There are two things that get me out of bed in the morning: a cup of coffee and Hot 97, New York City’s biggest and best hip hop station. For the last, oh, four years, the “Hot 97 Morning Show” has not only been rousing my tired ass out of bed, but making me sing/rap in the shower, dance around my apartment while I’m getting dressed, and laugh ’til my sides hurt. I’m so obsessed with the morning show’s four hosts — Peter Rosenberg, Cipha Sounds, Old Man Ebro and Laura Stylez — that I regularly tweet at them like they’re my friends and I wrote them a lengthy love letter for Valentine’s Day one year. Now, with the debut of “This Is Hot 97″ on VH1 a few weeks ago, the rest of America is going to be as in love with these four — not to mention fellow station DJs Funkmaster Flex, Angie Martinez and Miss Info — as I am.
“This Is Hot 97″ is not your average reality show in that it doesn’t pretend to be exactly “reality.” The cast all play themselves, of course, but many of the scenarios are partially or mostly set up, allowing them to do what they do best — improvise. The results are not only hilarious but refreshingly positive in an age when most reality TV features shit-talking, backstabbing and hair pulling. It’s an inside look at what it’s like to work at one of the world’s most renowned hip-hop radio stations, but you certainly don’t need to be a fan of Kanye West (who made an appearance in the first episode) or Mack Wilds (who appeared in episode two) to be entertained.
“This Is Hot 97″ also gave me a chance to scratch something off my bucket list. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to visit the station and interview my beloved morning show boos for years and last week I finally got that chance. Above, enjoy as I sit down with Ebro Darden and Laura Stylez to discuss the show — and what I need to do to be their intern for a day. (Seriously, Ebro, I really know my way around a copy machine. Call me!)
“This Is Hot 97″ airs Mondays at 10:30 on VH1.