Latifah Muhammad

Don’t Call It A Comeback: Arsenio Hall Talks Hip-Hop & His Return To Late Night


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Controversial newsmakers have played a part in Hall’s story as well. Nation of Islam leader Min. Louis Farrakhan’s 1994 appearance was falsely rumored to have led to the show’s cancelation. The place where Bill Clinton famously played a sax solo (and made us all look at him a differently) was the same destination where rap fans plugged into the likes of N.W.A, Tupac Shakur, KRS-One, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J (“Cool James” made his return to Hall’s show after 25 years this past February), back before they were legends.

The variety that followed Hall’s first late night run, has carried over into his new gig. The re-up of The Arsenio Hall Show premiered in Sept. 2013, and has seen names like Rick Ross, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, T.I., and Wiz Khalifa, fill the same guest list as Dr. Phil McGraw, Bill Mayer and Zooey Deschanel. The music however, is especially important to Hall, rap in particular. “Sometimes when I watch the show it’s a slight out of body experience because that’s a guy in his 50s with Kendrick Lamar and Mac Miller, and I look like I have boundless energy! When I watch myself it’s surreal.”

“We have meaningful conversations,” he continues speaking of a sit-down with Russell Simmons where the two touched on “everything from the n-word to misogyny, to where rap is right now.”


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