Fifty-three minutes into the first episode of Drink Champs—after host N.O.R.E. has just talked about going to the mall with Ja Rule as white kids heckled him with “G-G-G-G-G-Unit” chants, but before he gets into an epic tale about trying to get DMX to record a verse when the dog would rather race remote control cars—his guest Fat Joe hollers, “Yo N.O.R.E., why’d they give you a podcast?”
While N.O.R.E.’s stories are obviously amazing, what Fat Joe means is that the rap world should be put on notice now that he has a venue to air them so publicly.
N.O.R.E., working with co-host and Miami mainstay DJ EFN, gladly allows things to get unfocused in the studio as the alcohol flows freely. “It’s barbershop talk, after the barbershop is closed,” says N.O.R.E, “It’s when the barber wants to smoke a joint and he’s just got his friends in there and he has a drink after his duty is done.”
Despite the drunkenness, hip-hop geeks will still be able to grab knowledge jewels from it, like that Nas turned down the beat for what became N.E.R.D.’s “Lapdance” because Pharrell’s shirt was too tight. Or there’s the one about how Fat Joe’s meal with Kid Frost in the Bronx exposed some racial rifts.
Between 2009 and 2011, N.O.R.E. and EFN had a show together on XM Radio (then Sirius XM) called Militainment Crazy Raw Radio. With Drink Champs they’ve resurrected their partnership in a new form for CBS’s Play.It network. N.O.R.E. has been a guest on other podcasts, including Rap Radar’s one last week, but he makes an intriguing host, happy to turn his war stories and tour stories into the main subject of conversation. “As a fan, you never get to hear real, unfiltered conversations between artists who are friends or have a background with each other,” says EFN. “It’s a real unfiltered conversation that gets even more unfiltered as we continue to drink.”
Drink Champs already has several episodes in the can, featuring guests including Kenny Anderson, Capone, Gunplay, the three members of The Lox, and Charlamagne tha God—all people that the hosts know well. Or as N.O.R.E. explains, “For the first season, I didn’t want to interview people that I had to Google.”