On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcomed Rowdy Rebel to discuss his new album, Young Thug’s RICO case, working on a joint project with Bobby Shmurda and more.
Born Chad Marshall in Brooklyn, New York, Rebel had a similar rise to fame as his frequent collaborator Shmurda, picking up rap during his teenage years. The young artist saw success after appearing on 2014’s “Hot N**ga” remix alongside the likes of Fabolous, Jadakiss, and Busta Rhymes. He continued to propel into popularity with an array of lead singles, namely “Computers” and “Shmoney Dance,” both of which featured GS9 comrade Shmurda. Rebel would later sign to Epic Records and get arrested for attempted murder, possession of an illegal firearm, and conspiracy. Though he was slated to come home at a later date, the young star was released from prison on Dec. 15, 2020 thanks to the plea deal that Shmurda took to lessen his sentence.
2021 proved to be a phenomenal year for Rebel with him releasing “Let’s Talk Facts” from the Godfather of Harlem soundtrack as well as appearing on CJ’s “Whoopty” remix, Doe Boy’s “Shmurda Talk,” Young Stoner Life’s “Came and Saw” with Young Thug, and Shmurda’s “Shmoney” alongside Quavo. Not to mention, he appeared on “Make It Rain” from Pop Smoke’s posthumous album Shoot For The Stars Aim For The Moon just months prior to his release. Rebel also dropped his own material, including lead singles “Re Route,” “Jesse Owens” featuring NAV, “Ain’t My Fault” featuring 42 Dugg, and several others.
In July, the famed rapper released his debut album, Rebel vs. Rowdy, via Epic Records. The 17-song project, comprised of two sides, boasted features from Fivio Foreign, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Jadakiss, French Montana, and more. Currently, the Brooklyn native is on the road with Shmurda for their “Bodmon Tour” with stops in Charlotte, New York, and Florida, among other major cities.
Check out nine interesting facts we gathered from Rowdy Rebel’s Saturday (Dec. 3) installment of “Drink Champs.” Plus, watch the full episode here.
1. On the “Hot N**ga” music video
Bobby Smurda’s “Hot N**ga” music video rose to popularity in 2014, accumulating over 832 million views to date and birthing the dance trend aptly dubbed the Shmoney Dance. Shot in his hometown in East Flatbush, Rowdy revealed that they initially intended to do the music video for his debut single, “Computers,” that day. Though the song was written in 2013, he shared that Shmurda didn’t add his verse until afterward.
“That s**t changed my life, and it’s crazy ‘cause we shot ‘Hot N**ga,’ right? We were supposed to shoot ‘Computers’ that day. I just had my verse. I had that record since 2013,” the artist explained.
2. On Young Thug’s RICO case
Young Thug was arrested in Atlanta back in May on gang-related charges and is now facing many counts in the YSL RICO case. In all, the rapper is among 28 people connected to Young Stoner Life who were charged in the 56-count indictment. Having collaborated with Thug on “Came and Saw” from the label’s 2021 compilation, Slime Language 2, Rowdy shared his thoughts on the case.
He stated, “That’s some bulls**t. All for some lyrics? What evidence do y’all have? What can y’all say that he did to really harm somebody? Out of all the s**t he’s doing in his life, y’all wait ‘til now to do that.” He continued, “I heard they’re coming for another RICO law, like, what the hell y’all doing in Atlanta? I ain’t going to Atlanta. Free Slime. Free all of the YSL members.”
3. On life as a parolee
In 2014, Rowdy, Shmurda, and other members of GS9 were arrested on multiple counts, including conspiracy, murder, and illegal firearm possession. In September 2016, Rowdy and Shmurda admitted guilt to the possession counts in a plea bargain, making them both eligible for parole after serving their sentences. With his parole not ending until 2025, the rapper revealed its conditions.
“When I first came home, we had to check in, but one time I came in with all my jewelry on, money sticking out my pocket. I was about to go do a video. I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m lit, I gotta go see my parole [officer].’ So I go over there, I got all my jewelry on, and like $20,000 in my pocket. She was like, ‘What you doing? Why you here like this?’ That s**t had me so shook and from there, I started going in sweatsuits,” Rowdy explained.
Regarding the conditions of his release, he continued, “Our parole don’t go crazy. They know we still got songs, we still perform. They don’t trip and we’re chilling. We not on no bad timing.”
4. On his Rowdy vs. Rebel album
Rowdy’s debut album, Rowdy vs. Rebel, dropped earlier this year, marking his first full-length offering since being released from prison. According to the rapper, the project is an auditory representation of his growth and maturity over the course of his career. “Rebel” serves as a callback to his triumphant past, while “Rowdy” is him coming into adulthood.
“Rebel was the rebellious kid, and I feel like Rowdy is the up-and-coming me now. The rapper me — security with me, moving strategic, moving right, moving how I’m supposed to move, growing up,” he stated. “I feel like Rebel was the childish me and Rowdy is the [grown] me, the older me, the wiser me, and the more mature me.”
5. On Fivio Foreign’s record deal with Mase
In July, during an episode of “Million Dollaz Worth of Game,” Fivio Foreign claimed that he signed with Mase for $5,000. Mase countered, saying that Fivio was advanced $750,000 afterward.
Having collaborated with Fivio on 2021’s “Creepin” and 2022’s “Paid Off,” Rowdy reacted and stated, “Mase did bad. I would’ve Suge Knight’d his a**.”
6. On the story behind his hit song “Computers”
Rowdy went straight into the studio after his release from prison, and he’s been steadily producing music ever since, including his new album. Some of his older songs are now becoming mainstream hits, such as the Bobby Shmurda-assisted “Computers,” a song he released in 2014. The track, which has accumulated 69 million YouTube views to date, recently went RIAA-certified Gold.
“My friend at the time, he had a bando, and we used to live in there. We just came from doing some silly s**t outside and when we came back, n**gas was on IG like, ‘Yeah come back. N**ga p***y,’” Rowdy revealed. “From there, I just took it: ‘All these social networks and these computers. Got these n**gas walking ’round like they some shooters.’”
7. On his run-in with Fat Joe before becoming famous
Regarding who he was disappointed to meet, Rowdy revealed a time that he saw Fat Joe in the studio before his career took off. It was a brief encounter, as told by the musician, and, luckily, the two were able to come together again at a better time. He shared, “One day, I met Fat Joe in the studio in Miami. I’m looking at him… he was focused when I came in, and he was trying to put a verse together I think. I’m like, ‘Oh s**t, it’s Fat Joe.’ It’s 2014, I just got in this s**t. This s**t happening too fast for me. I’m like, ‘Oh s**t, Fat Joe.’ He was like, ‘What’s up?’”
8. On the best rapper at basketball
The connection between hip hop and basketball is particularly special. There are rappers who try their hand at balling and professional ballers who have experimented with the mic. Whether it be Drake, Lil Durk, J. Cole, Lil Baby, or even 21 Savage, there’s no shortage of moments on the court when it comes to rappers. Later in the interview, Rowdy coined himself as the best rapper at basketball, challenging his peers to a one-on-one.
“He’s done for. Drake better pack it up. I’m betting on myself versus Drake and Durk,” he insisted during a conversation about who’s the better player. “I ain’t gon’ lie though, I feel like I could beat anyone in a one-versus-one.”
9. On his upcoming collaborative album with Bobby Shmurda
Since they came out the gate, Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel were an inseparable duo, collaborating on an array of tracks, including “Computers,” “Shmoney Dance,” “Living Life,” and “Shmoney,” to name a few. The pair also has a stash of songs that they’re preparing to unleash on a collaborative project, according to the Brooklyn rapper. He mentioned that they have records with Gunna and Lil Uzi Vert, as well as a compilation tape with their fellow labelmates.
“We’re working on something right now. I don’t know what we gonna name that s**t. We got a GS9 tape coming that’s everybody in the clique,” he shared. “We got a bunch of tracks, bro.”