after we did that like all of a sudden we became this counseling show for Detroit. We started having to do marriage counseling, and couple counseling, and it became this extension of our comedy bits and all of that. And then when “The White Rapper Show” came on, Steve Wall who now is my agent, saw it and was like ‘Yo, this guy is giving out advice to these white rappers, like, he should probably have a talk show. Like he would be great to do a daytime talk show.’ He went back and he listened to the radio demos that I sent him because I had really very little on TV experience except for “Bamboozled” and some other acting that I’d done. He was like, ‘No, what you’re doing on radio could be an extension of what you do on TV.’ It started like in ’07 and this process has been six years to get it to this point.
MA: Oh wow, that’s amazing. From what I’ve seen on the show, being the presence that you are and the figure that you are in the hip hop community, I feel like that allows people to trust you more and sort of let you into their lives.
MC Serch: What I learned is there were three people that came on the show: the people that knew who I was from 3rd Bass, then there were people who knew me from VH1, and then there were people that just knew who I was because we had an amazing field producing and segment producing crew who was like ‘Yo, this guy wants to help fix relationships, do you want to be on TV?’ The people that didn’t know who I was were really like floored after they came on the show and heard what I had to say and would tweet back to me like, ‘I didn’t know rappers were so deep!’ [Laughs]
MA: Yeah, word! Exactly right?
MC Serch: Y’know what I’m sayin? Dudes who knew I was in 3rd Bass knew I had knowledge of self and knew I was a smart guy and people that watched the VH1 show knew I could talk straight and talk to them about themselves and really not sugarcoat shit.