MTV's 'Rap Riot': What Really Happened

What was labeled as a "rap riot" by

mainstream press may have been the big machine, may have been MTV's own doing. caught up with a talented aspiring rapper. Here he tells his story.

My name is Frank Ruiz ("FR"). Let me

tell you about this trip to New York that I just came back from in the hopes

of battling for MTV!

I got to NYC from the MD/DC area at 7pm. Me and

my girlfriend spent several hundred dollars on travel and hotel accommodations,

but we met many people who came from much further and spent much more to be

there throughout the course of the night.

Once I arrived at 7pm, I decided to check out

the line-up spot so I'd know where to go the next morning, and there were already

people lined up! This is despite the harsh-ass cold and winds, and the fact

that MTV explicitly stated there was to be NO camping out! I checked into the

hotel with my girl, took a shower and shave, and we came back out to wait and

were in the first 200 people to be there.

After a few hours, police moved us into a location

closer to the actual check-in venue, and they also put us in a maze of metal

gates to organize us in a fashion similar to waiting in line at a bank. They

also put gates up trying to separate our area from the street.

They kept cops around throughout the night, and

told anyone that if they left the line for ANY reason, they wouldn't be allowed

to come back into the line. People resorted to pissing on walls and in bottles

so they would not lose their chance.

Unbeknownst to us, throughout the night, they

had other lineup areas. I don't really know what the deal was at those places,

but I became aware that there were MANY others when at around 8:30 a.m., police

decided to probably tell the people lined up in other sections that they couldn't

be a part of the auditions. An army of people ran over to our area and the cops

started trying to push them back.

There had to be around one-to-three thousand

other people in the street trying to get in. Things went from bad to ugly real

quick, and the masses rushed the section we were in. We had to hurdle our metal

gates to try and get away from the rush of people and thrown bottles. It was

all over in about a minute. The cops announced that the event was canceled and

made everyone disperse.

Me and my girl decided to get the hell outta

dodge. Although I felt bad that everyone's chance had been spoiled by these

events, I have to give credit to the situation those other emcees were put in.

If I were in their shoes, I would have been extremely angry as well.

The rules stated no camp outs, but the police

accommodated everyone who did. In addition, those who did follow MTV's rules

seemed to be punished for it, as they were unceremoniously told to disperse

after waiting patiently for hours to be a part of the event. Things ended badly,

and perhaps people shouldn't have tried to rush the check-in point on Monday


I believe that MTV/Viacom needs to take some

responsibility for how badly things were handled through their lack of organization.

The bright sides to that dark cloud is that no one seemed to have gotten hurt,

the news media didn't cover the riot so they didn't paint the scene as a bunch

of non-white animal rappers (but they also didn't cover any responsibility on

MTV/Viacom's side for how this all turned out).

One thing that was obvious after this event,

though, is how hungry so many of our youth are to get any chance to make their

lives better. I met men and women who came across the country to try their luck

for a chance at financial security, which shows just how lacking their other

possible options must be. MTV trying to give a hand up to 1000 people is a cool

measure in theory, but using the same hand to smack the up-to-3000 other people

struggling just as hard for the same chance was something I wish they'd spent

more time thinking about.

Peace to all the positive and talented people

that I spent that cold night with, and I wish the best of luck to all of them.

Frank "FR" Ruiz

My music can be heard at


My website is