(Credit: Claire Boxall)

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The first hip hop track Louis Theroux loved

On paper, Louis Theroux doesn’t seem like a hip hop head, but, one track entered his life as a teenager, and since then, it’s been his genre of choice, as well as the topic of many of his documentaries.

His hip hop track, ‘My Money Don’t Jiggle Jiggle’ may have gained traction in 2022 on TikTok, but it’s actually over 20-years old, and from a documentary, he made about rap battles at the turn of the millennium. However, it unexpectedly became a trend on the social media platform after he repeated it during a YouTube interview which got clipped up.

Theroux’s fascination with hip-hop dates back to his teenage years, and while he’s not a natural at spitting bars, he has tried to navigate the culture of the scene in his films.

As well as producing a Weird Weekends about the rap battle scene, Theroux has also shone a light on Florida’s controversial underground trap stars in an episode of Forbidden America.

Theroux talked to the Radio Times about why he believes hip-hop to be a misunderstood genre in widespread culture. He explained: “I think very often the comparison with either horror films or gangster films or action films is made and I think is, to an extent, quite valid – the idea that you know, in a music video, a rapper is acting out of a persona.

“A persona that may to a degree be based on who they really are. But, you know, the music gives expression to a lifestyle that is often troubled or compromised or high risk, right? But doesn’t necessarily create that lifestyle.”

He continued: “If you banned rap, these communities would still exist and so the idea of blaming rap music for the social ills that it chronicles is in a weird way a case of shooting the messenger, in my view.”

During his appearance on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs, Theroux dived deep into his record collection and revealed his eight favourite tracks. His list included the classic hip-hop track ‘Paid In Full’ by Eric B. & Rakim, which he credits with having a transformative effect on him as an adolescent.

Theroux explained: “When I was about 17 or so, my friend Joe Cornish gave me a compilation tape, and it had a track on it by Eric B. & Rakim, and this was really a big moment for me because although I’d known about rap before then, this was the first rap record that just seemed really poetic and just different.”

From that point, Theroux was hooked, and while the Westminster School-educated isn’t your archetypal hip-hop fan, he’s a true enthusiast when it comes to the genre, thanks to Eric B. & Rakim, who first seduced him into the wild world of rap.

Listen to the full episode of Desert Island Discs below.