Interviews

Published on August 14th, 2020 | by Jimmy Star

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Interview: Eileen Shapiro “Waiting For Adam” @ YO! MTV Raps 30th Anniversary

Rockstar Journalist Eileen Shapiro has just released her new book, “Waiting For Adam”, a journey of her quest to acquire a sizable celebrity resume of interviews in order to enable her to procure an interview with her idol rock star Adam Ant. While on her expedition Shapiro has conversations with some of the coolest people on the planet including: Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Annie Lennox, Boy George, Tiffany Haddish, Billy Porter, Nile Rodgers, Jennifer Hudson, Emma Stone, Brooke Shields, Doctor Dre, and many others. One such chapter in her book is the exciting coverage of YO! MTV Raps 30th Anniversary at The Barclay Center in Brooklyn NY…..

How did you come to cover such a prestigious event?

I was friends with Doctor Dre who was one of the original VJ’s on Yo! MTV RAPS. He actually invited me to attend and was able to get myself and my photographer Billy Hess back stage passes to everyone’s Green Room. The original show was a cultural touchstone making Hip Hop viable for television. The show premiered in 1988 and lasted until 1995.  attendees included Big Daddy Kane, Ed Lover, Doctor Dre, DJ Red Alert, Fat Joe, Flavor Flav, Melle Mel and the Furious Five, DJ Skribble,DAS EFX, ONYX, KRS One, DJ Scratch, Doug E Fresh, Fan 5 Freddy, Brand Nubian, EMPD, the Juice Crew, and so many others….all performing live.

Did you get to meet any of those artists?

Yes, all of them. They all posed for pictures with us and we were able to talk to pretty much everyone either in their green room or in the press room.

Did Doctor Dre perform?

He did but there was a funny story that went along with that. When he was walking towards the stage he got stopped by a security guard who wouldn’t allow him access because he didn’t have an all access band. We all tried to explain to the guard who he was….but he wasn’t hearing it. Dre very calmly at first explained that they were waiting for him on stage. The guard refused him entrance. Finally Dre lost it and told him to let him through. My photographer had an all access pass and offered to give it to Dre, but still no dice. Finally someone called upstairs and the promoter came down and let him get on stage….

Aside from Dre, who did you find most exciting?

Flav was amazing. So was a DJ Red Alert. Everyone couldn’t be nicer or friendlier. These artists are the fathers of Hip Hop and it was a great honor to be in the same room with any of them no less all of them. YO! MTV Raps was groundbreaking paving the way for all rap music. We also met basket ball player Larry Johnson who just happened to be there. He was super tall.

What did you take away from the experience?

Directly from my book: “It was my inception into my cosmic milestone of working a huge celebrity event. If you chase anything in life you should chase the things that get you the most excited about.” There would be other milestones such as Boy George and Nile Rodgers, and Fred Schneider and Emma Stone from the B-52’s, etc, but the celebration and Anniversary of Yo! MTV Raps was my first experience of that kind.

Interview by Bruce Kent

Photo Credit Billy Hess


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