“State of the Culture” is the show you turn on to hear unfiltered, unapologetic, gritty opinions in regards to topics within hip hop culture — whether you agree with what’s being said or not. Joe Budden, Remy Ma, Jinx, and Eboni K. Williams aren’t here to hold your hand in their debates and sugarcoat their words. They’re here to say what everyone else is afraid of saying, and do so with no hesitation. From talking about music, politics, sports and everything in between; the hosts never hold back. Welcome to “State of the Culture.”
This week, “State Of The Culture” had a substantial list of topics to dive into — many of them having to do with the ongoing Verzuz battles that are taking place and the ones yet to come. Remy and Joe recap the battle between RZA vs. DJ Premier’s face off, which ended differently than they predicted. They also get into the rumored Verzuz battle between Ja Rule and 50 Cent, which fans are rooting for, but Remy has concerns about. We’re also talking about Michael Jordan’s documentary, as it calls into questions whether or not celebs have an obligation to give back. Lastly, we’re putting Eboni in the hot seat with “Going Left.”
Check out the nine gems from this week’s State Of The Culture below.
1. SOTC is divided on the Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent Verzuz battle
The hosts have differing opinions on the Ja Rule vs. 50 Cent Verzuz battle that’s been rumored to be in the works. Jinx says this matchup is perfect because of their storied beef. “Ja Rule and 50 Cent are both characters,” he explains. “And also, people sleep on Ja Rule, but he’s got hits. It will be entertaining for the music and because we care about them both.” Eboni doesn’t think the battle is happening. “Because of 50’s level of pettiness, he’s not going to do anything to add relevancy or shine for Ja Rule.” Remy reminds us of the seriousness of their beef at one point, it’s best not to “open that Pandora’s box.”
2. The outcome of RZA vs. DJ Premier went against expectations
Last week, SOTC saw the battle against these two hip hop vets ending in Premier’s favor. This week, they’re singing a much different tune. Remy thinks RZA’s song selection and order was much stronger than Preem’s, and Joe agrees. “I thought RZA was, but I also thought Preem let him,” he says. “It was almost like he threw the fight.” Joe goes on to talk about songs like “So Ghetto” by JAY-Z and “I Gave You Power” by Nas that showcased some of Premier’s best producing. Nonetheless, the respect for both legends still stands. Jinx thinks “it ultimately comes down to showmanship.”
3. Rappers, keep your comments to yourselves
Joe and Remy noticed a lot of rappers commenting on the IG live battle between RZA and Premier. “Any rapper whose pen really don’t go like that, they knew not to comment. Just sit here and watch,” Rem said. Joe added that he actually did see rappers commenting about songs they didn’t like, warning them that “the comments are going to get one of y’all hurt.”
4. Teddy Riley vs. Babyface all comes down to the techie stuff
Before seeing the live finally go down last night, Jinx accurately predicted that the battle would all come down to who has a better grip on technology. “The catalogue matters, but a big part of these battles comes down to who knows how to use Instagram Live properly,” he said. “It’s kind of annoying watching a nigga troubleshoot for 17 minutes.” Joe thinks this is the one battle that deserves to go longer than 20 rounds. Eboni feels Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis would be a better match up with Babyface in terms of sound, but they just don’t have an expansive enough catalogue. Remy remembers moments of her life that were soundtracked by Babyface, and they still hold a special place in her heart.
5. Did you know Eboni was once an aspiring rapper?
Story time! Speaking of Teddy Riley, Eboni says she recorded a demo tape as a kid that her mom sent to Riley’s studio. That’s right. Had things played out differently, she would’ve been a rapper. She admits, “It was fucking awful.”
6. The Clark Sisters biopic gets a thumbs up
Eboni gets in her gospel bag as she discusses The Clark Sisters biopic that aired on Lifetime. “I was highly impressed with the vocals,” says Eboni. “In this moment of COVID[-19] and the emotional heaviness, it was the feel good moment I needed.” Remy Ma was initially interested in the film because it was executive produced by Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott and Mary J, Blige. After giving the film a try, she fell in love it with it. ”I feel like every character was transparent,” she said.
7. Michael Jordan’s new documentary may offer some context to his polarizing reputation
Michael Jordan and his docu-series “The Last Dance” (which has since aired since this taping) was on the docket this week, and ignited a heated debate. Jinx says he hopes the series will give us “a better understanding of why he did the things he did.” Joe doesn’t mince words about Jordan’s reputation off the court. “I take the ‘Republicans buy sneakers too’ comment a certain way when I’ve never seen you speak up on behalf of black issues,” he said. Eboni concurs by saying he’s had a large platform and neglected to use it for the benefit of his community. Remy disagrees, adding, “We have to stop making our celebrities feel like they have to give back to the community and do it publicly.” Joe believes that if the internet was around during Jordan’s time, it would have impacted his reputation. “There’s stories floating around about Mike that aren’t so endearing,” he reminded us.
8. Should celebrities have an obligation to give back?
On the topic of Jordan and celebrities using their platforms for good, Remy and Eboni square off in a debate about just how much superstars owe back to their communities once they make it. Eboni says she fundamentally believes that “when you have a platform, you have a responsibility.” Remy disagrees, asking, “Because I have a talent and perfected my craft, does that mean I have a responsibility to stand up for a politician that’s the same skin color as me?” She goes on to say that Jordan’s priority to give back should be to his immediate family members, and that the culture shouldn’t feel entitled to a piece of his success.
9. Eboni can’t fight and she’s not ashamed
Eboni is in the hot seat on this week’s “Going Left” segment, and she gets right to the meat and potatoes of it. “No Remy, I can’t fight. But I can litigate and that’s exactly why I went to law school.” She also answers questions about qualities that have turned off guys, and how people perceive her time at Fox News.