The most fun interviews in hip-hop: comedian brothers Eric and Jeff Rosenthal, better known as ItsTheReal, engage in authentic and hilarious conversation with rappers, tastemakers, and industry veterans, all from their Upper West Side apartment.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Baton Rouge's own Kevin Gates to the Upper West Side for a deep, hilarious, revealing, extremely meaningful and one-of-a-kind conversation. Kevin does a deep dive into great energy, the influence he's had on the game, recording songs at his grandmother's house, how his music career almost never happened, where his confidence came from, what he learned from Cash Money and what they learned from him, what Atlantic Records offered him during their first conversation, what his wife Dreka has meant to his life and career, real ones he can relate to like Jim Jones, Maino and Fred the Godson, how much fun he's having these days, what it's like when he hears that his music has saved lives, how he learned to forgive his mother, how he saw past the hurt in DJ Akademiks, what yoga has meant to his every day, the street mission that led to his brother's death and could have also led to his own, and so, so, so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome musician, cultural trendsetter, fashion boundary-pusher, sneaker commentator and connoisseur, and basketball lifer Trinidad Jame$ to the Upper West Side for Part 1 of this multi-episode podcast! Trinidad, with great humor and much perspective looks back at the viral monster that was All Gold Everything, from its conception to seeing it rocket out of Atlanta to taking over New York City's Santos Party Haus for the most celebrated performance in years, as well as the severe downturn that came after parting ways with Def Jam and New York City souring on Trinidad after his words were taken the wrong way, and the amazing way he bounced back to begin his latest and most exciting chapter. We dive into his humble beginnings in Atlanta by-way-of Trinidad & Tobago, the quiet high schooler he was, what gambling meant to him, how working at Waffle House changed his perspective, how losing his job and his green card left him broke but also creatively driven and how it ultimately gave him the confidence to shine as Trinidad Jame$. We talk how ahead of the curve he was on Drake's music, camo shorts, and snapback hats, the presence he had throughout the Atlanta streetwear scene, why he ultimately had to leave the boutique he made poppin', and the excitement that came from putting his all into making S.A.F.E. All that, plus his stint in jail, the insane number of features he put together in 2013, what Two9 meant to his path, how he became cool with A$AP Mob, how he turned the internet off and Netflix on, finding out about Bruno Mars' 24k Magic, who exactly looked out when he was down on his luck, and so much more!!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Columbia Records' SVP of Content Development Shahendra Ohneswere to the Upper West Side! Born in Suriname, Shahendra discusses his family's big move to The Bronx, learning United States culture from Transformers and Peter Jennings, moving around the country before settling down in Minneapolis, home to a big backpack rap scene, a big punk scene and a big shopping scene, The Mall of America. We talk about his attachment to Rhymesayers, Atmosphere, Eyedea and independent music in the Twin Cities, his move to New York City for college, showing up in a suit for his first internship at Rawkus, attending Lyricist Lounge shows, working at a record store in Brooklyn when RZA, Prodigy and Alicia Keys would stop by for in-stores, and grabbing a hold of the underground scene in the big city. Shahendra details his internship at MCA, the satisfaction that came from bringing Atmosphere in for a meeting, the recognition of his smarts by the president of Ecko, his work for an early iteration of Complex Magazine, his time spent at Dr. Jay's, a brief spell as an editor for Giant Magazine, some of the incredible people he collaborated with at Roc Nation, and the philosophies he carries as an executive for a resurgent Columbia Records. All that, plus his love for Rage Against the Machine, being around one-of-one Basquiats, orchids, Husker Du, working alongside three-time NYT Best-Selling author Mary H.K. Choi, what it's like to meet other Brown creatives in this industry and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome music executive, marketing maven, artist manager, full-time mother and game-changer in the flesh, Sophia Chang to the Upper West Side! Sophia, whose audio memoir The Baddest Bitch in the Room will be available exclusively on audible.com starting September 26th, discusses being raised in Vancouver, BC, the daughter of a North Korean mother and a South Korean father, the realities of not finding representation in mass media, growing up popular and outgoing and brilliant, yet still being an outsider, the beauty and the quiet of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the energy and vibrations and pull of New York City. Sophia gets into her early days as an assistant for Paul Simon, meeting Joey Ramone, expecting to run into Woody Allen walking the streets, experiencing Manhattan in its dirty era, her love for lyricism as well as baselines, her time at Jive Records, crossing paths with UGK, and befriending fellow industry titan Chris Lighty. We talk about her time with Wu-Tang, taking RZA to China to study with and perform for kung-fu masters, her thoughts on the Of Mics and Men documentary, leaving the music business for a dozen years, later working with artists like Joey Badass and G Herbo, living in and loving the hip-hop culture, and calling out and cutting out those who didn't. All that, plus how motherhood changed everything, how it felt to uplift artists in every aspect of their lives, as well as them uplifting hers, making peace with relationships coming to an end, the bigger mission of raising her children in New York City, whether or not Paul Simon cheats in Scrabble, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome BBC 1Xtra personality and Drake's tour DJ Tiffany Carver to the Upper West Side! Tiffany breaks down how a young hip-hop blogging fanatic from the English countryside found herself in on a buffet line in Los Angeles rubbing elbows with Dr. Dre, how Miss Info's work inspired her to try her hand at music journalism, how her parents encouraged her to follow her passion, how a viral Soundcloud mix of hers moved her to get serious about Serato, how every London venue turning her down convinced her to start her own (ultimately very successful) club night, how she found out that she'd be touring Europe with the most famous rapper on Earth, how she thought she tanked her audition but in fact nailed it and got the job of her dreams, and how she did all of this by the age of 25. All that, plus her first experience at Olive Garden, the interview that brought her to tears, her father's best advice, her very-short-lived rap name, the most insane gig she's performed at, her experiences at pirate radio stations, how her shyness presents itself in giant arenas, her huge goals for the upcoming year, Dr. Dre's biggest weakness and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome hip-hop's thug motivator, the mixtape champion, Atlanta's own Snowman himself, Jeezy to the Upper West Side for a deep, hilarious, revealing, and extremely meaningful conversation.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Phonte and Rapper Big Pooh, collectively known as the celebrated North Carolina duo Little Brother, to the Upper West Side to commemorate their reunion and new album May the Lord Watch, dive into their shine and their flaws during LB's first iteration, get into the dynamics of the break-up, discuss how death melted the ice, break down legacy and influence, and give full context to the power behind the music they're making today. This is the conversation you've been waiting for.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we answer listener-submitted questions about everything from how to succeed in podcasting, which rapper we'd like to see as a college professor, what projects we have in the works, the absolute worst interview we ever had, our favorite memories of Combat Jack, what Chinese food we order on Christmas Day, who would win in a fight between us, and much, much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome music video director, filmmaker, storyteller and Mac Miller's long-time creative partner, Ian "Rex Arrow" Wolfson to the Upper West Side! Ian, our great friend and collaborator, discusses growing up in Pittsburgh, its specific dialect, geography, famous residents, and tiny world for a big city, his devotion to cross-country running, his introduction to documentary filmmaking, and his goal to move to New York City to make movies. We get into his years as a student at Columbia University, his experience working at the famous movie rental store, Kim's Video and Music, the story that only he could tell back in Pittsburgh, how that film blew up in a million pieces, but how it introduced him to a teenage artist named Easy Mac. Ian talks about how his and Mac's relationship as friends and collaborators grew and evolved over the course of a decade, shooting 34 music videos together, touring the world with the tight circle of friends, living out of Mac's recording den in his Los Angeles home, reacting to fan love, reacting to Donald Trump's threats, evolving into freer artists and fully-formed adults, the absolute heartbreak of Malcolm McCormick's passing away, and opening your soul to beauty in the world once more. Ian reflects with great humor and great heart on a number of projects with Mac, a number with us, on meeting Mister Rogers, on losing actors due to dogs, on wearing a dress on stage, on stealing pants, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Dreamville's Senior Creative Felton Brown (@feltonamus) to the Upper West Side! Felton talks his seminal hip-hop blog Pardon Me Duke, his work in advertising, and how his friendship with J. Cole, Ib Hamad and the entire Dreamville roster developed over the last decade. We get into his roots in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, going to the School of Art and Design, interning at Def Jam as a 16-year-old, and his dual loves of NYC rap and Southern hip-hop. There are stories about meeting Foxy Brown, Method Man walking up on him with a bag of chips, DMX barking at him from a limo rooftop, Cey Adams inspiring him to get into professional graphic design, moving on to building D4L's website, developing a video game for Pimp C, playing Halo with Director X and sharing a cubicle/office with three of his best friends while posting their way through the blog era. We discuss everything Dreamville - Dreamville Fest, the Dreamville golden tickets, the recording sessions and cover design for Revenge of the Dreamers 3, future plans for the label - plus a lot but also not enough Ja Rule talk, Ludacris' video for "Pimpin All Over the World," how to leak a Swizz Beatz video without even trying, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Miyayo's own, CEO of Maybach Music, the biggest boss, Rick Ross to the Upper West Side for a deep, hilarious, revealing, and very meaningful conversation!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome one half of the Drink Champs Podcast DJ EFN (along with a dozen of his closest friends) to the Upper West Side to MAKE SOME NOISE!!! EFN discusses his long-time friendship with N.O.R.E., his initial response to N.O.R.E.'s career shift to reggaeton, how they got into podcasting, Drink Champs' success in giving artists their flowers, the potential reason behind DJ Khaled having not been a guest to this point, and episodes with Fat Joe, Diddy and DMX. EFN talks moving to Miami as a middle-schooler after growing up in Los Angeles, how hip-hop helped him find a place in his new town, seeing Biggie and Wu-Tang perform mixtape tracks in Miami clubs, how he got into DJing parties, establishing Crazy Hood as his own brand and crew, promoting events around town and the shootouts that brought that to an end, attending all of the mid-90's hip-hop conferences on a mission to get drops and freestyles for his mixtape series, opening his own brick and mortar store, the difference between hip-hop and bass, why Rick Ross and Pitbull were became super-successful, which Miami artists should have popped off, what it was like when artist after artist began to move into town, whether Soundcloud rappers could guest on Drink Champs, the multiple podcast Halls of Fame, the idea of Miami as a transplant city, what he thinks of South Florida in 2019, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Houston, Texas' own, Maxo Kream to the Upper West Side for his most revealing interview yet! We talk to the newest Roc Nation signee about how Jay-Z reached out through Mike Dean, the literal fights that allowed him to make a name for himself around Texas, getting co-signs from newer stars like Travis Scott as well as legends like Bun B, where his head was at as an up and coming artist, trying to get on by any means necessary, whether taking another rapper's chain or spamming artists and executives and publications just to get his music heard, how much he looked up to the Cool Kids for their style and their smooth ways and told producers that he worked with that he was on the search for Chuck Inglish type beats, the differences between the Nigerian side of his family vs. the African American side of his family, what it's like to have multiple members of his family behind bars, how hustling wasn't a sport but a means to an end, how he's mellowed out a little bit - his last fight wasn't too long ago, so don't get the wrong idea - but realizing how much is on the line and how many people are relying on him to do right, his new album Brandon Banks, which goes super in depth into the rollercoaster that is his relationship with his dad, Brandon Banks, Sr, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Philadelphia's own R&B sensation, Pink Sweat$ to the Upper West Side! We talk growing up "mad Christian," his family's dueling churches, learning to play drums on Sundays, his days as the worst kind of student, living a life with no internet or television or radio, how moving to the suburbs brought Maroon 5 and Avril Lavigne and affection for dogs into his life, trying to get fired from his job at Chik-Fil-A, his life-altering health issues and how he kept it from family and friends, what ultimately sent him to the doctor, and what a second lease on life meant, how he got into songwriting, finding his way to Los Angeles, working with Wiz Khalifa, Tierra Whack, Justin Bieber and more, what his family thinks of his live performances, where the name Pink Sweat$ came from and whether he'd ever give up the bit, his thoughts on lettuce, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Kingston, Jamaica's own dancehall artist, Shenseea to the Upper West Side! We talk growing up in the church, how her ever-present shyness mixed with performing in singing groups, popular music being kept from her, working in tourism on the island, not meeting her older brother until they were both grown-ups, how mature she believed she was and how much being a mother made her mature, covering songs and posting them to Facebook, keeping her singing dreams from her family, how they reacted to her explicit lyrics, taking on managers and producers and labels, moving into popular territory while maintaining a street edge, meeting Jay-Z, singing with Vybz Kartel, how she gained confidence on stage, her new single Blessed, why her Genius Verified episode might come across like she was on edibles, a potential collaboration with a neighbor up north, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome back Harlem's own A$AP Ferg to the Upper West Side! We talk the Met Gala, his friendship with Dapper Dan, his rules for working with producers, getting bad haircuts, his true friendship with Rocky, the importance of Damon Dash's TriBeCa dojo, why he doesn't put celebrities on a pedestal, everything behind Plain Jane, what his family means to Harlem, what it meant to get an original Bad Boy chain from Puff, his gym music playlist, dressing up as Mike Tyson and then meeting the champ, the mission of A$AP Mob in 2019, his bike line, his rug line, his deals with Hennessy and Revlon, his highly anticipated forthcoming album Floor Seats, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we travelled to Hidden Hills in Calabasas, sat down with Dennis Graham for our Father's Day episode, and had a deep, hilarious and very meaningful conversation. We talk Memphis, Houston, Toronto and Los Angeles, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Brown, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe Cocker, Larry Graham, Stax, Sun, Motown, Sandy, Degrassi, tour life, club life, real life, TMZ, and of course, his mustache, his music, his son, Drake, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we travelled to Los Angeles and sat down with Common for a deep, hilarious and very meaningful conversation. We talk the Obamas, Jay-Z, Beyonce, his daughter, Stacey Abrams, Be, American Gangster, the Wu-Tang documentary, Dilla, Questlove, going bald, visiting prisons, who he's confused for, what puts the A&M in FAMU, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome the host of The Daily Show, host of On Second Thought: The Trevor Noah Podcast, available on Luminary, as well as the author of Born A Crime, now available in paperback, Trevor Noah, to the Upper West Side! Trevor talks growing up in Johannesburg, South Africa, getting his mouth washed out with soap by nuns at his Catholic school, his mother's conversion to Judaism and his subsequent Bar Mitzvah, his waning interest in playing sports due to competition, DJing twelve hour street parties and the insane way that cops put an end to his business. We discuss his job as a taxi driver on the Johannesburg streets, when he first touched a comedy stage, how his material would shine a light on the shifting culture dynamics in newly democratic South Africa, the scene of his most ridiculous comedy set, how he went where the work was, whether in Australia, Germany, England or the United States, and how his point of view was or was not accepted. Trevor talks about the feeling he got wearing a pair of Timbs on the Brooklyn streets when he first moved to New York, how he'd hustle from gig to gig around the city, which comedians looked out for him, his fan bases in Boston, Chicago and throughout Texas, and how he performs in a theater vs. a stadium vs. to a television camera. We get into his thoughts on blood relatives, providing extra content beyond his TV show, how strange it can be at celebrity galas, the most memorable pair of shoes he received from his mother as a kid, his problem with the industrial revolution's effect on human schedules, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome South Memphis' own Moneybagg Yo, whose new album 43va Heartless hit the top of the iTunes Charts and is available everywhere now, to the Upper West Side! Bagg breaks down the different sections of his hometown, discusses growing up a creative child, drawn to drawing, dropping out of high school before his senior year, recording mixtapes around Memphis with one foot still in the streets, his first performance on a heavily stacked lineup at Yo Gotti's birthday party, catching the attention of all the major figures in town, but also getting a call on his trap phone from Akon in an effort to sign him, how his major J. Cole feature came to be, his heavily female fan base, why he feels like this new project speaks more to the streets than Reset, how he first met Meg Thee Stallion, he breaks news about his new management situation, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome the star and creator of the new Comedy Central documentary series Klepper, former Daily Show correspondent Jordan Klepper, to the Upper West Side! Jordan talks growing up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, forever being in the shadow of high school legend Derek Jeter, his contributions to his high school's national champion mock trial team, going to college on a math scholarship while double majoring in theater, and moving to Chicago to immerse himself in the best of improv acting. Jordan discusses his time as a substitute teacher (and his second day on the job, September 11th, 2001), his experiences on both the ImprovOlympic and Second City stages, performing as part of the Second City touring company at sea, surrounded by magicians and contortionists and dancers, and why he ultimately made his way to New York City. Jordan breaks down his time as a reality TV writer for the doomed follow-up to Duck Dynasty, Indiana Joes, working on ridiculous MTV game-show/sketch show pilots, and the video that got both Jordan and his wife on the radar of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, and the phone call informing them that there was only one job being offered. We talk through The Daily Show legacy, the audition process, the culture that Jon Stewart created, performing on stage with the entire Wu-Tang Clan, what it was like when Jon announced he was leaving, the big shoes that Trevor Noah has stepped into and made his own, and what Jordan is building in his own voice with Klepper. All that, plus his recent video collaboration with Bill and Hillary Clinton, the best and worst sketch group names he was involved in, getting arrested on the job, how he feels about dog-friendly offices, and so much more in this incredible funny episode!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome photographer/clothing designer/DJ/party promoter Ciesay from Places + Faces to the Upper West Side! Fresh off the stage from Places + Faces' first Boiler Room concert in NYC, where Cam'Ron, Jim Jones, Amine, Valee, Sahbabii and many more performed, Ciesay discusses growing up between South London, England and Gambia, the son of an importer/exporter father and a mother who worked for the United Nations, what popular culture he picked up vs. missed out on, the bootleg merch he wore as a child, how stamped-up his passport became at an early age, and the racism he encountered both abroad and at home. Ciesay dives into his first trip alone, to New York City, after an invite from a distant relative came through Facebook, how he used his time in New York to immerse himself in the burgeoning hip-hop scene of the 2010s alongside A$AP Mob, Travis Scott, Big Sean and Drake, the methods he'd use to sneak into concerts, how he made his name as a photographer, and all the terrible filters he used on early Instagram. We get into singular moments in his photography with DMX, Kanye, Tyler the Creator and Bryson Tiller, how he made sweatshirts with his last 300 British Pounds, his friends moshed in them, and he had to take it as a loss, borrowed money from friends, and built a brand that was so dope soon enough Wiz Khalifa was rocking it on his birthday. We talk about how Places + Faces developed their business, their ethos, and how they chose what lanes to occupy, what brands they collaborate with, learning how to be patient with how partnerships and products develop, and how they're organically creating tangible moments for a new generation across lots of mediums. All that, plus where Ciesay has gotten the most lost in the world, why P+F still feels like a London brand while selling all over the world, whether we will all in fact #ComeToBrazil, what the real national anthem of Gambia is, and so much more!
With over 250 episodes featuring guests from the most diverse backgrounds, most different journeys, and most hilarious stories, it's super dope to find commonalities, so we're continuing this new segment that taps into just that. It takes from our amazing catalog of A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal and fits it into a new form, perfect for your commute: BitsTheReal. Today's theme: celebrity run-ins, from Big Wos & BosNaud, The Kid Mero, Dreamville President Ib Hamad, DJ Jubilee, Vibe Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas, Tierra Whack and Mouse Jones.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Dr. Jessica Clemons AKA Dr. Jess AKA The People's Psychiatrist to the Upper West Side! Many people know her for making the conversation around self-care not so hard to understand, whether on Beyonce's website, The Breakfast Club or her own Instagram. We kick off Mental Health Awareness Month talking about what makes for a good therapist, how people can tackle their own anxiety, what expectations someone should have going into a first session, and how even therapists could use someone to speak with. We dive into growing up on an Army base in Huntsville, Alabama, her million high school activities, the car culture around town, walking the local mall in prom outfits like a parade, and how a TV commercial led her heart to New York City. We discuss her lifelong dreams of becoming a doctor, how she approached her studies as an undergrad at Tuskegee, and what happened when her one career goal was deferred. Jess get into her bounce-back, all about her move to New York, how she found love at a Nipsey Hussle concert, how her wedding plans were changed for three reasons (Beyonce, Jay-Z and a hurricane-level storm), where she heads for alone-time, her true thoughts about her husband's Blackberry, who took the best pictures at her wedding, how she never got lifelong sisters in a sorority but found lifelong brothers with ItsTheReal, and much, much more!
With over 250 episodes featuring guests from the most diverse backgrounds, most different journeys, and most hilarious stories, it's super dope to find commonalities, so we're introducing a new segment that taps into just that. It takes from our amazing catalog of A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal and fits it into a new form, perfect for your commute, your lunch break, or while you're waiting for a new episode of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies: BitsTheReal. Today's theme: high school stories, from Cardi B, Desus Nice, Jadakiss, Ella Mai, Lizzo, Scottie Beam, Kenny Beats and Shea Serrano.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Toronto singer TOBi, whose debut album Still drops this week, to the Upper West Side! TOBi talks growing up in Nigeria, who amongst his siblings makes the best jollof, his family's big move across the world to Canada, how he adapted to the cold, to the school system, to both Canadian culture and other immigrants' cultures, and even getting used to the Americanized use of the word "cool." We get into his love for sports and music and his city, growing up listening to The LOX and Outkast, how he was battle-rapping in high school, how he would integrate it into his school assignments, recording songs into a Sony Erickson phone, how he tried to keep it a secret from his parents, and how they ultimately found out. We talk about Drake's influence on Toronto, how his music spoke to TOBi throughout the years, the tenth anniversary of So Far Gone, and the time he snuck into OVOFest while working at an amusement park next door. TOBi shares who he makes his music for, whether you can ever feel like the person who wrote songs from long ago and a career away, before co-signs from Jaime Foxx, Tiffany Haddish, The Game, what's poppin' about Brampton, his time as a pre-med student, the role D-Pryde played in helping TOBi's career move in the right direction and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome marketing executive, party promoter and cultural connector Dela Yador to the Upper West Side! Bronx born and raised, Dela discusses meeting hip-hop heroes like Big Pun and DMX, moving from Catholic classes to a public high school and literally fighting for respect, gaining leadership from coaching youth basketball, taking a chance by joining school chorus, and what his Ghanan parents expected from his higher education. Dela talks about heading to Buffalo, New York for college, immediately finding himself on academic probation, returning to school with a more serious outlook, joining student government, finding a passion for promoting parties, linking up with DJ Enuff's Heavy Hitters crew, and fast becoming the big man on campus by bringing Snoop Dogg, Colin Powell, Kanye West, DJ Kast One and others to Buffalo. We get into Dela's return to New York City, his day jobs with VH1, BET, Pernod Ricard, his evenings out at clubs with the Heavy Hitters, and bringing the right mix of people, music and energy together for Opal Fridays. We also dive into the early days of HennyPalooza, his forever bond with Kam McCullough, the infamous iPhone note Dela wrote as an invite, the belief that this was bigger than just a basement game night, the work that each and every player put in, what the 5-year anniversary meant, why certain partnerships didn't work out, and why Dela appreciates the D'usse move. All that, plus Beyonce and Jay-Z as superheroes, why Dela has a reputation for being impossibly late, visiting Ghana in 2017, friends giving haircuts in college, doing good work in Nipsey's image, Dela's exciting new endeavors, which will bring together corporations, culture and youth empowerment, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we celebrate episode 250 with our mom, who through resolve, strength, commitment, curiosity, love and generosity, has made her way through the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We're thrilled to share her incredible journey, and know you'll enjoy this milestone episode.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we finally welcome Parks from The Joe Budden Podcast to the Upper West Side! We discuss growing up in Elmira, New York, his timing writing bars, one time outside a bar, and his time behind bars, interning in Chicago, moving to NYC, barely making ends meet on $200 a week as an audio equipment salesman, talking himself into a gig at DJ Premier's studio, meeting Joe Budden and becoming not just his engineer but also his therapist, watching Slaughterhouse form, working together and independently with Joe, Joell, Royce and Crooked I, meeting Eminem, his thoughts on all the Slaughterhouse projects, including the unheard album, touring as Joe's DJ, how he got a rep as a bad driver, why his crazy high school girlfriend was a worse driver than him, how he came to be a part of the podcast, what he thinks of being off-camera, what his girlfriend thinks of the podcast recording in their home, 6am sessions with Azealia Banks, how he's getting recognized these days, how the podcast tour handled the Nipsey Hussle tragedy, and so much more! #ParksHive activate!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we are welcomed into Cash Money's NYC vault - really - to sit down with Birdman and Juvenile! We discuss a million things including Birdman's interest in Jeff's Bar Mitzvah, who can call him Birdman Baby or Bryan, Juve's work with A-Trak, recording in the same Houston studios as Destiny's Child, Anthony Davis wanting to leave New Orleans, appearing (or not) on MTV Cribs, how the Cash Money distribution negotiations went down with all the labels, Juve taking a leave of absence from his Shell Gasoline job to sign to Cash Money, how close Kanye West came to signing with them, where they were for the Saints Super Bowl run, the weirdest sound Mannie Fresh suggested to them in the studio, when the last time they went somewhere they weren't recognized, their thoughts on Brad Pitt's work post-Katrina, how the Ha Remix with Jay-Z came about, when they first met Bun B, what Juve thought when Swizz Beatz sent Down Bottom, which New York artists were their biggest supporters, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome manager Ramya Velury to the Upper West Side! Known for her work with Ravie B, Goldlink, Tommy Genesis, Amrit and EQT, Ramya discusses growing up an only child in an Indian family in tiny Ashland, Kentucky, with big dreams, destined for the big city. Ramya talks about making the move and leaving her Kentucky roots and accent behind, her early days at New York University, designing her own major, studying in a class based around Diddy, customizing her own wardrobe, getting to know up-and-coming artists, befriending A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg and Action Bronson, and finding her place in the scene. We get into why she may have been a bad intern for Karlie Hustle, introducing herself to Funk Flex, working at Hot 97's Summer Jam, the importance of knowing what you don't want to do, working the door at Up & Down, the myths of club life, promoting shows, meeting Harry Bernstein of Agency88 and starting work in the agency world, and easing up on her studies so she could focus on having real New York City experiences. Ramya remembers her post-graduate life, moving to a fifth-floor walk-up at St. Mark's, how she and Goldlink connected and built trust, how she dove in the deep end on their first European tour, what value she brings to each of her clients, flying to Paris to pitch Tommy Genesis on building a business together, the subsequent album and tour rollout, the importance of building relationships horizontally, and the exciting future at EQT. All that, plus competitive tap dancing, #FutureHive, her friendship with David Amaya, Nur Ozdamar's skin care, the difference between a Southern accent and a country accent, hanging out at Walmart, the wrong way to dye your hair, putting your phone down and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Hot 97 personality, Interscope recording artist and official member of the Heavy Hitters, DJ Megan Ryte to the Upper West Side! Megan, who escaped an abusive household as an early teen, went to college at age 16, and followed her passion for music and performance from Virginia to Florida to Texas and California before landing her dream job in New York, discusses for the first time in detail her significant health scares from last year. Megan talks about growing up in a household with no popular music, what led her to study pre-med, what it was like to discover hip-hop in college and how she dove head first into DJing. We get into her love of Eminem's music, going on the road with Amerie and K. Michelle, her big move down south, the creative ways she got on radio programmers' radars, living paycheck to paycheck, almost being cast on Love & Hip-Hop Miami, and what it felt like to have a radio vet tell her she wasn't cut out to be an on-air talent. Megan gets into her time as a jack-of-all-trades at a station in West Palm Beach, the opportunity that took her to Houston, how she fell in love with chopped and screwed music, finally finding acceptance and comfort in Texas, and when that same radio vet came back calling to have her audition for a spot at NYC's Hot97, the amazing words that Bun B spoke to send her on her way. We discuss Megan's transition to NYC life, how long it took to get used to being in that famed booth, building relationships with artists both young and established around the country, what she's aiming to bring to the clubs with her new music and everything that her Brooklyn brother DJ Enuff brings into her life. All that, plus meeting a new blood brother as adults, how she kept in shape in Miami, being around shootouts in the club, the quickest way to clear the dance floor (besides shootouts), learning to rely on others after a lifetime of handling everything on her own, and much, much more in this epic episode!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Roc Nation manager and marketing executive, Nelly Ortiz! Nelly, who is best known for her work alongside DJ Khaled, J. Cole and Big Sean, talks about growing up the daughter of two active members of the Army, what it was like to move cities a dozen times, how it became easier to leave as she got older, where she really considers home, the work she put into making new friends at each stop, and her role in the formative girl group, The Flower Girls. Nelly discusses her college dreams, her thoughts of following in the footsteps of her parents and joining the Armed Services, her passion for marketing, her love of learning and the heartbreak of being turned down for a Fulbright scholarship. We dive into her journey through the music industry, from securing an internship at Sony Music Latin in Miami to buying a one-way ticket to New York in the hopes of taking any position in the label system, why she showed up to work an hour early each day, how she kept relationships alive, and how Roc Nation came to bring her abroad to handle marketing and partnerships. We talk about her going to business school online while working on the rollout of Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, working with DJ Khaled in Miami, being awarded a slot in Billboard Magazine's 40 Under 40 and - after all of these major moves - how it felt to move to Los Angeles to start this new chapter. All that plus: Shark Tank, Lenny S' gold couch, the perfect radio voice, what it means to be a coquito executive, what it was like to be in high school when Nelly Furtado and Nelly were popping when your name is Nelly and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome our great friend, the photographer Raven Varona, better known as Ravie B, to the Upper West Side! Known best for her images of Jay-Z and Beyonce, Cardi B, Future, LeBron James, Big Sean, D'ussePalooza and more, Raven discusses how she's leveled up in the last two years and explains her artistic ambitions for the year ahead. In this inspirational and dynamic episode, Raven talks about the logistics of the On The Run II tour, the type of organization it takes to keep track of 4000 new photos a night, the lens and shoes she packed and used while on the road for five months, the pros and cons of international Benihanas, how crew members spent their off-hours, and the picture from South Africa that most significantly matches her vision. We get into how she ended up flying a plane, why she doesn't have her driver's license, watching Game of Thrones with her boyfriend Mike, her rules for game night, teaching Low Key the right way to play Uno, and the biggest news concerning her love of seafood. We break down the values of social media validation, the theoretical perks of being an influencer, her relationships with Yvette Noel-Schure, David Amaya, Renell Medrano, Aleali May, her mother Leigh, what it felt like to see her photographs on a Times Square billboard and on official OTR II merch, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome acclaimed photographer, visionary and professor Clay Patrick McBride to the Upper West Side! Clay breaks down the stories behind his brilliant images of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, The LOX, Lil Kim, Fat Joe, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Green Day, Metallica, Nas, Juelz Santana, Indian Larry, Norah Jones, among others. Clay discusses growing up two hours north of New York City in Sullivan County a metalhead prone to vices, living in the shadow of his brother, long in search of himself, getting clean, the support of his father, and the fateful day he picked up a camera and looked through its lens. We talk about his time in France studying impressionist painting, his return to New York City, where he spent a year taking self-portraits and ultimately saw into his subjects' eyes, and how he proved to Vibe Magazine, The Source and XXL that his work could live in their pages. Clay shares incredible tales about his legendary SLAM cover with AI, building the Oval Office for XXL's President Carter cover, putting the Red Hot Chili Peppers into the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band uniforms, and a light almost electrocuting Lil Kim while she bathed in a hot tub. We get into his philosophy behind the lens, on set, in the classroom, regarding legacy, editing, being present, digital vs. film, picture takers vs. picture makers, the imagery he has on his walls at home, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we travelled to Los Angeles and finally sat down with John Legend for a deep, hilarious and very meaningful conversation! Thanks to Angelo, Richard and Todd at NightBird Recording Studio for the hospitality!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we hit the West Coast to speak with one of Los Angeles' greatest cheerleaders, the founder of the popular music website Passion of the Weiss and the heartbeat of TheLAnd Magazine, writer and editor Jeff Weiss! Jeff details what sparked the boycott of LA Weekly, the history of alt newspapers in the United States, what local journalism means in 2019, and why he and so many others have chosen to put their entireties into launching a new publication that speaks the language of his city. We get into his family's long roots in California, his affinity for the Beat Generation, growing up on West Coast rap, writing about Kendrick Lamar and 03 Greedo at the beginnings of their careers, as well as Snoop Dogg on the eve of getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. We discuss Jeff's work in documenting Lil Boosie's trial and the greater goings on in Baton Rouge, his history playing baseball and how a .360 batting average got him a writing job, how he ended up in feuds of different degrees with Magic Johnson, Post Malone and Deer Hunter, and the project closest to his heart that currently sits in his desk drawer. All that, plus stories about Eric Davis, Cobra Snake, Rick Ross, Alex Blagg, Mark Lisanti, blogroll placement, the resources necessary to keep music blogs alive, and much, much more! If you'd like to help support, or request a copy of TheLAnd, head to theLAnd.com
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we went out to LA to sit down with the legend himself, John Monopoly, to talk about being the at the epicenter of the Chicago music scene for almost thirty years! Known most notably for his work as Kanye West's manager, we talk about his upbringing in Chicago's Johnson family, his early Soul Train memories, going to grade school with Common and No I.D., promoting shows and making beats and getting money in high school, meeting Kanye back in 1990, why he decamped for Atlanta and why he returned home and what Jay Boogie means to the city. We discuss Mnop meeting his cousin Don C and how they took over the night life scene in the Windy City, how they got The Beatnuts to town, the story behind bringing Jay-Z and Foxy Brown to the Chi, and of course, the city's most notorious party celebrating the hottest rapper on the scene, Da Brat. John goes into detail about trying to break the Go Getters and Kanye West records, attending the Mixshow Power Summit, making and maintaining relationships, how Chris Lighty recruited Mnop to work at Violator Management, and what it felt like to leave Chicago for New York. We reminisce on Kanye's chaining day, how he got the news of Kanye's car crash, the initial struggles of Through the Wire on the radio, how Syleena Johnson ended up on All Falls Down, the highs of The College Dropout and The Grammys and ultimately what led to his parting ways with Ye in 2008. We discuss John's work with Valee, Z Money, Virgil Abloh, Hitmaka FKA Young Berg, Dreezy, King Louie, his nephew London on Da Track, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Dirtbag, Cool & Dre, G.O.O.D. Music, Mona Scott, Todd Moscowitz, Puffy, Cam'ron and Jim Jones, his being diagnosed as bipolar, the value in discussing mental health, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome COO of Visionary Music Group, Harrison Remler to sit down with us at our new apartment on the Upper West Side! Part of Logic's management team for the past seven years and a 2018 recipient of the Forbes 30 Under 30 honor, Harrison discusses his upbringing on the north shore of Long Island, his dedication to high school baseball, his father's dreams of him becoming a big league relief pitcher, meeting Mariano Rivera at a restaurant in Panama, and why the flame of top-tier athletics burned out at his Division III school, Vassar College. Harry, well-aware of the power of social media and the music blogs, used both to start a college career as a concert promoter, getting his artists respectable pay days whether for high school proms or selling out NYC's Canal Room. At the time, he looked up to independent managers like Benji Grinberg and Will Dzombak, and when he garnered the interest of Logic's manager, Chris Zarou, he immediately offered to intern in exchange for the chance to learn the ins and outs of the music business. Harry details moving around the United States at age 19 as Logic's tour manager, the big responsibilities, the ridiculous quandaries and the large amounts of money that fell on his shoulders - none of it going into his own pockets - but knowing that he was an early part of something significant, putting together Logic's first appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the life-changing moment where he had to decide between traveling to a Spring Break tourney with his baseball team, or joining Logic on his first European tour. We get into Logic's signing to Def Jam, working on Jon Bellion's career, learning how to push and poke and encourage a major music label while operating out of a basement in Long Island, and the most gratifying moment of his career, Logic's VMA performance which brought together suicide survivors and spread awareness. All that, plus news about Visionary's new situation with Sony Music, stories about Method Man and Redman, Tayyib Ali, AER, DJ Vinny Bags, the Panama Canal, hunting Nazis and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome super-producer Hitmaka to the Upper West Side to detail the ups and downs of his one-of-one journey as a chart-topping rapper, a hustler, an aimless creative, a ghostwriter and ultimately the most surprising bounce back story and rebrand to become the most in-demand producer in the business. Hitmaka discusses his Chicago upbringing to well-off parents, dropping out of school as a young teen to chase down his hip-hop dreams, linking up with street management which led to opportunities to spit over Kanye West production, rap for Jay-Z, meet Aaliyah, and end up signing to DMX. Hitmaka describes his fallout with his family, his exile to a Montana boot camp which led to his fallout with DMX, reconnecting with childhood friend Shawnna as her career began to take off, getting into Chicago street life to get by, moving to Los Angeles to write for an artist signed to Eve, running around with young Hollywood types, taking a flyer on some young producers and convincing them to join him in LA, and writing the music that would get him - Yung Berg - signed as an artist to Epic Records. We talk about linking up with Ray J, getting bailed out of jail by Shaq, what it was like touring the country as his record Sexy Can I shot to the top of charts, the difference of opinion he and his label head had over follow up record, how his time at Epic came to an end, and how NFL offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie gave him a lifeline. Hitmaka talks about how important his friendship to Jeremih has been, how he began to use his talents for building a hit song to help other artists like Nicki Minaj, 2 Chainz, Meek Mill, Ty Dolla $ign, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane, King Louie and any artist you can think of, and how he holds no grudges at anyone in business. All that, plus stories about Joe Budden, Mike Caren, LEP Bogus Boys, Troy Carter, Bri Steves, his Transformer chain, his hugely anticipated upcoming album and much, much, much more! Listen now wherever podcasts are playing!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome host of the Netflix series Patriot Act, Hasan Minhaj, to the Upper West Side! Hasan discusses growing up in Davis, California, a kid into basketball and rap, how he flourished on his high school debate team and found performative similarities to stand-up comedy, his decision to not attend his dream college, the nights he snuck out of his parents' house to do open mic nights, and how his dad ultimately found out. We discuss winning stand-up competitions in the Bay, moving to Los Angeles and experiencing the dark years of fighting to find his voice and his place, living off of small acting parts and TV commercials, and starting a video series that caught the eyes of producers from The Daily Show. Hasan details his Daily Show audition, his field pieces across the United States, what it was like having Jon Stewart as a boss, and what it was like when Jon broke the news to the correspondents that he was leaving the program. We talk about the extremely well-received special he did in his hometown, the best phone call he received after hosting the White House Correspondents Dinner, making a home in New York City, his admiration of Trevor Noah, the emotion surrounding his own departure from The Daily Show, and his experiences in hosting his own program on Netflix. All that, plus Jerry Seinfeld, Benjamin Kickz, Samantha Bee, Saudi Arabia, Sneaker Shopping, Michael Jordan, Steve Kerr and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome celebrity stylist for Odell Beckham Jr., Rita Ora, Russell Westbrook, Issa Rae, Erykah Badu, Gucci Mane and more, Jason Rembert to the Upper West Side! We discuss growing up the son of a single mother with four siblings in Far Rockaway, Queens, taking the bus two hours to attend school, his favorite subjects being math and dressing the best and how he graduated a year early and headed off to college. We talk about the jobs he held down selling kids' suits at Nordstrom and then preparing meals in a hospital kitchen, his failed application to intern at Vibe Magazine, before throwing a late-night, Hail Mary attempt for an spot at ELLE, knowing nothing at all about the publication. Jason gets into his time fetching coffee, rearranging closets and learning at the elbow of some of the great editors in fashion, moving over to W Magazine where the tone and energy were way different, what his family thought of his new workplace, and how one day he found himself assisting the stylist for Alicia Keys, and saw the potential in pairing high end brand names with staples from the projects he grew up in. We discuss the early work he got through Carline Balan, the missed opportunity he had with Lady Gaga, how he bounced back from personal and professional losses, and the stellar 2018 he had in which he was recognized for his ground breaking achievements by the CFDA, by artists and athletes alike, by the industry at large, as well as the greater Instagram audience. All that, plus how Jason balances his family life, what separates him in a very competitive business, what he thinks of the fanny pack trend, how he keeps his kids grounded, what his freshman year roommate wore day in and day out to Jason's dismay, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome Variety's 2018 Manager of the Year Dre London to the Upper West Side! In this wide-ranging and personal conversation, we discuss everything from becoming a trusted member of French Montana and Max B's inner circle a decade ago to helping guide Post Malone into uncharted streaming territory throughout 2018, the aftermath of being kicked out of high school in South London at age 15, hustling to get by, moving to the United States with no connections and no green card, leading with his gut instincts, studying the game, moving to Los Angeles, meeting a young, video-gaming, super-talented genreless musician and joining him on a ride that has them currently selling out arenas, and for the first time, talking about what it was like in the troubled private plane with Post on their way to England, when they had to prepare for the worst. All that and so much more in this very inspirational and very funny episode!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 12 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we welcome viral sensation, deer whisperer and friend to all animals, Brother Nature to the Upper West Side for a wide-ranging and personal conversation!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 11 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we welcome rapper/DJ/comedian from Brooklyn by way of Cinncinati Donwill to the Upper West Side for a wide-ranging and personal conversation!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 10 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we welcome new SVP of Video at Capitol Records Emmanuelle Cuny-Panicker to the Upper West Side for a wide-ranging and personal conversation!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 9 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, it's another episode of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies! Eric, Jeff, Styles, Sheek and Jadakiss watched the 1990 American Christmas comedy Home Alone! There's never been a movie review show as fun as this - listen and let us know what you think!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 8 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we welcome manager for Flatbush Zombies, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, A$AP Twelvyy and Hector Delgado, Josh Dick to the Upper West Side for a wide-ranging and personal conversation!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 7 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we welcome the legendary singer/songwriter/producer The-Dream to the Upper West Side for a wide-ranging and personal conversation!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 6 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we welcome podcaster/WWE writer/D'ussePalooza founding member Kaz Famuyide to the Upper West Side for a wide-ranging and personal conversation!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 5 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we welcome podcaster/author/digital strategist/interviewer/awesome person Aminatou Sow to the Upper West Side for a wide-ranging and personal conversation!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 4 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, it's another episode of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies! Eric, Jeff, Styles and Sheek watched the 1980 American satirical disaster film Airplane! There's never been a movie review show as fun as this - listen and let us know what you think!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, for Day 3 of the #12DaysOfPodcasts, we went down to Miami to visit with Denzel Curry for a wide-ranging and personal conversation. Listen now wherever podcasts are playing.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Houston, Texas rapper, newest signee to 300, Instagram legend and current student at Texas Southern University, Megan Thee Stallion to the Upper West Side! Megan discusses growing up loving school, getting trouble for cursing at a young age, making best friends during a food fight, always being the tallest in her grade, trying every sport and giving up, why she'd be a Plastic in her version of Mean Girls, and how she didn't win Prom Queen but still ended up bodying the night. We talk about secretly writing rhymes during high school, how shy she was as a teen, going to college with plans to be a nurse, putting stress aside and forming a new persona, finding beats on YouTube and starting a rap career on campus, when she found out her mother was a rapper, and the skepticism when her mom found out she rapped. We get into her debut show at SXSW, why she won't perform in a skirt anymore, her viral freestyle over Tay K's The Race, Missy Elliott shouting her out on Twitter, Q-Tip reaching out to offer advice and support and encouraging her ratchetness, Drake and The Migos throwing money to her song in a Houston strip club, what it was like when Kevin Liles walked in the room to sign her to 300, how much her mother likes her raunchy lyrics, and the surprising song that her mom feels she should emulate. All that, plus how her grandmother lurks on IG, practicing what it will be like when she finally meets Beyonce, how she's waiting for a dude to approach her in real life instead of DMing emojis, her southern accent, the dumbest way she's broken a nail, her upcoming project Fever and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Meek Mill's engineer Anthony Cruz to the Upper West Side to talk how Championships was put together, when he first heard the Jay-Z vocals, how the Drake collaboration came together, how he felt when Meek shouted him out, and how he felt when The Joe Budden Podcast shouted him out. With Meek's videographer Will joining in, we discuss Meek's shining disposition, how grounded he is, how diligent he is in the studio, recording sessions in Los Angeles and New York City, their best Rick Ross stories, and how they spent their time while Meek was away. Cruz gets into his upbringing as an Army brat, moving from Oklahoma to Colorado to Georgia, graduating from Georgia State with an English degree, leaving his job in sales and putting all of his savings into learning to engineer at Full Sail University, making his way to New York where he worked two jobs to maintain while being shut down by studio after studio, and the miraculous circumstance that led to an internship at Roc the Mic. Cruz talks about studying at the arm of Young Guru, how he learned by playing his part and not overstepping his bounds, covering a Jay Electronica session, how OG Juan and Desiree were instrumental in his career, how he and Meek found a one-of-a-kind working relationship, his partnership with A&R Dallas Martin, plus stories about J. Cole, Teyana Taylor, Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Ed Sheeran, Robinson Cano, Why Don't We and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome NBA/sneaker/hip-hop writer, editor, commentator and confidant Russ Bengtson to the Upper West Side! Russ talks growing up in Long Island, his early interest in journalism, being a Chicago Bulls fan in New York, attending the University of Delaware, his classmate and fellow journalist Jeff Pearlman, and his first job out of college working for a tiny newspaper in rural Pennsylvania where he was hands-on in every aspect of the publication. We discuss how SLAM Magazine reached out to him, what exactly "Senior Editor" meant, his early dealings with Clyde Drexler, Scottie Pippin and Charles Barkley, JR Rider being cut from the Hawks before an interview, Kobe Bryant's respecting SLAM over other publications, Allen Iverson's magnetism, Stephon Marbury's unbelievable heart and talent, connecting Kevin Garnett and Jonathan Mannion for a legendary photo shoot, and the good and bad realities of choosing a magazine cover months ahead of time. Russ gets into his time as Editor in Chief of SLAM, his great partner in crime Lang Whitaker, in what ways Shaq and Nigel Sylvester are similar, Patrick Ewing not acknowledging him for two years, SLAM's reputation according to beat writers as opposed to enthusiasts, and why his time at the publication came to an end. We cover his freelance days, his introduction to Complex, the early days of Twitter, how page views and traffic changed the way writing worked, where Quickstrike - his sneaker show with Clark Kent - succeeded and where it missed opportunities, and his new documentary with Complex, Sole Origins. All that, plus stories about Pig Miller, Rasheed Wallace, Mobb Deep, Gregg Popovich, getting robbed on his apartment's front steps, University of Delaware's short time in the NCAA tourney, his Twitter block list, his love of heavy metal and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome arguably the producer of the year Kenny Beats to the Upper West Side! Kenny talks growing up in Connecticut always the tallest kid in his class, taking breakdancing classes, noodling on the guitar, the moment his mind awakened to music production, and the days he'd spend in a beat-making program recreating Timbaland beats he'd heard in the Jay-Z documentary Fade to Black. Kenny talks about his high school internship at RCA, his off-the-books internship for Jonny Shipes, going off to Berklee College of Music, getting ahead of his peers, becoming a staple of the hip-hop scene in Boston, trading his own supply of weed for the opportunity to hang with Ab-Soul, how that friendship got his first beats placed with ScHoolboy Q and Smoke DZA. We discuss transitioning into the EDM scene, touring the world as the DJ LOUDPVCK, putting on elaborately produced shows, how his beats weren't a huge departure from his hip-hop catalog, how ultimately his heart wasn't in the EDM world and the dark results it had on him physically, mentally and emotionally. Kenny talks giving up the DJ life, his reset, being down to his last $1k, locking himself in his room and composing records he truly cared about, and how he reintroduced himself into hip-hop through his work with HoodRich Pablo Juan, Key!, Rico Nasty, Lil Wop and more. All that, plus how he separates himself from other producers, why he prefers being in studio with an artist, how he stepped up his vocal production, what working on full projects with Vince Staples and 03 Greedo mean to him, his special collaborative album with ALLBLACK, how he knew his beats were winning, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Tru Life to the Upper West Side for one of the realest, most harrowing, most compelling and inspiring conversations we've ever had. Tru details his tough early years in New York City's Lower East Side, how he decided school wasn't for him, how music led to recording sessions at Mark and Donnie Wahlberg's studio, connecting with Snoop Dogg, and how Ving Rhames looked out strictly because he believed in Tru Life's talents. We discuss the DVD era and how the drama undermined an artist's talents, how Sickamore brought out the best in Tru's abilities, how Green Lantern called up Jay-Z and convinced him to not fly out of town and instead take a meeting with Tru Life, how Jay refused to let Tru leave the office until he signed a deal with Roc La Familia, and how Cipha Sounds started off as Tru's A&R, but became as close as blood brothers. Tru gets into his time away, the weight of facing a life sentence, figuring out whether loyalty and codes really meant anything, the tears he shed over not seeing his kids grow up, why he dedicated himself to his studies, and what ultimately got him through his eight years behind bars. We get into the realities of going from the system to freedom, how he wasn't ready for the trappings of the music industry upon his release, how he's grown over the past two years, moving to the suburbs, and what he's bringing to the table with his new music. All that, plus stories about Jay, Beyonce, TI, Future, Bobby Shmurda, Tory Lanez, Jim Jones, the inmates who broke out of Clinton Correctional Facility while he was there, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome super publicist (Beyonce, Destiny's Child, John Legend, Mariah Carey, Prince) and favorite daughter of Grenada, Yvette Noel-Schure, to the Upper West Side! Yvette discusses growing up in Birch Grove, Grenada, living with her grandparents when her mother was sent to the United States for medical treatment, doing the extensive shopping her for grandfather's supermarket as a child, and knowing early how special her homeland was. We talk about her move to New York City as a teenager, how hard a transition it was socially and environmentally, working hard in school in the hopes of one day becoming a writer, riding the subway for the first time, and taking a job at Burger King where the love of her life would be standing on line. Yvette gets into her college years studying journalism at City College of New York with her first son by her side, living next door to the Hells Angels, getting her drivers license in order to commute to her first gig at a newspaper, eventually finding a position at Black Beat Magazine, scoring a coveted interview with Tupac on the set of Poetic Justice, and why Sony Music approached her to become a publicist. We discuss landing Mariah's Ebony Magazine cover, getting trampled by teenagers looking to get a piece of Bow Wow in Times Square, Prince's incredible memory of the first time he was in a room with Yvette, and what how Yvette worked to set Destiny's Child apart in an overly-crowded girl-group space. We talk about John Legend's classic debut album, the stellar team who worked at Columbia/Sony Urban in those days, giving journalists a midnight phone call to announce Beyonce's surprise album release, the wonderful humans that Tina Knowles-Lawson and Matthew Knowles are, and how Yvette's role as publicist has evolved as Beyonce's one-of-a-kind stature and talent has grown through the years. All that, plus why she'll never write a book about the music industry, how she sees every person that enters her life, why she left Sony Music, the house fire that changed her life, and so much more!
For Episode 8 of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies, Eric, Jeff, Styles and Sheek went to an NYC preview screening of Jonah Hill's directorial debut mid90s, sat down afterwards and broke down the film. There's never been a movie review show as fun as this - listen and let us know what you think!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome DJ, producer, Fool's Gold co-founder, travel professional, and our friend A-Trak back to the Upper West Side! We talk the 2nd Annual Goldie Awards (A-Trak's DJ & beat battle, happening Nov. 8th in Brooklyn - get your tickets at goldieawards.com), working with his brother Dave-1 from Chromeo, playing on the same Maxim bill as the Jackass guys (minus Johnny Knoxville), the hidden treasures in SkyMall, the infamous producer group chat that Just Blaze started, the long-rumored Cam'Ron project, Fool's Gold Day Off, what to do when a DJ has to use the bathroom, airlines losing his vinyl, fonts, design, perfectionism, his travel tips website Infinite Legroom, stories about Ice-T, Young Thug, Common, Nick Catchdubs, Lil Jon, Timbaland, Non Phixion, The-Dream, and much, much more!
For Episode 7 of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies, Eric, Jeff, Styles, Sheek and Jadakiss were joined by a raucous audience at Highline Ballroom in NYC to watch and break down the 1993 blockbuster film Jurassic Park. There's never been a movie review show as fun as this - listen and let us know what you think!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome the cohost of ESPN's Jalen & Jacoby, David Jacoby to the Upper West Side! Jacoby discusses how he went from cutting pizza slices in Amherst, Massachusetts to cutting lines at the Empire State Building to cutting corners at MTV's Spring Break. Jacoby talks about what he learned in business school, how he got more from selling soaps in Soho than making calls for brokerage firms, how he ended up moving cigarettes through Europe, and ultimately found himself on the shores of Amsterdam. We get into his time at the ESPYs, producing a TV show based around rappers and athletes' shoe collections, shaping Sports Nation during its early years, how he helped Bill Simmons in creating the Grantland Network of podcasts, and the dynamic on-air pairing of Jalen Rose and David Jacoby. All that, plus stories about Don King, Jadakiss’ #T5DOA statue, Trick Daddy, Biz Markie, Jason and Jeremy Giambi, Sugar Ray, Nick Catchdubs, Teck from The Real World, Bobbito Garcia, what ESPN gifts employees after 20 years, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Roc Nation singer/songwriter/rapper and son of Seattle, Washington, Jay Park to the Upper West Side! Jay speaks on growing up the son of travel agents in the Emerald City, running around town with his crew on a mission to make a career out of breakdancing, doing poorly in school and hiding his report cards from his parents, and with his back against the wall, auditioned for a Korean talent competition, which ended up getting him cast in a boy band. With his folks going through a tough time, Jay took the gig to support his family and flew to South Korea knowing nothing of the language or culture, not to mention the shock of K-Pop artist development. We discuss his time in 2PM, what differentiated them from 2AM, their supergroup 1 Day, his attempts to work the system and take care of his body and soul without losing who he was over three and a half years before they ever dropped a project, and why he left the group. Jay gets into the reality of coming back to Seattle, his job working at a used tire shop, how his love for music came back, how starting to sing YouTube covers in the bathroom gained him a fanbase, why he felt weird about it, and how it ultimately make him an international draw once again. All that, plus the levels of Korean tattoos, friends by convenience, holding onto creative control, getting a 2 Chainz verse, living in Korea as former member of a boy band, becoming a businessman, his latest project Ask Bout Me, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we traveled to Atlanta to sit down with the blogger's blogger, the influencer's influencer, the internet's favorite voice, and the first website owner to get kicked out of VIP by the celebrity of the hour, the founder of Crunk & Disorderly, Freshalina! Fresh discusses growing up in a small town outside Jacksonville, listening to "Up North" rap via her brother's friends, creating websites and jumping into chat rooms in middle school, working high school jobs at Arby's and Subway, getting into pre-fights with kids around town, and almost joining the Air Force, before going into Jobs Corps instead. Fresh talks about how she started Crunk & Disorderly as a side hustle to express her voice while working at a bank during the day, how people - and bigger companies - started to pay attention thanks to her singular style and unfiltered humor, what it felt like to receive a fan email from Pharrell, how traffic jumped after she posted the picture of Birdman and Wayne kissing, her time working for SOHH and XXL, and why she ultimately decided to focus her time and energy on her own blog. We get into her TV writing experience, her shift into marketing and consulting, what she thinks about influence vs checks, why she didn't sell out to a big network, how social media brought about a huge change in speed and tone while also spelling out the death of blogs, and how she learned early to have a bunch of different projects, so as not to just go down with the ship. All that plus her foray into podcasting, the most notable characters from her blogging days, why it's currently Nivea SZN, the blank CD hustle, being on Kanye's blogroll, the Def Jam conference calls, Brendan Frederick's influence on rap internet, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Louisville, Kentucky native, Atlanta, Georgia resident, Mean Streets fixture and future of Generation Now, Jack Harlow to the Upper West Side! In addition to discussing his uncanny resemblance to ItsTheReal, we talk about committing to music in middle school, knowing that he wasn't college material in high school, bodying his Sway freestyle, his aversion to being challenged by producers, the difference between before and after his Dark Knight project, meeting with Quality Control, signing with DJ Drama and Don Cannon, why his crew is called Private Garden, why he's taking hair medicine at his age, his parents' sign business, Cardinals vs. Wildcats, how he performs in new cities, how he doesn't write rhymes down any more and if he ever gets writer's block, glasses vs. contacts, his new project Loose, plus stories about Natasha Bedingfield, Lil B, Lil Uzi Vert, Fetty Wap, a man named Randy from Atlanta, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Atlanta-based photographer/director/marketer/visionary Cam Kirk to the Upper West Side! Cam talks growing up in Maryland, how his divorced parents parented differently, how seriously he took religion in eighth grade, his love for R&B, how quiet he was in high school, how he expected to attend a PWI but ultimately found himself at Morehouse, his beginnings in pre-med, why he switched to marketing, how he booked Wiz Khalifa to perform in Atlanta, why that - and not his father's photography business - led him to buy a camera and start taking pictures, what it was like to work with Young Scooter, the details behind the infamous Gucci Mane boxing photograph, meeting Metro Boomin, learning how to be a fly on the wall in the recording studio, thinking of images with a marketing mind rather than s strictly artistic one, pitching Lil Yachty for a billboard, the reasons behind opening up his own photography studio in Atlanta, why he won't photograph his own parents, his appreciation for Ravie B, Gunner Stahl, Renell Medrano, and much, much more!
For Episode 6 of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies, Eric, Jeff, Styles, Sheek and Jadakiss watched a very bootlegged version of the 1985 martial arts film The Last Dragon. There's never been a movie review show as fun as this - listen and let us know what you think! And don't forget to go to ItsTheReal.com and get your tickets to see 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies LIVE Oct. 3rd at Highline Ballroom in NYC!!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Dreamville's own, Chevy Chase native, the talented, the funny, the soulful singer Ari Lennox to the Upper West Side! Ari talks growing up in the DMV area, skipping class to visit museums, how she worked on her vocal training, attending five high schools in four years, working at Old Navy, Pizza Hut and movie theaters, why she chose not to go to college, what led her to get on a Greyhound bus heading West, the fears of a bus ride like that, getting kicked out of her first LA apartment within a week, working as an extra in films, simplifying her sound, singing for the likes of Eric Benet, hoping that Beyonce would find her YouTube covers, working with Omen, the reaction to her song "Backseat," ending up in a relationship in Charlotte and working at a Public Storage when she got the call from Dreamville president Ib Hamad to fly back out to LA to work in the studio, meeting and writing with J.Cole, not getting signed as soon as she had hoped, going home, waiting, and months later making it formal with Dreamville. All that plus retirement talk, where the name "Ari Lennox" comes from, her friendships with the other Dreamville artists, Aries vs. Leos, her vocal coach Teapot, what in the world Commander Salamander is, and much, much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome one-half of LNDN DRGZ, one-third of G-Worthy and one of one, the West Coast's own Jay Worthy to the Upper West Side! As certified as they come, we talk with Jay about LNDN DRGZ's super-dope album Active, why he hated the idea of being a rapper, his days of selling hair out of his trunk with Freeway Ricky Ross, how he became the guy that Vice had to check in with when they wanted to film their series Bompton, recording music at Sarah McLachlan's house, A$AP Yams' attempts to sign him, his friendship with Taxstone, running into Drake at a Canadian club, hanging out with Curren$y in New Orleans, collaborating with Sean House, Left Brain, Alchemist, Cardo Got Wings, and his long-time friend DJ Mustard, the influence of his brother and sister, his young manager Ezra, how he feels with Blood talk having gone mainstream, all the record labels who've been reaching out, and much more!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we pay tribute to our friend Malcolm McCormick AKA Mac Miller, who tragically passed away last week at the far-far-far too young age of 26. Mac was a beautiful human being whose art, whose kindness and whose fine nature brought light and love to this world. We were lucky enough to be friends with Mac for most of our career and each of our collaborations were filled with joy and humor and smarts and something special to the three of us. Outside of the business, we had true love for one another, and like so many people this week, we're heartbroken. Please enjoy the words and wisdom and wonder of the legend Mac Miller from our 2015 episode, recorded in Brooklyn. Long live Malcolm McCormick.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Founder and Co-CEO of Cornerstone and Co-Founder of The FADER Rob Stone to the Upper West Side! Rob talks growing up on Long Island, spending his summers loading and unloading trucks with his father in East New York, attending University of Albany, throwing parties, getting diagnosed with cancer at 19, leaving school, getting into fighting mode, and how hip-hop got him through his radiation treatments. We discuss graduating college only to sell bracelets and run from cops at Jones Beach, becoming an assistant at SBK Records, learning record promotion, taking a job at Clive Davis' Arista Records, overseeing the marketing and promotion for Bad Boy Entertainment and LaFace Records, and the one reason he refused to take a huge job at Motown Records. Rob dives into what it took to co-found music and marketing agency Cornerstone with lifelong friend Jon Cohen, the most important relationships he made along the way, and how they made DJs the centerpiece to both their marketing strategy and the creation of The FADER. We get into what it meant to build his own brand, what it meant for his father to see it happen before he passed, and what it means to show his twin sons. All that, plus great stories about Biggie, Puffy, Kanye, Pharrell, Jonathan Mannion, Drake, Lyor Cohen, Andre Harrell, Mariah Carey, Steve Rifkind, Hot 97's Steve Smith, Dave Mays of The Source, Sprite, Converse, FADER Fort and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome comedian, rapper, singer, actor, internet expert and all-around amazing personality Lil Duval to the Upper West Side! Duval talks growing up in hardscrabble Jacksonville, Florida, driving at age 13, selling crack around town, dancing in high school talent shows, and knowing that he'd be an entertainer outside the city lines. We discuss his move to Atlanta where at 20 years old, he pretended to be a high school student, how he started doing standup around town, began his own comedy night on Tuesdays, could pick off hecklers in an audience, gained a loyal audience right away, especially with celebrities, made cameos in music videos, and took claim to the city. We get into his brief move to Los Angeles, how he didn't capitalize on catchphrases he had, what co-signs meant the most, meeting Charlamagne Tha God via MySpace, the benefits of taking your time, the best colleges he would play around the country, where his song ideas come from, how everyone tried to box him into a certain career, why he signed a record deal with EMPIRE, and how many people come up to him now with the success of his single, Smile (Living My Best Life), thinking he's finally made it. All that, plus what the Jaguars meant when they moved to Jacksonville, how wrong CelebrityNetWorth.com is, what time of the day he'll get phone calls from Snoop Dogg, what he turned his backyard into, what T.I.'s wedding was like, why he hates the Dallas Cowboys and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Def Jam A&R, Tyga's consigliere and the Bay Area's native son AE to the Upper West Side! One of the best personalities and most genuine young souls in the music business, AE discusses growing up fast in North Oakland and going to school in East Oakland, sharing a room with his sister, playing basketball with bigger aspirations, skating through high school, doing Costco runs with the principal, his group The A'z, winning Battle of the Bay on KMEL, meeting B2K and joining them on tour. We talk about how B2K put the group to work, and how AE set himself apart, the deals that record companies and TV channels offered, how executives were afraid of face tattoos, their popularity all over the world, tensions between group members and management, and why they ultimately broke up. AE gets into meeting Tyga before he was rapping, how Tyga's good energy and his BBC collection made him stand out, how they reconnected after eight or so years when AE was walking in Hollywood and looked above for a sign. We go in depth about rehabilitating Tyga's career, how trusting their friendship is, how Taste - arguably the song of Summer 2018 - came about, and how that led to Def Jam hiring him as A&R. All that, plus his experiences with Young Thug, YK Osirus, Bria Myles, Kanye West, Wyoming, Ryan Coogler, Steven Victor, Valee, Smash Mouth, where he was when the Pusha-Drake beef went off, how he operates as a new music executive, what he's looking for in artists and producers, how he uses emojis in 2018, and much, much more! Yadadameeaan!
For Episode 5 of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies, Eric, Jeff, Styles and Sheek hit HBO to check out the 1998 romantic comedy You've Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan and co-starring Dave Chappelle and Steve Zahn. There's never been a movie review show as fun as this - listen and let us know what you think! And don't forget to go to ItsTheReal.com and get your tickets to see 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies LIVE Oct. 3rd at Highline Ballroom in NYC!!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we mark the 200th episode of our podcast by telling our story. Each week for over three years, we've conversed with artists, producers, writers, executives, comedians, actors, on-air personalities and dope humans, diving into their ups, their downs, their successes and their vulnerable moments, ultimately celebrating each guest's incredible journey. On Episode 200, we asked the great writer and editor Naomi Zeichner (formerly the EIC of The Fader; currently at YouTube) to stop by the Upper West Side to interview us. We discussed how our family, creativity, day camp, earnestness, the internet, G-Funk, The Office, Kanye West, Consequence, Lyor Cohen, Bun B, DJ Green Lantern, Miss Info, HBO, MTV, NahRight, love and loss shaped our lives and our decade-long-plus career.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Chicago's own clothing designer and entreprenuer Joe Freshgoods to the Upper West Side! Joe discusses his start on Chicago's West Side, ironing images onto t-shirts and selling them in high school, getting fired from Niketown, dropping out of college, working at Leaders 1354 while selling his own t-shirts in the style of a drug dealer, receiving a cease and desist for using the word "dope," reimagining his brand, experiencing SXSW with the Illroots crew, getting high and creating his infamous Rihanna hat, getting checks from Karmaloop, opening a store up out of his apartment, teaming up with Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, printing Kanye-related material, developing Obama-related material, and ultimately partnering up with brands like McDonald's, Nike, Adidas, and always maintaining credibility and cool. All that, plus why he hates the term "fast fashion," what Don C means, how hard it is to run a clothing store, why narratives matter, who wore his legendary tye-dye sweatshirts, working at Subway, seeing his face on giant photos at Nike, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome ESPN personality, writer for The Undefeated, proud Michigander and UNO champion Jemele Hill to the Upper West Side! Jemele discusses her upbringing in Detroit, falling in love with baseball and sports writing at a young age, the perks of interning at the Detroit Free Press as a high schooler, the pull of both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, her experiences as a college intern at landmark papers in Philadelphia, Cleveland and Detroit, and ultimately driving with her mom down to her first staff job, down in Raleigh, North Carolina. We talk about returning to the Detroit Free Press as a columnist, what brought her down to Orlando, her infamous story with Willis McGahee , how that simultaneously almost got her suspended and got her the attention of ESPN, how even though ESPN wasn't her dream job, she saw and took opportunities, and changed her own trajectory. We dive into podcasting vs. TV production, working with an earpiece live on air, how ESPN approached her and Michael Smith to host SportsCenter, and how she considers her time behind that infamous desk. All that plus interviewing Aaliyah, covering the 1995 Cleveland Indians, Boyz II Men, ride-alongs, 2 Live Crew, what Stuart Scott meant to her, her thoughts on The New York Daily News' recent staff firings, how her feelings on Lil Jon's music have changed through the years, the biggest misconceptions of her online and so much more!! Also, please make sure to pre-order our new lined notebook with original ItsTheReal material - RHYME BOOK - on Amazon.com!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we traveled down to Brooklyn for a visit with the one and only Action Bronson! In this sidesplittingly funny episode, we sat down with Bam Bam Baklava over bagels to talk Flushing, Queens, why he's a fan of the New York Yankees, how he thinks his infamous Funk Flex freestyle went, how he injured his knee running from Germans, making plans for chicken parm with Lenny Dykstra, why Alchemist dresses the way he does, the calendar Jeff made where he photoshopped Action into Renaissance paintings, peeing in between subway cars, what Bobby Brown's like in the kitchen, why exactly he got fired from Citi Field, what Tommy Mas meant to his career, what he learned from Paul Rosenberg, what he feels he could have done different while at Atlantic Records, his longtime relationship with Vice, where the name Fuck That's Delicious comes from, what he thinks about White Rappers, what it's really like to cook on Late Night with Seth Meyers, what rap camp at Alchemist's house is like, why he shaved his face, what it says on the Post-It that Robert DeNiro gave him, AND SO MUCH MORE! Also, please make sure to pre-order our new lined notebook with original ItsTheReal material - RHYME BOOK - on Amazon.com!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, the second of our two-part episode with BET host, digital media personality, and all-around defender of the culture Mouse Jones! Mouse, a high school dropout from Long Island with dashed dreams and a history in the streets, who found discipline and teamwork in the Navy, stayed down in Virginia after an honorable discharge, cutting hair, but also selling guns. Mouse discusses why people around town felt a certain way about him, talks us through the attempt on his life that shook him into reality, the phone call with his step father that brought him back to his family in New York, a second near-death experience, and exactly how fast he ran to church to be saved. Mouse gets into what the church meant to him, what comedy meant to him, how he made the two work together, how he reunited with his biological father and why it fell apart once more. We discuss chance encounters with Jimmy Fallon and Royce da 5'9, how much work it took to launch his podcast, his own beliefs on how to approach people, how he leaned on Cory Townes for guidance, how generous Lowkey was with advice on how to host parties, what it meant to work on the TRL reboot on MTV, how he took a small opportunity with BET and hit it out of the ballpark, how in the world he went from moving guns in Virginia to moving a sold-out crowd at Staples Center in LA, and much more! Listen now to Parts 1 and 2 on iTunes and soundcloud and everywhere else!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome BET host, digital media personality, and all-around defender of the culture Mouse Jones to the Upper West Side! In Part 1 of this 2-episode podcast, Mouse discusses his upbringing on Long Island, how his step father became more indispensable than his own blood relatives, his work and opinions as a sweeper boy at the local barber shop, how he got involved with the streets as a lone wolf, his early dreams of journalism and a college career at Howard University, why he gave up on high school, how he found out he was a teenage father, how his cousin duped him into joining the Navy, how he almost bombed out of boot camp, how he shaped up and shipped out, bought into watching the backs of his peers and the wishes of his commanders, was honorably discharged, found himself living in Virginia, cutting hair and cutting up, and why exactly he thought he'd never make it out of there alive... Tune in on Thursday for the amazing second part of Mouse's journey!
For Episode 4 of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies, Eric, Jeff, Styles, Sheek and special guest Jadakiss hit Netflix to check out the 1983 comedy Trading Places, starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd. There's never been a movie review show as fun as this. Listen and let us know what you think!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome Capitol Music Group's SVP of Brand Partnerships, Brian Nolan, to the Upper West Side to discuss his time and work with J. Cole, Migos, Three6Mafia, ESPN and his own division at Capitol, seventeenfifty! A Silver Spring, MD native, Brian talks growing up a hip-hop fan in the melting pot of Washington, DC suburbs, the lessons he learned caddying for the likes of Alan Greenspan and Mike Wilbon, taking cues from his older brother, chasing baseball-playing dreams to James Madison University where he majored in marketing, finding his way to NYC for an internship at Rawkus Records, and how he focused his sights on the music industry. After a promised-job never materialized, Brian returned to Washington and to the golf course, and ultimately found his way into a mailroom, where he worked his way up from sending records to working them as a field marketing rep in Philadelphia. After earning his stripes putting up posters, Brian graduated to Sony Urban where he rode the tour bus with Juicy J, DJ Paul and Crunchy Black, helped their record Stay Fly go from 15 spins to fully taking over the airwaves, and saw them win Oscars and go Hollyhood. Brian remembers Jay-Z and Jay Brown bringing J. Cole to the label as one of three priorities from Roc Nation, and reminisces on the work Cole and Ib Hamad and their team put in to go from performing for tiny crowds and in conference rooms for small-city radio programmers to putting huge numbers on the boards, selling out arenas, and becoming a voice of a generation. Brian discusses how he took advantage of a ceiling at his radio job, combined his interests in music and sports, and fostered relationships with athletes and executives alike, using his skillset to make his mark in brand partnerships, and how he leveled up in his new role at Capitol, especially in working with Coach K and Pee at Quality Control. All that, plus stories about Ruben Studdard, Rembert Browne, Jemele Hill, David Cho, Naima Cochrane, Destiny's Child, John Legend, Ray Cash, go-go music, Freeky Zekey, Tiger Woods, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Bad Boy recording artist King Combs, to the Upper West Side! The son of Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs and Kim Porter, Christian AKA King Combs, discusses growing up the son of hip-hop royalty, moving from the East Coast to the West Coast, with a couple stops in Columbus, Georgia, his memories of hanging out in Central Park and getting McDonald's in Times Square, his mother's excellent cooking, getting to know his neighbors in Calabasas, CA, how he celebrated his 16th birthday, why it took so long to get his drivers license, and how he attended five proms in high school. We talk about watching 106 & Park growing up, dance battling Rihanna, who the best dancer in the Combs family is, meeting and collaborating with Smooky Margielaa, the importance of writing his own rhymes, when he started taking rap seriously as a career, and how exactly he approached his label-owner father with his own art. We get into hanging out in Remy Ma's kitchen, what it was like to be around the Bad Boy Reunion Tour, almost signing to G.O.O.D. Music, taking the SATs with the dream of going to USC, walking in fashion shows, his CYN crew, how he never trips, his new project 90's Baby, and much more!
For Episode 3 of 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review the Movies, Eric, Jeff, Styles and Sheek hit Netflix to check out the celebrated Disney/Pixar computer animated film Coco. There's never been a movie review show as fun as this. Listen and let us know what you think! AND JUST KNOW: SPOILERS ARE UNAVOIDABLE IF YOU PRESS PLAY.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome the amazingly talented, super-funny, and brilliant rapper/singer/filmmaker/storyteller Tierra Whack to the Upper West Side! Tierra, in her first extended interview, goes into depth on growing up in Philadelphia with her mother and two younger siblings, auditioning to get into an arts high school an hour away, her profecientcy for singing and visual arts, how much her principal hated hip-hop, the genesis of Dizzle Dizz, meeting Meek Mill, and how she ended up on Cosmic Kev's radio show, freestyling for fourteen minutes. We discuss her family's big move to Atlanta in the middle of high school, working at a car wash alongside a team of former convicts, making crazy amounts of cash by cleaning cars for 2 Chainz, Rocko, Future and barely missing Andre 3000, attending a high school that was "ratchet as fuck," slowly finding her real rap persona via ciphers, and honing in on her sound by herself on her laptop. We get into her return to Philly, now using her given name, not caring what any critics had to say, washing dishes at a restaurant to get by, doing intimate shows at tiny venues, scouring Vimeo to find the perfect cinematographer to compliment her music, putting out dynamic music videos, and the reaction to her 15-minute opus, Whack World. Tierra talks surprises, Human Centipede 2, Flying Lotus, Melanie Martinez, not putting stickers on laptops, seeing herself on billboards, when she figured out she was creative, her rules on social media promotion, taking in all the success, going right on to the next project, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome back to the East Coast, director, creative director and muffin god Justin Fleischer to the Upper West Side! Justin, who over the past few years has worked alongside Logic as a documentary filmmaker and music video director has recently stepped up to oversee the development of Logic's artists under his Elysium imprint. We discuss Justin's upbringing in Keene, New Hampshire, the amazing time he spent living in the Dominican Republic as a high school and the positive effect it had on his development, graduating Georgetown University and going into teaching in New York City. We talk about the ups and downs of the public school system, the night he decided to leave education, and how he hustled and freelanced and took manual labor jobs to make it in the City and ultimately work his way into the music and video business. We get into his work with battle MC Iron Solomon, videoing Statik Selektah and Tony Touch's guests' freestyles, studying filmmaking under the tutelage of Coodie & Chike, what Alex Ciccimarro meant to his career and life, shooting original content for HotNewHipHop, and eventually traveling around the world with Logic. All that, plus pumpkins, the boundaries to documentary filmmaking, New York City stories, Japanese owl cafes, Brooklyn's hate for ISIS, how we feel about Vermont, French Montana's monkey Julius Caesar, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome sports anchor and reporter and host of the 'TimeOut with Taylor Rooks' podcast, Gwinnett County's own, Taylor Rooks! Taylor discusses growing up in Georgia a driven student, a caring sister, and a poor parallel parker, why she chose to attend University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, her aspirations to be Barbara Walters meets Oprah, what she learned in class vs. the work she put in on her first blog, and how she hustled to get one-on-one interviews with LeBron James and Kevin Durant. We talk about how she wanted to circumvent the traditional job application formula and career ladder climb, how close she was to returning home after college without a job, what the Big Ten Network meant to her, what living in Chicago was like for a 21-year old, and the thinking behind making her way to NYC. Taylor recounts her time at SNY, why she started her podcast, how she booked Meek Mill for one of his first interviews after being released from prison, and how meaningful it is to speak directly with her audience, rather than at them. All that, plus family reunions, karaoke favorites, her sneaker collection, why she hasn't yet attended D'ussePalooza, what her grandmother thinks of her broadcasts, the effect Taylor Swift has on her name, and so much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome British rapper Dave to the Upper West Side! Dave, AKA Santan Dave, talks about his breakout hit Wanna Know, how Drake reached out to appear on the remix, how OVO did right by him, and what that one song meant in terms of radio, festivals and recognition. We discuss Dave's youth in South London, not having much of a relationship with his two older brothers when they were growing up, and what it was like to visit his siblings throughout their stops in the prison system. We dive into Dave's proficiancy at piano, his early attempts at rapping, how movie soundtracks opened his ears in a new way, the inspiration in Meek Mill's music, and how his own freestyles on Blackbox and Fire in the Booth launched him into a legitimate career while trying to balance his studies at university. We talk about his collaborations with J Hus, AJ Tracey, Fraser T. Smith, how he started doing his own production, what spurred him into getting political in his own rhymes, and how his powerful song Hangman came about. All that, plus traveling with his new puppy, shooting music videos in Europe, football referees, dreaming of Aston Martins, touring around the world, and the confusion that comes with being a rapper named just Dave.
Today on a special bonus episode celebrating the 3-Year Anniversary of A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome super-producer, rapper, professor, art collector and party starter Swizz Beatz to the Upper West Side! We talk Ruff Ryders, DMX, The Lox, Jay-Z, Roc-A-Fella, Michael Jackson, Eve, T.I., his epic battle with Just Blaze, Cassidy vs. Freeway, Yung Wun, Metallica, Atlanta, the South Bronx, Funk Flex, Alicia Keys, Summer Jam, D'ussePalooza, Woodstock '99, studio sessions, plaques, rollerskating, teaching at NYU, why he initially got into collecting art, artists to look out for, his fire truck, and so much more!
Today on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome singer Ella Mai, whose song Boo'd Up has been called the song of the summer, to the Upper West Side! Ella talks growing up in South London, moving across the pond to New York City in eighth grade, going to high school in Queens, and because she got unwanted attention from her English accent, she focused on playing soccer and shied away from her natural singing ability. We discuss Ella's return to London after senior year theater internship, getting a job in the back rooms of Top Shop, and while at college joining a girl group called Arize, their short run on the TV show X Factor followed by their split, and how Ella rebounded by doing 15-second song covers solo on Instagram. We talk about how the videos went viral, DJ Mustard reached out, Ella's return trip to NYC on her own dime, the prolific work she and Mustard created over the course of one evening and how it led to more work in Los Angeles, recording with Ty Dolla $ign, ultimately signing to DJ Mustard's imprint at Interscope Records, 10 Summers. And most amazing of all, how Bay Area DJ Big Von took a chance on one of Ella's EP cuts from 2017, watched the club go up in front of his eyes, and launched the unlikely rise of the hit song of Summer 2018, Boo'd Up. All that, plus much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Montreal, Canada's own, Chromeo back to the Upper West Side! Dave-1 and P-Thugg stop by to discuss their fifth studio album, Head Over Heels, which is executive produced by A-Trak and drops June 15th, their collaborations with DRAM, The-Dream, French Montana and Stefflon Don and more, why they chose to record this project in Burbank, California, how they challenged themselves in the studio, and what it means to follow up a radio-friendly song like Jealous. Chromeo talks growing up in Montreal as crate diggers, discovering funk through DJ Quik, maintaining mundane jobs while recording music was a hobby, the humor and sincerity of their music, how they nailed their first big show for Vice in New York City and subsequently failed in front of tiny audiences, how they landed a record deal on an obscure Canadian techno label, why Myspace and dance music helped turn their careers around, what a pop record feels like, what Atlantic Records expects of them, the criticisms they read and save, and how their big goal is to improve. All that plus the Michael Bolton-like songs that got cut, an EP with The-Dream, thoughts on the Yodeling Kid, Tekashi69, recording in France, the sophistication of The Simpsons, Phil Collins vs. Peter Gabriel, Awesome 80's compilations, their amazing new stage and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome Queens Village's own DJ Whoo Kid to the Upper West Side! Most known for his work as 50 Cent's touring DJ, we discuss seeing Tupac walk by his house during the Digital Underground days, taking a summer school course with DJ Clue, how exactly he got leaked songs from record labels, Puff's reaction after Whoo Kid used a previously unreleased Biggie verse for his song with 50, Eminem's look-alike from the Anger Management tour, who they called Partial Mathers, the number one thing you don't want to do at 50's Connecticut mansion, having a gun pulled on him by Big Pun, having a gun pulled on him by T.I., dubbing mixtapes while working as a security guard at the airport, Suge Knight looking for him after he leaked an unreleased Tupac verse, kicking Kanye out of the studio the night Ye got into his car accident, how Howard Stern ruined Whoo Kid's life, finding his way out of a fist fight with DJ Kay Slay in the streets, fronting like he was the official DJ for Bad Boy Records, connecting a teenage Big Sean with Kanye in Detroit, how he evolved his interviews at SiriusXM into the wild conversations he's famous for today, whatever happened to the album he owed to Capitol, and so much more!!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome Miami rapper Sylvan LaCue to the Upper West Side! Sylvan discusses his upbringing in a one-bedroom apartment with his mother and brother, growing up playing video games, writing rap fan fiction at school, recording music after school until the equipment was stolen, walking miles to a new recording studio, working at Outback Steakhouse, battle rapping with The Sunshine Boys, falling out with his mom and moving out, and why his barber deserves a ton of credit in his journey. We talk his connection to TAG Records, what NaS, Lil Bow Wow and Lupe Fiasco meant to his career, reconnecting with his hustler father until they got evicted from their apartment, making a name for himself as QuESt, putting a bunch of mixtapes out, falling in love with the blogs at the height of the blogging era, meeting with Atlantic Records, connecting with Ro Ransom, Mickey Factz, PreZZure, XV and ultimately Logic, who took him on tour, let him perform in front of giant crowds, and signed him to Visionary Music Group. Sylvan gets very honest about what he was looking for and why he left Logic's crew and how tough it was to start anew, with a new name, a new sound and a new outlook. We talk falling out of love with music, falling in love with coffee, moving to Oakland, stumbling onto an instrumental that spoke to him in a new way, putting a subsequent song and video out without any expectations, and watching the song catch on through streaming and YouTube plays, launching Sylvan's career in a wholly authentic and inspiring new way. All that plus bath salts, opening for DMX, having a car with no windows, why he's named Sylvan, visiting Harlem and looking for Un Kasa, Kanye announcing his album's name was the same as Sylvan's, why you shouldn't eat the Blooming Onion, and much more!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we welcome our amazing friend and SVP of Marketing at Atlantic Records, Marsha St. Hubert, to the Upper West Side! Marsha, whose outstanding work with Cardi B helped her claim a number 1 album on the Billboard charts last week, has a whole lotta wins on the scoreboard thanks to her time with Gucci Mane, Kodak Black, Maino, Lupe Fiasco, TI, Tamar Braxton, DJ Drama and Wiz Khalifa. The daughter of a Haitian immigrant, a latchkey girl living in ungentrified Flatbush, Brooklyn with her tough-love mother who worked two jobs to send her to Catholic school, we talk about spending each summer in Haiti with her father and her mischievous brother, playing high school sports, going to college with the goal to become a lawyer like Claire Huxtable and nixing that plan real quick, landing back home and taking a job with a PR firm, where she didn't last long after moments like asking Dame Dash if she could listen to his iPod. Marsha remembers interning for Lyor Cohen at Def Jam, moving over with him when he took the CEO position at Warner Music Group, establishing herself as a people person and learning the A&R side of the business at Atlantic Records, and moving into marketing for early projects by Maino, DJ Drama and TI's P$C. We discuss how specific Lupe's vision was for Lasers, the hours she spent on the phone with him, how far her relationship with Wiz evolved after he signed to Atlantic and initially ignored everyone in the building, and why she felt it was the right move to leave for a position at Epic Records. Marsha gets into working with Tamar, how hard she and her team worked to get that number one record, having a baby and juggling responsibilities to her family and as a businesswoman. Marsha details her return to Atlantic, the amazing ways they rolled out Gucci's first album while he was on house arrest, working Kodak's first project while he was locked up, the reaction to Cardi's unprecedented run, her feelings on Billboard's recent piece on the dearth of Black executives in music, the different leadership styles of Lyor Cohen, LA Reid and Julie Greenwald, the talented co-workers she's collaborated with through the years, and so very much more in this truly excellent episode!
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal, we welcome East Harlem's own Jim Jones to the Upper West Side to talk Dipset Christmas, why he didn't do a solo deal at Roc-A-Fella, random remixes, sneaker shopping, being in the belt business with A$AP Ferg, Funk Flex's car shows, working with Rsonist of The Heatmakerz, being the fashionable kid in high school, bringing 100 people with him to The Tunnel, the effect he had on the music industry by engineering his own sessions, blowing budgets at the club, his love-hate relationship with his song Ballin', what he thought when 50 Cent called Koch Records a "graveyard," not signing J. Cole, his own Broadway show, how Mona Scott stole his reality TV show, being the NYC tour guides for visiting artists, and much, much more! This episode is presented by Martell, the legendary maker of the world's finest cognacs, including Martell Blue Swift and VS Single Distillery.
This week on A Waste of Time with ItsTheReal we traveled to New Orleans, home of WrestleMania 34, having never watched wrestling in our lives, to learn from fanatics Wale, Smoke DZA and Kaz what exactly we've been missing this whole time. This hilarious and informative conversation is wide-ranging, from how the guys got into wrestling, to what matters more between storylines and action, the time that Jake the Snake's snake really bit Randy Savage, how the WWE compares to Pixar movies, Ric Flair's Woo, Mr. Socko, betting on matches, veterans changing fights while they're in the ring, who has the best promo game, John 3:16, the McMahon family, meeting Kassius Ohno fka Chris Hero, Mick Foley losing an ear, whether this is the best era of wrestling, how The Miz compares to Cardi B, their predictions for how WrestleMania 34 would go down, and so much more! This episode is presented by Martell, the legendary maker of the world's finest cognacs, including Martell Blue Swift and VS Single Distillery.