By Maurice Bobb
Justin Timberlake shut down the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards with his otherworldly performance before receiving the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, but fans have also come to love “History of Rap,” the mash-ups of popular rap songs he performs with “Late Night” host Jimmy Fallon. Question is, though, will there be another installation?
“If we can come up with enough songs,” JT said on Hot 97’s Angie Martinez radio show, Tuesday (August 27) of his widely popular “History of Rap” series. “The first four were really good. The first one we did, we were like, ‘Ah, man, we can’t top that’ and then…It’s nice having Amir there who’s an encyclopedia. Amir just comes like, ‘Oh, we can do this and this and this’ and the next thing you know, you have a five minute medley of all these hip hop songs.”
The nostalgia-tinged rap medleys were born from Justin and Jimmy’s love of impersonations, especially those of rappers.
“How that happened was Jimmy loves to do impressions and we started impersonating different rapper to each other one night,” The 20/20 Experience singer said. “Then we were like, we should make a comedy sketch out of this.”
The “Suit & Tie” crooner’s extensive hip-hop knowledge shouldn’t be surprising since he was weened on seminal hip-hop stalwarts like A Tribe Called Quest and, of course, Three 6 Mafia, growing up in Tennessee.
“I got Midnight Marauders when I was like 12 and then I went back and got Low End Theory, so Tribe was my first real, proper introduction,” he said. “Then I started listening to De La (Soul) and then it was Digital Underground and Pharcyde. That Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II was phenomenal. Growing up in Tennessee, also ‘trap’ is so funny to me because it is literally Three 6 Mafia from 1991. Everything does come back in a different form, i.e. twerking at the VMAs.”