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''YO! MTV Raps'' trading cards

”YO! MTV Raps” trading cards — MC Hammer, De La Soul, and Flavor Flav are some of the available artists

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It may never have the trade value of, say, a 1909 Honus Wagner, but Terminator X from the YO! MTV Raps MusiCard set does exude a certain charm. The Public Enemy DJ poses in Arnold-style shades and mandatory sneer. MusiCards, a collaboration between the MTV rap show and Pro Set, a collectible-card company, take the concept of baseball trading cards and add funky graphics and a beat. They even give you real names of rappers, such as Kool Moe Dee (Mohandas Deweese), De La Soul’s Trugoy the Dove (David Jolicoeur), and Flavor Flav (William Drayton).

The first series, 100 cards in all, has sold 1.5 million packs (50 to 69 cents for 10 cards) since their March 1991 arrival, and the recently released second set has 50 new selections. Hammer (Stanley Kirk Burrell), Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle), and YO! hosts Ed Lover and Doctor Dre have the highest representation, with eight cards each. In fact, the series overwhelmingly favors males (female rappers Yo-Yo and MC Lyte are conspicuously absent), lacks controversy (no 2 Live Crew), and seems a bit arbitrary (Kid ‘N Play, No. 1 on Billboard‘s Rap Singles chart, are nowhere in sight), though the omissions, says the card company, are mostly due to merchandising obligations elsewhere.

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