When considering entertainers like Ghostface Killah, Fat Joe, Amber Rose and Bam Margera, the first word that comes to mind is not usually "square." But when Peter Rosenberg, host of the new MTV2 show, "Hip Hop Squares," talks about the celebrity participants on the show, this is the word he most often uses.
"There are all of these cool people in a situation where they don't have to try to be cool," says Rosenberg, who is best known as a DJ on New York City's Hot 97. "We had the hottest street and radio artist, 2 Chainz, and based on his persona, the idea of seeing him having fun and being casual is just awesome."
"Hip Hop Squares" is based on the classic game show, "Hollywood Squares." As was the case with that show, which reached peak popularity in the 1970s, nine famous personalities sit in the squares of a tic-tac-toe board. In this case though, most are affiliated with the world of hip-hop. While two contestants play tic-tac-toe against each other, they consult the celebs on trivia questions and can decide to take their advice or disregard it.
In one episode, Rosenberg poses the question: "Who is the female recording artist with the most No. 1 hits?" to which Nick Cannon, seated in the center square, excitedly shouts, "That would be my baby mama, Mariah Carey!"
The contestant disagrees.
"Those moments were awesome," laughs Rosenberg. "Every once in a while, we get moments where it's this no-brainer. ... And yet, people would still get it wrong. When those moments happen, that's when I think you get the real gold of the show."
It's hip-hop to be square
One of the slogans for "Hip Hop Squares" is "when the game show becomes a party," and it isn't unusual to see one of the "squares" with a drink in his or her hand.
"There was some partying," Rosenberg acknowledges. "There were episodes where it was out of control, but I don't know if I'd blame it on the partying so much as the cast of characters we had. It certainly had a feel that reminded me of the original ['Hollywood Squares']."
"Hip Hop Squares" premieres Tuesday at 11 on MTV2.