The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.
Schools, restaurants, and bars are closed across the nation and many folks are stuck working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic. This means that commuting to the office while listening to a favorite podcast is no longer a thing for many workers for the foreseeable future. What’s the next best thing? Listening to these 13 hip hop-oriented podcasts while working remotely, of course. Think of it as a way to get all of that knowledge while saving on gas money. Check them out below.
1. Drink Champs
N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN pouring up with legendary rap figures is always a recipe for an entertaining listen. “Drink Champs” is billed as “The most professional, unprofessional podcast… PERIOD!” It has featured rappers like Nas, Lil’ Wayne, Fabolous; media luminaries including Diddy, Angie Martinez, and Master P; and athletes like Lamar Odom drinking and discussing the culture.
2. Hip Hop Can Save the World
This podcast is focused on hip hop education and the influence the culture has on youths’ development. It features scholars and professors that use hip hop as a teaching tool. It is hosted by Manny Faces. Perfect for staying woke during the ‘Rona.
3. The Joe Budden Podcast
The “State of the Culture” host has his own podcast in addition to all of his other business endeavors. If you’re intrigued by his opinionated critique of rappers and their music, this podcast should definitely be on your radar. It is co-hosted by Rory and Mal, and features some very candid conversations.
4. People’s Party with Talib Kweli
If you didn’t know, Talib Kweli has a podcast where he interviews well-known guests every week. He is joined by co-host Jasmine Leigh and they chop it up about all things hip hop culture and politics. Kweli makes the time to take a part political trolls on Twitter, so be prepared for an informed dialogue when you tune in. The name of the podcast itself is a historical reference to a progressive political party. Some of his pasts guests include Jadakiss, Rapsody, Ice Cube, and Lil’ Kim.
5. Bodega Boys
Before “Desus & Mero” took over their late night niche, first on Viceland and ultimately Showtime, there was the Bodega Boys podcast. The Bronx, New York natives take their name from the ubiquitous corner stores that dot intersections across New York City. This podcast features their signature brand of comedy that urbanites from all coasts can relate to, but is definitely influenced by their home borough. They’ve recently expanded into animation with a partnership with Cash App as well, but the original podcast is where it’s at.
6. All The Smoke
NBA figures Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson want “All The Smoke” when it comes to their podcast. The respected former pro ballers talk with other athletes, artists, and media personalities about everything that goes down on and off the court. Past guests include Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Snoop Dogg, and Jemele Hill among others. The podcast is produced in collaboration with Showtime.
7. The Breaks
If you tune in to NPR’s Saturday night hip hop show on KUTX 98.9 FM in Austin, you’re probably familiar with “The Breaks.” For everyone else, the podcast is syndicated and features local hosts Confucius and Fresh breaking down current events in the rap world and beyond. Austin is the live music capitol of the world, so their take on hip hop focuses on local talent as well as all of the incredible music that comes through the Texas capital. Topics range from Coronavirus impacting SXSW to why they love female rappers, and so much more.
“Dissect” labels itself as “A Serialized Music Podcast.” Starting in 2015, each season takes a deep dive and explores a single album the whole way through — song by song. Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and the Pulitzer Prize-winning DAMN.; Tyler, The Creator’s Flower Boy, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Frank Ocean’s catalog, and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy have all been analyzed by the team.
9. Questlove Supreme
The Roots’ drummer and crate-digger aficionado Amir “Questlove” Thompson hosts “Questlove Supreme.” The name is a call out to a classic John Coltrane album called A Love Supreme. It’s website bio describes it as “a fun, irreverent and educational weekly podcast that digs deep into the stories of musical legends and cultural icons…” Past guests include Chris Rock, Michelle Obama, Kurtis Blow, and DJ D-Nice.
Mogul is a six-episode podcast focused on a single music industry icon. According to The New Yorker, “Mogul tells the story of hip hop — and stories about friendship, ambition, depression, creativity, and the American Dream — through the life of the late Chris Lighty, who started out carrying record crates for Kool DJ Red Alert as a teenager and ended up managing artists like Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliott, Nas, and 50 Cent.” It was hosted by the late Reggie Ossé, host of The Combat Jack Show.
11. Broken Record
While “Broken Record” doesn’t focus exclusively on hip hop, there are some episodes that make it qualified to be on this list. It is hosted by Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin, writer Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam, and Justin Richmond. Run The Jewels, Wyclef Jean, Questlove, Tyler, The Creator, Andre 3000, and more have all been guests. The format is the digital equivalent of reading the liner notes on your favorite album for those that used to — or still do — enjoy learning about all of the people behind the scenes of classic albums.
12. No Jumper
This one has been a go-to source for emerging artists and independent rappers since Adam John Grandmaison aka Adam22 started his Tumblr blog back in 2011. Since then, it has morphed into a vlog and podcast that offers insight on current rap figures including G-Herbo, Royce Da 5’9,” and 40 Glocc.
13. Rap Radar
The Tidal bio for the “Rap Radar Podcast” sums this one up nicely. “Hosted by Elliott Wilson and Brian ‘B.Dot’ Miller, Rap Radar is the home of hip hop’s most revealing interviews.” The popular blog of the same name is behind this, as well, and rap fans tune in to learn more about their favorite artists.