Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV's "Drink Champs," which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly "Drink Champs" episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
We knew this week would be a hard one for obvious reasons. For one, the untimely passing of Nipsey Hussle has left us all in a somber state -- questioning why such a promising and giving young talent was taken from us so soon. Secondly, we’re sad to be saying goodbye (for now), as SOTC wraps up its season finale.
Don’t be down, though. We’re ending on a high note, as we reflect on the life and legacy of the prolific Nipsey and all of the amazing things he put into motion. We’re also celebrating Lupita Nyong’o, Big Sean and Jordan Peele for putting black folks on the map in similar ways.
Black excellence is always first and foremost, but it wouldn’t be "State of the Culture" without getting to the shits. In particular, we’re talking about two male celebrities who might have crossed their boundaries in their adoration for two very married women.
Peep the nine best gems from the "State Of The Culture" season one finale.
1. SOTC panelists break down the reasons Nipsey Hussle’s death hit us so hard
Remy Ma says she shed tears of anger. She says: “I know personally people that would not hesitate to pull out a firearm and use it against the guy that grew up in [the same neighborhood] their whole life. But, if police pull up on them, it’s ‘yes, officer.’ They don’t have that same energy against the people that, to me, are the real enemies.” For Jinx, the situation underscores a huge flaw in society. “No one respects life,” he says. “It’s the ultimate. There’s nothing bigger than the gift of life. To take that from someone, how twisted do you have to be?” Joe -- like all of us -- was stunned and hurt by the news. “I’ve never experienced a death like this in hip hop,” he says. “Not many people know their purpose in life, period. For him to know his at such an early age and go about things in that manner is a blessing. I find comfort in that.”
2. Joe feels the mental health conversation is an important part of the Nipsey conversation
Count on Joe to make sense of a story with so many moving parts. While Nipsey’s tragic death has inspired us to re-explore topics relevant to our culture -- black on black crime, PTSD, gun violence -- one of the topics that’s trailing off is mental health. He reminds us that Eric Holder, Nipsey’s alleged killer, had a documented history of mental illness predating the shooting. Jinx says: “There’s all these factors that have been in motion. How do you make it in this?’ Remy feels Holder’s mental health state doesn’t change the reality of the situation. “That doesn’t negate you from responsibility,” she adds.
3. We don’t die, we multiply
Because he was an artist first, it’s only right to begin with the imprint Nipsey left behind with his music. After being approached by Rick Ross to join his Maybach Music label, Nip respectfully declined and continued to forge ahead as an independent artist. As with everything else he pursued, the rollout of Nip’s catalogue was pointed and persistent. Jinx calls out the fact that his career, ironically, was very much a marathon in its own right. “That’s something you don’t see in music that often,” he explains. “Someone willing to take their time and do this mixtape thing the way they want, and then when they drop an album, it's immaculate.” Nipsey should also be applauded for putting major numbers on the board when commercial album sales were in sharp decline and streaming wasn’t as evolved. While all of that is amazing by itself, Remy concludes that Nipsey’s legacy is rooted in so much more than music, including his involvement in STEM programs for kids and initiatives to end gun violence. “The things he did outside of music, to me, is what’s going to make his legacy even stronger,” she says. Joe acknowledges that, in some morbid way, his legacy is something we aspire to. “This is how we all envision us leaving...with this amount of respect,” he adds. Jinx eventually takes us home with an age old saying, “We don’t die, we multiply...the way that he lives on, [we see that] it’s true.”
4. Omari, Why?
The tea on everyone’s lips following the NAACP Awards was Omari Hardwick’s too close for comfort cheek kiss on Beyonce. Though the Carters played it cool, we the people had some questions. Jinx can’t help but ask, “Why?” Remy finds it amusing how the entire Beyhive united to get Omari together. Hell, she did, too.
5. Christian Combs got next!
Diddy’s son Christian Combs is steady building momentum as a young artist to watch. The SOTC panelists talks about his recent EP Cyncerely, C3 where he rhymes over beloved throwback tracks from the ‘90s. Joe salutes the young king for paying homage to the past. “Not many young kids have this appreciation that he does,” he says.
6. SOTC For NAACP!
Remy Ma gives a beloved shout out to the ladies of "The Real," who won best talk show. It’s all love from her side, but now Joe and Jinx think SOTC deserves a slot in the nominee category. “How the fuck is 'The Real' up here,” Joe jokes. “You think we’re talking about all this pro black shit for our health?” There’s always next season!
7. August Alsina may have jumped out the window with this one
Welp, Remy told us so. In the video for his recent cover of Kehlani’s “Nunya” song, August Alsina shows text messages between him and a fictional character named Korin (which just so happens to be Jada Pinkett Smith’s middle name.) This only fuels rumors of an suspected affair between the two, even though both insist that they’re just friends. When the subject came up in a previous episode, Joe felt guilty speculating about the Smiths. Now, the issue is too blatant to ignore. “How do you have a bucket list and punching August Alsina in the face isn’t on it?” Joe questions referencing Will Smith’s new Facebook show. The panel collectively agrees that this move was peak messy and clout chasing. Not OK!
8. SOTC is going on a road trip!
Even though this season of "State of the Culture" is wrapping up, we won’t be gone for long. SOTC is taking their show on the road -- literally -- as they join the REVOLT Hip Hop Summit, making stops in Los Angeles and Atlanta in July and October. REVOLT is partnering with AT&T and offering folks the chance to catch live performances of their favorite shows like "Drink Champs" and, of course, "State of the Culture." Bring your onesies, it's gonna be a movie!
9. Horror for us, by us
The horror genre is slowly but surely becoming a more inclusive space for black actors. In the past, the running joke was that the black guy died in the first 10 minutes of a scary movie. Now, we’re the heartbeat of these films. Octavia Spencer will star in the upcoming horror-thriller Ma, which is unlike anything she’s ever done. Remy Ma wants to see black characters represented more fully in period pieces. “I’m not believing that all the black people in the entire world [back then] were slaves,” she says. “Can we get some dope time period movies where we’re not slaves?”**
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