MTV (Music Television Network) launched on August 1, 1981. Blondie‘s music video for Rapture—which released that same year—was the 48th video aired on MTV’s launch day and Rapture became the first music video with a rap aired on MTV. In the music video for Rapture, you see Blondie’s frontwoman Debbie Harry walking through the city of New York with walls covered of the hip-hop element, Graffiti. The music video featured cameos from Fab 5 Freddy (who Debbie Harry shouted out on the song), Jean Michel ‘Basquiat,’ and Lee Quinones.
Rapture by Blondie was the first music video with a rap aired on MTV
Rock Box by Run-D.M.C. was the first hip-hop music video by a rap group aired on MTV
In the summer of 1984, Run-D.M.C.’s Rock Box, the first rap-rock song, became the first official hip-hop music video by a rap group played on MTV. Rock Box was Run-D.M.C.‘s debut music video. Four years after that, MTV devoted an entire show to hip-hop, when they launched Yo! MTV Raps in August 1988.
“‘Rock Box’ was the first rap-rock record. It took Eddie Martinez’s rock guitar to get us on MTV. Our producer, Larry Smith, came up with the idea. People forget about Larry Smith, but Larry Smith owned hip-hop and rap. He produced our first two albums, and he produced Whodini. The rock-rap sound was Larry Smith’s vision, not Rick Rubin’s. Rick changed history, but Larry was there first. Actually, me and Run was against the guitar. We did two versions of ‘Rock Box’ because we didn’t want the guitar version playing in the hood. But when DJ Red Alert played it on his radio show, black people loved the guitar version more than the hip-hop version.” D.M.C.’s told MTV about the music video on I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution.