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.
For the seventh episode of “Drink Champs’,” Quarantine Champs series, N.O.R.E. holds it down during DJ EFN’s absence, as the Slime God rounds up a few of his rap friends and cultural commentators to speak on social justice and the ongoing protests against police brutality. Joined by Marc Lamont Hill, Mysonne, Bun B, and Talib Kweli, N.O.R.E. dives into the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubrey and more.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from this Quarantine Champs edition of “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. Marc Lamont Hill On Police Reform
As calls to reform or defund police forces nationwide have become deafening in light of rampant police brutality and the weaponization of authority, Hill gives his opinion on improving law enforcement. “People are on the street right now, talking about defunding police, abolishing police, trying to reshape the world. And the problem is some people wanna reform the police, some people wanna find a new way,” he said. “If you try to reform the police, then yeah, that might work. But, our goal is to say, ‘Wait a minute, what we’re doing right now as a society isn’t working?’ The way we lock people up to solve our problems isn’t working. The way we arrest our way out of everything isn’t working. And when you go out there and you’re protesting the police, you’re protesting police brutality, and then you let the cop take a knee with you. You let the cop shoot J’s with you. You let the cop do the Cha Cha Slide with you that night. Those types of images makes it seem like the problem isn’t the police or the policing, but that the problem is one individual officer or one ‘bad apple’ in a bunch. And we gotta get out of the ‘bad apple’ model.”
2. Marc Lamont Hill On The Importance Of Camera Phones In Social Justice
Camera phones have been pivotal in highlighting the brutality and corruption that runs rampant with law enforcement. When asked about Arizona’s new law banning civilians from filming cops, Hill touches on how camera footage can be invaluable as evidence, but has been cast aside in cases involving Black people far too often. “We didn’t have camera phones growing up,” Hill explains. “We didn’t have cameras! Who you know walking around the hood with a camera? So every time the police did s**t, we didn’t have evidence to prove it and the problem in America is Black folks witness doesn’t count. Black people saying it happened doesn’t mean that it happened [like] Rodney King. We watched Rodney King get beat, it didn’t matter. We watched it and it still didn’t matter! The police was like, ‘But yeah, if we hadn’t beat him, he would’ve got up and f**ked us up, so we had to do it.’ And the jury believed it.”
3. Marc Lamont Hill On Protecting Black Women
As charges have yet to be brought against the police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, the erasure of the Black woman in the fight has been become a pressing issue. Hill points to the media attention surrounding missing women of other races and compares that with the lack of urgency when it comes to victims of the same crimes, who happen to be Black. “Think about the school shooting,” he explains. “What’s the first thing they say on the news? ‘Oh my God, this shouldn’t happen here.’ That s**t shouldn’t happen nowhere! But when it comes to white people, they say, ‘This shouldn’t happen here.’ Right, white kids dying. When a white woman goes missing on TV, the first they say is, we gotta find her, she’s missing. Black women, they’re not missing, they’re just gone. We just say, ‘Latasha’s gone, we don’t know what happened to her, whereas the news will run for two, three, four, five [times]. We’re still talking about Jon Benet Ramsey from ‘96, you know what I’m saying? Because a white woman [being] missing is intolerable.”
4. Marc Lamont Hill On JAY-Z’s Impact On The George Floyd Case
JAY-Z’s role in the quest for social justice has positioned him at the forefront of the movement in terms of rap stars using their platform to push for racial equality. “It was a lot of pressure,” Hill says of the public’s demands for an unbiased investigation. “So JAY-Z definitely played a role in that. The state attorney general, Keith Ellison, is now overseeing that case. But, it wasn’t just JAY-Z. Shout out to Hov for doing that, but also, we don’t ever wanna lose sight of the activists on the ground that made this happen, too, because they knew we were watching… Just like with Ahmaud Aubrey, they knew we were watching. They saw the tape, they ain’t give a f**k about the tape, then they saw we saw the tape and our reaction, they said, ‘Oh, we gotta do something.’ Same thing now, they like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, they saw George Floyd.’ They in the streets, we gotta change the prosecutor.’ And it shouldn’t have took that, but that’s what it took.”
5. Marc Lamont Hill On Athletes Creating Tangible Change In Professional Sports
Hill points to the NBA’s banishment of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling as an example of the power that the modern-day athlete wields in society. “That’s how you do it,” he says of Sterling’s ouster. “Again, it’s like the system doesn’t work, and you have to leverage your power to make it work or to break it down. The NBA players said, ‘Look, we had enough.’ Donald Sterling was doing that stuff for years. He used to take women and friends into the NBA locker room into the shower and show ‘em the players like they were animals at the zoo. That’s some wild ass s**t. So, it was years of that and he was racist in his private life in terms of real estate and housing just like Donald Trump was. So, there’s a whole legacy of him being racist. It took decades for them to say, ‘Enough,’ but where the players had the power was they could walk off the court. They could say, ‘None of this works without us.’”
6. Bun B On George Floyd’s Funeral
Rap legend and Texas native Bun B, who was in attendance at Floyd’s funeral in Houston, joins the “Drink Champs” and gives a summary of the overall vibe of his home-going. “Unity, you know what I’m saying?” Bun B says of the atmosphere. “Justice. Here’s the thing. We spent over the last two weeks talking about George Floyd’s death, right? Today, they talked about his life, and that was the beautiful thing. They had his friends, they had his family, they had people from his hood from 3rd Ward to Cuney Homes, and they were just lifting him up, man. Giving him his proper respects, remembering him in a real way as a human being not like a video clip on TV. But, definitely people asking for justice.”
7. Marc Lamont Hill On Kim Kardashian’s Social Justice Initiatives
As the conversation shifts toward each guests’ feelings on Kanye West’s recent charitable gestures to the families of Floyd, Taylor and Arbery; the artist’s wife, Kim Kardashian, gets a nod from Hill, who acknowledges her impact in the liberation of Black prisoners. “She’s doing the work,” he says. “That’s the other thing. What good is [it] to have knowledge if you don’t do s**t? And that’s the other problem, there’s people who got plenty [of] analysis and don’t do s**t but critique Kim all day. And look, it’s not like I don’t have criticisms of anybody that’s doing reform work. I’m a radical. But, at least there are people who are home right now who wouldn’t be if not for Kim Kardashian’s work. There’s people who are free that wouldn’t be free and that’s gotta count for something.”
8. Talib Kweli On Being Inspired By Mysonne And Until Freedom
Since his release from prison in 2006, Mysonne has become one of loudest voices in hip hop in terms of social justice efforts and has formed Until Freedom, his organization that fights against systematic oppression and racial injustice. Fellow New Yorker Talib Kweli commends Mysonne for his selfless service, deeming him and his movement an inspiration to himself and others. “Me, personally, I’ve been paying attention to your journey as an artist and as an activist, and it’s very important to me,” Kweli shares. “It’s very, very inspirational and I wanna appreciate you for what you’re doing. I think that the work that Until Freedom does, Tamika [Mallory] and everybody down with that organization, has been powerful. I got people in my family in New York who are not political, who text me and be like, ‘Yo, you think I should support Until Freedom?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes, yes,’ and that shows me that y’all do the work because y’all are reaching the people who don’t really pay attention all the time.”
9. Talib Kweli On The Importance Of Uplifting Black Women In The Social Justice Movement
As Black women continue to speak out about the lack of urgency when it comes to their protection and their erasure from the social justice movement, a number of men have admitted to their own failings in this regard, Kweli among them. The Brooklyn native shares his own experiences witnessing the essential role Black women play in protesting the deaths of Black males, and calls on the men to return the favor. “When I first went to meet the Dream Defenders in Florida and when I first went to Ferguson over the Mike Brown thing, I saw Black women on the frontlines of the struggle more than anybody,” Kweli reveals. “And that’s not scientific, that’s my antidote, my personal view point. I gotta say, I saw black women, straight Black women and gay Black women, on the frontlines more than a lot of these people. And a lot fo these straight brothers who be like, ‘The Black Lives Matter [movement] is gay and these women don’t care about the Black men,’ they the ones I didn’t see there. The people who talk the most s**t online, they’re the ones I don’t see in the frontline. So, when you see #SayHerName, when you see people talking about Breonna Taylor, you see people talking about Sandra Bland, we have to do, as men, what we ask white people to do for Black people.”