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  • Visionaries: Rap Yearbook Pilot Episode to be focusing on the impact of "Juicy" by B.I.G.

    AMC recently announced “Visionaries: Rap Yearbook,” a six-part documentary series based on Shea Serrano's 2015 best-selling book The Rap Yearbook. The program, which is part of the larger "AMC Visionaries," will be produced by The Roots' Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter (Passyunk Productions) along with Shawn Gee (Philly Films) and filmmakers Alex Gibney and Stacey Offman (Jigsaw Productions).

    "'Visionaries: Rap Yearbook' debates, deconstructs and illuminates the most important moments and songs from the biggest years in the history of hip-hop," according to a release, "with each episode focusing on the story of one key song and featuring a special guest MC as well as legendary rap artists, acclaimed music experts and others."

    Billboard caught up with the musician-producers Questlove and Black Thought to get the lowdown on the series, including how they hooked up with Gibney, future Passyunk Productions' video projects and, of course, what exactly "Passyunk" means.

    Billboard: What chapters/episodes you are planning to cover from Rap Yearbook when it launches in 2018?

    Black Thought: So far we've focused on our “1994" [for which Serrano chose “Juicy” by the late great Notorious B.I.G.] for our Pilot Episode that was such an important year for hip-hop music & culture. Although the genesis of the show is built around the music, or the song, we also examine how the song was tied into what was happening from a societal, economic and political perspective during the particular period it was created and released. There are so many important songs and important stories to tell, we are just now planning and prioritizing the order in which we collectively feel the stories should be told.

    Billboard: Will there be musician cameos?

    Black Thought: We're still debating that. In general, we're looking at artists that have driven the culture over the past few decades from Nas and Notorious B.I.G. to Ice-T, NWA, Kanye and Outkast—all artists who appear in the book—however, we haven't chosen the exact years yet and we will examine specifically for the first 6 episodes. But we will also have contributors participating in each Rap Year book episode—musicians, journalists, opinionated individuals who live and breathe the culture.

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