What an embarrasment. Straight up. For Eazy E and MTV. This reminds me of an article I read the other day about the struggling MTV – Wired 15.02: A Second Life for MTV.

MTV planted its flag on the moon on August 1, 1981, and the channel quickly came to define what being young and hip was all about. The quick-cut style of the music video set the pace of the era and helped launch the careers of directors like Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. In addition to being the official soundtrack of youth culture, the network discovered up-and-coming talent like animator Mike Judge, pioneered reality television with The Real World, and, with its televised town halls, helped send Bill Clinton to the White House in 1992.

But as anyone will tell you, MTV has lost its groove. The network’s 2006 Video Music Awards were the lowest rated in 10 years. Its airtime is increasingly occupied by reality shows. You can find music on offshoot MTV2, but even so, TV commercials break more new bands these days. As an arbiter of cool, MTV has lost its clout.

MTV has always struggled to stay hip. “The novelty of music video wore off a year or two into our history,” says Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks’ music group. But over the last decade, the network has had an especially hard time keeping on top of the latest trends. Why? The Internet killed the video star. Since the advent of Napster, MP3 blogs, and YouTube, kids have learned about new music by going online. They watch, buy, stream, swap, and steal music online. They list their favorite tracks and debate which band is coolest online.

Now MTV execs are scrambling to catch up with the hot new hangout spots on the Web. The network’s parent company, Viacom, had a chance to buy MySpace, but competitor News Corp. snapped it up for $580 million in 2005. (A corporate reshuffle at Viacom followed.) MTV has been reduced to copycat initiatives. Last May, MTV beta-launched the subscription-based music-download service Urge to compete with Apple’s iTunes. It continues to beef up Overdrive, a broadband site offering free music videos and show outtakes that vainly tries to compete with YouTube. The shows also have discussion forums-—but they aren’t holding on to as many eyeballs as the network would like. “Kids were watching Laguna Beach,” says Matt Bostwick, an MTV senior vice president, “but then they were going everyplace else on the Web to talk about what they’d just seen.”