On October 1st, 2009, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame declared KLRU-TV's Studio 6A a historic rock-and-roll landmark. The studio hosts the Austin City Limits broadcast, which has been bringing live music to PBS viewers for 35 years now, longer than any other music television program. On that same day in October, the show announced that, on Jan. 16, Austin City Limits would kick off 2010 with its first-ever, all-hip-hop, hour-long program.
Tomorrow night you can see Mos Def back up K'naan in an ACL performance that will showcase songs from K'naan's second album, Troubadour.
Earlier today I talked to ACL's producer Terry Lacona about the show. He told me that they've been interested in an all hip-hop bill for four or five years now, but they wanted to find an act that was "acceptable" for its PBS viewership. He said that K'naan was "socially conscious" and delivered a strong message. Lacona also said he was impressed to discover Mos Def's "eclectic taste in music." When I asked him why no rappers had been exclusively featured before, he noted the difficulty of finding acts whose lyrics weren't, in his own words, "sexist, or tinged with violence."
Lacona says that they are interested in having more hip-hop in the future, and he suggested maybe Common or Erykah Badu. But Lacona says no one has been booked yet.
What are your thoughts? Is Saturday's event an important milestone for hip-hop and ACL, or just an insignificant bow to popular demand? You can give us your opinion before the show, or come back after watching the whole thing and tell us what you thought of it.
ACL has released a preview of "Waving Flag" from the performance on their Web site.