On the Saturday (Jan. 28) episode of “Drink Champs,” the creators behind fellow New York-based podcast “My Expert Opinion” dropped by to discuss their most controversial interviews, getting confronted by rappers, the need for more female guests, and much more.
For a fresh and interesting take on everything from battle rap and politics to sports, hip hop and current affairs, Math Hoffa launched “My Expert Opinion” in 2019. Joined by co-hosts Michael Smith-Baker, Mecc Rashawn, and Sean Bigga, listeners can expect to be entertained and enlightened by Math’s anecdotes and those shared by a revolving cast of distinguished guests. Thus far, they’ve brought on prominent names like Method Man, 21 Savage, Fat Joe, and Derrick Rose, to name a few.
Filmed in a barbershop, “My Expert Opinion” takes the phrase “barbershop conversations” to new heights. Most recently, Hoffa had special guest Troy Ave on to address rumors and talk about his career as an independent artist, followed by the Earn Your Leisure crew, who spilled some gems on generational wealth and much more. With ambitions to grow the brand into a more prominent platform, the podcast has rapidly risen to the top ranks with more in store for 2023.
For this week’s “Drink Champs” recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the “My Expert Opinion” interview. Check them out below and watch the full episode here if you missed it.
1. On Reek Da Villian’s “My Expert Opinion” appearance
In 2010, Busta Rhymes signed Long Island rapper Reek Da Villian to The Conglomerate. Several years later, the two had a falling out after Reek’s Kendrick Lamar-assisted single “Go Off” leaked online. Referencing his extensive relationship with Busta, N.O.R.E. asked Mecc about having Reek on the podcast despite his past issues with the “Calm Down” artist.
“Me working with somebody I respect versus their personal relationship are two totally separate things. How many people has your man had beef with that you didn’t have beef with?” Mecc asked. Although N.O.R.E. disagreed, Mecc responded, “I was working with Bust when he was dealing with Reek, so I don’t know what their business relationship was. I don’t know what their personal relationship was. That man’s truth is that man’s truth.”
2. On receiving flak for controversial interviews with Troy Ave and Self Service
Controversial moments are no mystery to N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, and the same can be said for the guys over at “My Expert Opinion.” Early in the interview, Math Hoffa admitted to removing various parts of several conversations to avoid controversy and backlash completely. He cited several instances, including Self Service’s claims that Irv Gotti stole DMX’s beats and Troy Ave speaking on Taxstone’s concert shooting.
“Besides that Troy s**t, it was that situation with Busta. Shout out to Self Service. He told a story about Just Blaze getting slapped, and I got a bunch of phone calls about that,” Math said. “My thing is an unchecked lie becomes the truth. I’m not saying anybody came on my platform lying. I’m saying the same way this person came to the shop and they told their story, you can tell your story also.”
3. On Kanye West’s infamous “Drink Champs” interview getting removed
Due to the backlash over Kanye West’s statements after George Floyd’s death, “Drink Champs” quickly removed his interview with them. Though the interview garnered over 2 million views in less than 24 hours, it has since been removed from both the podcast’s YouTube account and the REVOLT website. After Math Hoffa flipped the interviewer-guest roles on N.O.R.E. and EFN, the pair claimed that it was actually Ye who requested it be removed.
When Math stated that they should’ve kept the interview up, N.O.R.E. replied, “That was a rough one, man. I gotta stand by it because it was actually [Kanye] who requested that it be taken down.” DJ EFN added, “We were in between a rock and a hard place. REVOLT stood with us and they said, ‘It either stays up or comes down.’ So, we had one of two choices.”
4. On “Drink Champs” inking a partnership with Warner Music Group
Earlier this year, N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN announced that they’ll be taking their careers to the next level after signing a distribution partnership with Warner Music Group. The audio version of the podcast is now exclusively licensed to WMG’s in-house podcast network, Interval Presents, for streaming across all major platforms. N.O.R.E. briefly discussed his latest deal after asking the “My Expert Opinion” crew if they would sign to a major or remain independent.
“This was one of our great moves. We partnered with some good people and they [showed] us that they wanted us, if you know what I mean,” N.O.R.E. revealed. When Mecc asked him how much control they had to give up in exchange, he replied, “None.”
5. On Styles P taking issue with J-Hood’s “My Expert Opinion” interview
Toward the tail-end of 2022, J-Hood stopped by “My Expert Opinion” to chat about his business arrangement with D-Block. Hood claimed that he and his mother lost their home in a fire and that he used the $25,000 advance from The LOX to deal with the aftermath. Hood believes Styles P, Jadakiss, and Sheek Louch could have kept some money from him since label execs reportedly informed him they actually gave him $60,000. So, Styles went on Instagram Live to set the record straight, which Math discussed midway through the “Drink Champs” interview.
According to Math, “I don’t have control over what these people are saying. I can’t be like, ‘That’s a lie!’ And lowkey, I take s***t out. If I feel like it’s going to be a problem, I take s**t out.”
6. On Gangsta Boo and Takeoff passing away
While chopping it up with “MEO” on the ups and downs of podcasting, N.O.R.E. called for a moment of silence for Gangsta Boo and Takeoff, both of whom gave their final interviews to “Drink Champs” prior to passing away. Takeoff was tragically shot and killed in November while witnessing a dispute in Houston, and Boo passed away outside of her home in Memphis.
“We don’t want to be the last person to interview anybody, but when she passed away, when Takeoff passed away, people just kept going to our interview. It was just like, ‘Damn.’ It was an honor. That’s why you should never listen directly to the internet or directly to the rhetoric that’s happening,” N.O.R.E. explained. “The week before, they critiqued us and said, ”Drink Champs’ is for legends; Migos aren’t legends.’ And then, unfortunately, his demise. The next week after that, they were like, ‘I’m so glad you got to give them their flowers.’”
7. On Sean Bigga confronting Smif-N-Wessun
In November, Tek and General Steele of Smif-N-Wessun clashed with Sean Bigga during their interview on “My Expert Opinion.” When Bigga called the group traitors for siding with Pac when emotions were already high between the West and East Coasts, things quickly escalated. Bigga’s argument was that Pac offended New York rap fans and that it wouldn’t be fair for them to collaborate with him. Regarding the topic, Bigga delved more into the situation from the perspective of an OG hip hop fan.
“We were hurting in New York. We were. I know people spin the narrative that he was talking about Biggie directly, but me and my guys didn’t hear it like that. It felt loud and clear like you’re coming directly at New York,” Bigga stated.
8. On Mecc maintaining relationships and integrity as a journalist
Among the entire “My Expert Opinion” crew, N.O.R.E. acknowledged that Mecc is the only one who comes from a professional background in journalism. The former editor spent a whopping 12 years at The Source during the early 2000s, interviewing the likes of Capone-N-Noreaga and others. That said, Mecc offered his opinion on maintaining his journalistic integrity while interviewing various artists and celebrities on the podcast.
As told by Mecc, “It’s not a difficult thing. I learned early on that the job is the job. It’s not about you, it’s not about me, it’s about the person who picks up the magazine and decides that they want to know more about this person’s life. My job is to paint that picture, make it as honest as possible, and make it entertaining.”
9. On not believing Megan Thee Stallion during the Tory Lanez assault case
Back in December, Tory Lanez was found guilty of shooting rap superstar Megan Thee Stallion in 2020. Although the trial took some wild turns, including Meg’s ex-friend Kelsey Harris asking for immunity, the Canadian rapper was eventually convicted of careless discharge of a handgun, assault with a semi-automatic firearm, and carrying a loaded and unlicensed firearm by a jury in Los Angeles. Much like 50 Cent did during his interview with BigBoyTV, Math took the time to apologize to Meg after hearing Tory’s infamous phone conversation with Harris.
“I want to apologize to [Megan Thee Stallion] too because I saw 50 [Cent] put out an apology,” Math shared. “We didn’t believe her. We did not believe her, bro. We didn’t believe her. She definitely needed more people. Well, she didn’t really need more people. We just needed to hear that jail conversation.”
“As Black men, we’re supposed to protect our women. I feel like I failed in that category… as far as the things that I said on our podcast,” he went on to admit.