MTV favorite, now in Philly at WRNB, raps with us
ANY KID who watched MTV in the '90s knows
Ed Lover, co-host with Doctor Dre of the landmark hip-hop show "Yo! MTV Raps." Lover has since switched to radio - he's the new weekend host at Philly's 100.3 WRNB and does a weekday gig at
New York's Power 105.1 - and to YouTube, where he hosts a
pop-culture show called "C'Mon Son."
"There are two streams of recognition," he says. "There's the 35-plus crowd that remembers 'Yo! MTV Raps.' Then there's the 15- to 25-year-olds that know me from my 'C'mon Son.'
"Their parents be like, 'Yo, you know Ed Lover?' and they'll be like " 'C'mon Son!' " The parents are like, 'Huh?' "
Lover, who is on WRNB from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and from 3 to 7 p.m. Sundays, talked to Molly Eichel from his home base of New York, right after dropping off his kids at school.
Q When did you know you needed to make music your life?
Around the fifth grade. There were mandatory music classes. I played the trumpet. But we were more interested in what was playing on the radio. It became a social thing for us, getting together and trying to emulate what we heard on the radio.
I also had great teachers, and I loved learning about what came before me.
Q You're a big proponent of music education in schools then?
That's what kept us interested in school. It gives those kids who aren't athletes, who aren't popular, something to do. It gives you a sense of belonging: You may be a football player, but I'm in the band. What we're doing is just as important as what you're doing.
Q Do your kids have a sense of your place in hip-hop history?
My youngest daughter doesn't know. She's 15. My 17-year-old, he knows. He is a hip-hop kid - he's about to release his first mixtape - so he'll see me talking to someone he respects like Jay Z and he'll think that's cool. Sometimes he'll call for backstage passes, but I can't go with him. Can't have dad backstage.
Q You play throwback jams on WRNB, but what contemporary artists do you like?
I listen to everyone. I love T.I., Kendrick Lamar, and the up-and-coming cats like Joey Bada$$. I love Pusha T and Meek Mill. Big Ooh, he's from Trenton. I try to keep my eyes and my ears open.
I always say about my radio jobs, just because we love classic doesn't mean
we're dead. It doesn't mean we're not aware of what's going on in contemporary music.
Q How would you describe your on-air personality?
I don't put on any airs. I've always prided myself on that. That's the biggest thing that helped us on "Yo! MTV Raps." You could hang out with us. We never felt like we were bigger than the artists we were interviewing.
Q But you and Dre never seemed like fanboys, either.
Maybe that didn't come across on-screen, but we definitely were. We had Bill Cosby on a week of shows. Bill Cosby called me! He called my house!
Eddie Murphy told me, "Bill Cosby only calls you for two reasons: He likes you or he thinks you're making black people look stupid." I was so nervous.
[On the return call], a girl picks up and says, "Oh, Ed, Mr. Cosby has been waiting for your call." I'm thinking, "Bill Cosby is not about to get on this phone!" My parents had his album! I used to watch him on "I Spy."
And he got on the phone and he said how much he loved to watch "Yo! MTV Raps." His daughter introduced it to him. If Bill had said, "You're making a buffoon of yourself," I would've been crushed. I would've probably quit.
Q So, I'm sure people do the Ed Lover dance for you all the time.
If I'm out somewhere and "The 900 Number" comes on, I have to hide. But it's an honor to have a dance. It goes down in history like "The Humpty Hump."It's a beautiful thing.
When people ask, I might give them one or two, a little pop. But if you remember the Ed Lover dance, it was only done on Wednesdays. So if someone sees me on Saturday, I say, "I can't do it, it's not Wednesday." So, if you see me on a Wednesday, I'll do it. It's the law.