I somehow know a fair bit about the hip-hop scene in the mid-2000s thanks to this channel called MTV2. Rather, at first, there was a strange bootleg of it I happened to pick up which was somewhat fuzzy, since this was the analog TV days. Eventually I was able to see it more properly after getting satellite. I’m not sure why this random station was airing specifically MTV2 and not the main MTV channel, but what I found out was that a channel existed from MTV that still played music videos.

Generally, MTV2 was mostly hip-hop, except on Saturday nights where it became Headbangers’ Ball and focused on rock. As far as non-music video content, there were a few shows that popped up, including reruns of Beavis and Butt-head. It was somewhat like MTV had come back into an older format, but not quite the pure music video format.

So about hip-hop, I was able to take somewhat of a deeper look than what I’d usually pay a genre due to how it was mostly what was just on, when nothing I wanted to watch was on any other channel. They had all kinds of ways of packaging it, including shows about lyrics where half of the lyrics were censored anyway, their version of the Headbangers’ Ball called Sucker-Free Sundays (which I always found to be funny when a song came on that I thought “sucked”), and of course just playing the top videos on loop. I was introduced to the likes of Missy Elliott, Lil Jon, The Ying Yang Twins, 50 Cent, The Game (a guy who isn’t 50 Cent), Mike Jones (Who?), Fat Joe (who shouts “crack” a lot for some reason), Rick Ross (who had a video I found funny where he jumps off a bridge into the ocean because a cop pulls him over for “speeding” while clearly smoking something), DJ Khaled (who has a kid now but still doesn’t seem to say much in songs he’s on), and many more. Several of which of them are still popping up today, and others seem to have vanished from the scene, or went on to do other things, or might be figuring out a comeback, I don’t know.

With their shows, I was able to see the stupid genius of Beavis and Butt-head, but they also did this weird thing where they might show an episode or part of an episode, then play some random video from recent times, all while during that video they’d randomly have clips of the show but also that weird popup that always obscured the middle of the screen having random quotes or questions not related to the video. It was a bizarre facsimile. It wasn’t until years later that there’d be a short but proper return of the series.

They had original shows too, or at least stuff from MTV. Viva La Bam was a show that effectively brought a little more context to just what the hell is going on in Tony Hawk’s Underground 2, among other things. Wonder Showzen is a show that existed, and I was trying to find if there was any link between that and a later work about not being hugged and scared that showed up on YouTube, but I wouldn’t say that there would have to be ties between two weird creepy adult puppet shows. Andy Milonakis also had a show there, but apparently he became a Twitch streamer doing life streams, that category that was what started as but then the site became Twitch and now they’re slowly bringing back stuff from JTV.

Then there was Video Mods, a show where they had a bunch of music videos recreated in video games, or at least using the assets to some degree. They had some weird ones. I’d say just about all of them were weird, if not all. For whatever reason I can remember parts of some. There was one about Destroy All Humans!, but it was some weird sappy song and they made a story about Crypto, the alien who’s there to do largely the titular task in the game, have some weird sappy moment about murdering some random NPC and then run into a house model they might have just thrown together for the video. I think they also had one with the Black Eyed Peas, since they were in the Urbz game on consoles, which was overall a weird take on the Sims. They also had this Half-Life 2 one where G-Man was singing as Breaking Benjamin while it was just showing a bunch of maps. Usually when I’d see the G-Man sing something, it was a song by Scatman John and had stop motion animation from Garry’s Mod. The last one I seem to remember most was something about voting, because MTV had this whole Rock the Vote campaign. The video was boring though, since it was just a slow pan over some map that may have been made up for the video filled with a bunch of random game characters, some of which were actually at some polling place but the rest were doing random stuff like playing chess. It sounds like a weird dream I had, since a lot of mine involve video games.

Eventually, I stopped watching satellite TV, and I’m pretty sure MTV2 went the way of MTV. Then I heard about MTV3, which was called MTV Tres and focused on Spanish language music, maybe, or maybe just from artists from certain countries or heritages and the songs were in English and so were the shows, the one time I saw something from it. Now I don’t think there are really much for any channels that regularly show music videos on regular US cable and related. Except maybe CMT, but that’s just country, but I have no idea.