World Star Hip Hop and Adult Swim show will be ‘first of its kind’

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World Star Hip Hop (Image via WSHH)

Earlier this month, it was reported that the popular and controversial hip hop site World Star Hip Hop (WSHH) has partnered with Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

Adult Swim’s programming is geared toward a more mature audience, and with the success of the Boondocks animated series and  Tyler The Creator’s variety show, Loiter Squad, a WSHH project would be a natural fit.

Details are still scarce, but theGrio.com caught up with John Holland, a writer for the upcoming WSHH TV venture to get more scoop. Holland gave us a better idea of what fans can expect from the pilot.

TheGrio:How did you get involved with the project?

John Holland: I got involved when one of the executives at Adult Swim, who has served as a mentor to my writing over the years, had the task of putting together a writing team for the pilot. He felt I and Nicholas Travis, who works with me on our Green Bench production company, had the right voice and approach to the show. We were staffed in a room full of other very talented writers and comedians, and we churned out some amazing scripts.

TG:What will be the format? Satire? Scripted comedy?
JH: This is a funny question, because the biggest hurdle was defining what the show “is.” The easiest way to put it is every episode is a day in the life of a celebrity, but that day plays out like a Wayne Brady/Chappelle moment. It’s definitely scripted, but the scripts are more like guidelines with room to improvise and have fun. We created a good mix of social commentary and ratchetness that should keep everyone happy.
TG: How much input did Q, CEO of WSSH, have in the creation? Did he give
the writing team full access?

JH: First off, let me say that Q is a really cool dude. Like, my first thought was he’s going to be some Suge Knight kinda guy that was obsessed with street fights and what not, but he’s a really friendly, tech-savvy guy. After the last day, he asked if he could take a picture with us? Us? You? Man we should be asking you for that (and he even sought out and tagged us on Instagram). He pretty much had access to anyone we could imagine. It was just a matter of convincing people that we’re not making fun of them but having fun WITH them.

TG: Adult Swim in the past has been known to push the envelope, but most would consider World Star Hip Hop to be a pretty extreme. How will WSHH fit within on a TV platform?
JH: Adult Swim is always about being different. If you really look at their shows, they’re not comparable to any other show on any other network. We’re definitely going to push the show to its limit, but with the room of writers we had, it’s not just going to be trashy, lowbrow comedy (maybe a stripper or ten). It’s really some good writing with awesome stories and twists no one will see coming, while keeping it gritty and raw. I think those combinations make it fit well within Adult Swim.
TG: How does a brand that began as “ratchet” transition into the mainstream?
JH: Honestly, we’ll find out with the show. Honestly, with WSHH already having such a strong brand, anyone willing to do anything with them must know what comes with the territory. Of course, it’s not total anarchy. We still have network guidelines and Standards and Practices to obey, but you don’t approach WSHH unless you want a little ratchet in your life. :)
TG: What do you say to the people that believe WSSH is detrimental to black
culture and society as a whole?

JH: It’s tough. I see both sides. WSHH is meant for a certain audience, and if you don’t fall into that audience, then it’s definitely going to make you feel a certain type of way. I sometimes think we, as a black culture, do this thing where we make something, show it to the white people and say,”what do you think?” That mentality is why we get so angry about certain black shows and movies, because we feel it represents us to everyone who isn’t black. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fool in thinking that TV doesn’t influence the way people think about us and others, and I KNOW what people think about WSHH. I recently met some Russians who had never interacted with black people before and all they had to go off of was what they saw in the movies. But sometimes we just need to make something for us and enjoy it the way we want. Everyone knows they hoot and holler at a fight where someone gets their wig snatched off. Well guess what: white people do it too! We like strippers; they like strippers. We’re probably a little bit quicker to hit record.

Needless to say, this show is going to be dope and a first of its kind.

You can check out Kyle’s musical coverage on theGrio music page, and follow Kyle on Twitter@HarveyWins