10 Controversial Artists I Want to See on the New Arsenio
Get used to that, 'cause Arsenio is back. Nearly two decades after The Arsenio Hall Show disappeared from TV's late-night landscape following a five-year run, the man himself is being recalled to duty by CBS's syndicated-programming wing. The new Arsenio debuts in the fall, reportedly in an early-late-night slot like 9 or 10 p.m. Houston time. (Check your local listings.)
How? Why? I don't care. This is excellent news for '90s nostalgists. The original Arsenio was the first late-night talk show aimed at young people, and the show got creative with its guests. You were as apt to see Hall interviewing "Macho Man" Randy Savage as you were to find an entire episode devoted to humoring Louis Farrakhan. The musical guests were even better.
The old show booked acts that nobody else would touch at the time, from edgy rappers like Snoop Doggy Dogg, 2 Live Crew and Public Enemy to heavy-metal shredders Body Count, Anthrax and Megadeth. Arsenio once turned a whole episode over to musical performances by Prince. What's more, he typically interviewed the musicians like regular guests, rather than simply shaking their hands as the credits rolled.
We hope that musical daring extends to the new show, because Arsenio's got a lot more talk-show competition this time around -- and in an earlier time slot to boot. Making it another five years will take a miracle. That's why I plan to enjoy every episode we get, especially if Arsenio books some of my favorite controversial artists of today:
10. Al Walser
Who? That's the question a lot of EDM adherents are still asking one another after Walser was nominated for a Best Dance Recording Grammy in December despite being almost completely unknown in the U.S. Put off by his effective social-networking campaign to cozy up to Grammy members, many have dismissed the Lichtensteinian producer/DJ/nobody as the new Rebecca Black, which...damn. Let's not say shit we can't take back.
Let's give Walser a chance to move our asses before we get too bent out of shape, shall we? Whether Al Walser goes down as an up-and-coming EDM superstar or as a bizarre footnote in the genre's transition into the mainstream, Arsenio is the perfect platform to get his music to the people from whom he so clearly craves approval.
9. A$AP Rocky
I've made no secret of my A$AP Rocky fandom of late, and I'm not alone: Despite being widely bootlegged long before its release, Long.Live.A$AP still hit No. 1 on the charts. That kind of success puts the Harlem rapper into Leno territory, but there's no denying that Arsenio would be a better fit for his youth-oriented sensibility. It's the most slowed-and-thowed thing we're likely to see on prime-time TV anytime soon.
If her bird-flipping incident at last year's Super Bowl taught us anything, it's that M.I.A. isn't really intimidated by TV cameras. The British bad girl has some pretty radical ideas that she's not shy about sticking in the faces of as wide an audience as possible, making her a perfect fit for Arsenio's wild musical segments. Spitting, swearing, nudity: These are the artist's preferred medium, and her songs are pretty good to boot. That's quality TV, in my book.
7. Frank Ocean
Frank Ocean still counts as controversial, right? I mean, c'mon, he's gay. No? Who cares, he's good. Book him.