Peter Dougherty might not be a household name, but he was the man primarily responsible for bringing hip-hop to MTV and an integral part of creating the first big rap program, YO! MTV Raps. On October 12, in his Hastings-On-Hudson, NY home, Dougherty passed away at the age of 59 due to a heart attack.
During the mid-to-late 1980's, rap began to grow bigger and bigger, but at the time it still wasn’t widely accepted by the mainstream. Peter, alongside Ted Demme, opted for a change. While already running on-air promotions for MTV, Daugherty pushed the network to create a rap centered TV show.
It wasn’t until 1988 that the station allowed the pair to shoot a pilot for what would become the legendary YO! MTV Raps. The decision was wise, as the show would end up as MTV’s highest-rated program to date when it debuted that August. From there, Fab 5 Freddy was brought on to host a weekly version of the show starting in October, which ran until August 17, 1995.
yvngxchris Went From Recording on Earbuds to Viral Star
Rapper yvngxchris started off making songs on iPhone earbuds. Now, he's signed and constantly going viral.
Through the seven years on-air, YO! MTV Raps was a staple in rap culture. Everybody from Naughty By Nature to LL Cool J appeared on the show. From memorable performances to interviews, the program helped to push hip-hop culture forward and become more than a niche movement in the inner cities.
Adam Horowitz, one of the two surving members of The Beastie Boys, told the NY Times that Dougherty was “a hooker-upper, a connector.” The two met in the early 1980s at a friend’s apartment in St. Marks Place. “He was there when things were happening — not just one thing, but all the big things,” said Horowitz.
Dougherty was a visionary. He looked at rap in a way that most didn’t in the ‘80s, and because of the chance he took he created something special. Thanks to Peter, hip-hop heads had a worldwide platform at a time when nobody else was lobbying for one.
Who knows where rap could be today without all those incredible moments?