As a hip-hop writer in this era, we often source for stories, info and the likes via the web. We need to face the fact that the majority of paper publications are now web-based. Yes, companies still do prints but the internet has now become the norm when it comes to news. From traditional reporting sites like the New Yorker to micro-blogging platforms like Twitter, Facebook. We are now faced with an information gold rush at our fingertips. With just a click, we can get firsthand/ second-hand details about events happening anywhere (literally anywhere).
Everything is being documented online now and for a fact, there are people whose sole work is to dig up old events just to put them online. With that being said, there are certain things that would definitely get left out for many reasons from lack of verifiable sources, tainted info and whatnot. Now let’s take a look at hip-hop, a genre which is quite young and the early stages were pretty rough at the edges as many were figuring a lot of things out. As a writer, I often wondered how many hip-hop related events were undocumented from the 70s till late 90s. Don’t get me wrong I do know that a lot of historians have shed light on the inner workings of the genre but let’s be honest there’s bound to be untold stories left on the shelves.
During one of my numerous researches, I stumbled on this podcast Drink Champs championed by Queensbridge (Lefrak to be precise) representative NORE and FL, Miami mixtape veteran DJ EFN. The self-proclaimed “most professional unprofessional podcast” aimed to shed light on hip-hop pioneers from the initial stages of hip-hop. They not only talk to rappers, they also sit down with famed A&Rs, managers, radio hosts etc to get a broad perspective of this culture. True to their mission statement, the whole podcast structure is very professional from the sound, visual and overall theme, but that is where it ends. Everything being spoken on camera is pretty no-holds-barred. There is no effort or time to be politically correct on Drink Champs and guests often know what they are in for. This is a grown man podcast where grown men drink copious amounts of alcohol and shoot the shit for a couple of hours and you know a lot of tea will be spilt under the influence of alcohol.
The podcast which started its run in March 2016 has gone from being an audio-only podcast to becoming an internet visual show and now to a successful television show on Revolt TV. It’s highly entertaining if I may add and showcases NORE’s undeniable humour and fun-filled nature. Many have complained about his ramblings and habit of cutting guests off mid-sentence but besides that his journalistic approach is novel and much-needed in this day and age. I myself have been following the podcast since last year and while they have interviewed a plethora of legends from Snoop Dogg, Naughty By Nature, Brand Nubian, A Tribe Called Quest amongst others. I one time considered the DJ Premier and Pete Rock episode to be the best, that is until I watched the EPMD episode. This episode cemented the duo’s legendary status even further as they broke down their rise in the game in the 80s and gave different mind-blowing stories and incidents that may have changed the course of hip-hop history. On another note, Erick Sermon and PMD get extra props for staying laser-focused throughout the duration of the podcast. While they touched on several topics from sampling, production and touring with legends like Run DMC, the side stories were nothing you would expect from the duo. Some were wild and outlandish while others were just completely mind-blowing.
Without taking much of your time, I will quickly summarize 10 things I learned from EPMD on Drink Champs:
- Erick Sermon and Rakim almost got into it due to a lyrical misunderstanding.
- Erick Sermon got robbed once by an individual with a blonde wig and white face mask.
- Erick Sermon sold coke for just a day when “It’s My Thing” was on the radio.
- Erick Sermon teamed up with another individual to rob a drug spot but they jettisoned the plan after waiting for too long for the victims to come out.
- It was revealed that Chris Lighty’s real name is actually Darnell. The name Chris was a homage to his father as Darnell used to be called Baby Chris.
- Erick learned how to produce from Parrish Smith.
- They built a car (68 Camaro fused with a 74 Nova) in the 80s.
- K-Solo went to Death Row for a hot minute with Sam Sneed as his producer.
- A young Keith Murray “battled” Big Daddy Kane at a diner during the rapper’s Birthday party in ’88.
- They almost got Jalen Rose killed way before he joined the NBA during a concert.
Some other interesting facts NORE revealed during the podcast are as follows:
- Biggie was supposed to be on “TONY” (Remix). Nashiem Myrick, who produced the song, played “TONY” for BIG before it came out.
- NORE adlibbed his character’s lines in the Paid In Full movie.