On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN were joined by the 110th mayor of New York City, Eric Adams.

Growing up, Adams was raised between the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. At one point during his adolescent journey, he unfortunately became a victim of police brutality, which led to him pursuing a path in law enforcement. After college, he worked as a member of the New York Police Department, where he rose in the ranks as a captain until his retirement from the force in 2006.

Afterward, Adams served in the New York Senate, where he zeroed in on proper policing, marriage equality and more. The politician’s work led to him becoming Brooklyn borough president from 2013 to 2021, at which point he announced his candidacy for mayor of NYC. Different from his peers, Adams built a reputation as the “Hip Hop Mayor.”

During this special conversation, co-hosted by rapper and activist Mysonne, Adams spoke about his professional journey, love for music, solving some of New York City’s ongoing issues and much more. Below are nine takeaways from the conversation. The full episode can be watched here.

1. On being the “Hip Hop Mayor”

Early in the discussion, Adams gave insight into his connection to Hip Hop and how the genre fits his ethos as a government official. “It inspired me; when I was going through some hard times, I was able to throw on Hip Hop,” he began. “Four of the Black mayors that’s running the major cities in America — Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, New York — [are] all Hip Hop.”

Speaking to N.O.R.E., Adams continued, “All of this leadership we see right now is what you guys made. I keep telling folks when we came together and celebrated the 50 years of Hip Hop, it was... all of that power finally getting together. But now the question is: With all of this chocolate, what are we gonna do with it? We gotta do something with it.”

2. On New York City’s rat problem

Since Adams’ election, he’s done his due diligence by trying to correct New York City’s rat problem. How? He said, “What we did... We zeroed in on it. What New Orleans didn’t do; we hired a rat czar. And what we found — the No. 1 reason why there were so many rodents on the streets [is because of] plastic bags.” He added, “Now, rat complaints across the city, they have gone down. And what we call rat mitigation zones, which is like a high level, they’ve also gone down.”

As far as future plans go, he revealed, “We’re going to move to take all of our trash off the streets, out of plastic bags and we're going to containerize it. Everybody told us it’s gonna take five years. We said, ‘No, that’s too long.’ We're gonna do it in 2 1/2 years.”

3. On Black mayors being used as decoys

On the note of migrants being sent to New York City, Adams discussed how he and other Black mayors are being used as decoys in a battle that’s bigger than them by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. DJ EFN asked if that was more racially or partisan motivated and Adams replied, “I think it’s a combination. I think that he wanted to send a signal to the national government because they need to fix the problem.”

He continued, “But there were a hell of a lot of other cities he could have sent them to. They didn’t even send them to Los Angeles until Mayor Bass became mayor. They didn’t even send them to Philadelphia until the sister became mayor. The day she swore in, a plane landed with migrants and asylum seekers. So, he wanted to send a message, but the message he wanted to send was on the backs of Black and brown mayors.”

4. On the impact he’s had as mayor so far

Though it’s only been a few years, Adams firmly believes he’s made a difference. When speaking about his run as the mayor of New York City and how he approached the job, he said, “I’m the first mayor in the history that you see authentic, on the ground, Black and brown folks running my administration. And we turned this city around in two years.” Adams admitted that there is still plenty of room to grow, but he’s proud of what his camp has accomplished so far.

“When you do an analysis of what I have been doing for Black and brown people in this city, from procurement, billions of dollars in my nonprofits, investing in our children, managing the financial crisis that we have, no one thought we could do this,” he insisted.

5. On reversing his diabetes

Several years ago, Adams felt a sharp pain in his stomach, along with tingling sensations in his fingers and toes, that wouldn’t go away. He finally decided to go to the doctor, who revealed he had a stomach ulcer and advanced-stage diabetes. “Your A1C should be 5.6. Eight is coma level. I was [at] 13. I went home... They gave me these pamphlets that said, ‘Living with diabetes.’ And I changed one word — ‘reversing’ diabetes — and that’s how I got on this journey of [being] plant-based.” He went on, “You don’t inherit these diseases because your parents had it. You inherit these diseases because we’re eating the same s**t.”

“I went plant-based [and] three weeks later, my vision came back. Six, seven months later, all the nerve damage went away. I don’t even feel the ulcer anymore. No medicine,” Mayor Adams told the hosts.

6. On gentrification in New York City

While N.O.R.E. praised the positive landscape changes that are taking place in New York City, Adams addressed the ongoing gentrification. “We gotta be careful that it doesn’t come up and we lose the people who are there,” he said. “Diversity is good; displacement is not... We gotta get it right in The Bronx, in other parts of the city... [In] South Jamaica, Queens, it’s a lot of building going on there.” Using a specific example of Willets Point, he added, “We’re building 2,500 units of 100 percent affordable housing, [creating] union jobs, new schools, [and providing] open space… So, as we're building now, were saying, ‘Listen, we gotta make sure the people who are building can afford to stay in the city.’”

7. On Columbia University’s pro-Palestinian protests

A number of students who attend Columbia University have reportedly been arrested for protesting in solidarity with Gaza. Mysonne asked Adams if he thinks that’s OK, to which the mayor responded, “No.”

He provided more context and said, “No child should be dying because of the action of [a] man. But let’s be consistent about this. Right now, in Yemen, Muslims are killing babies [while fighting against each other]. And I’ve been calling for years [to] stop this war in Yemen. In Lebanon, Hezbollah is bombing and killing innocent people... In Nigeria, a group of Muslim terrorists kidnapped over 100 Black girls. Took them from their families. And I stood up at Borough Hall and [said,] ‘Listen, we shouldn’t be doing this to these girls.’ So, we can’t all of a sudden find this energy to talk about one act. I’m saying: Globally, we should not be doing this.”

8. On artists who have his stamp of approval

Mayor Adams’ affinity for music isn’t news to anyone, but he did break down why a couple of standout acts have resonated with him over time. When tasked with choosing between DMX and Tupac Shakur, he explained, “I’m a Tupac guy… I was a part of an organization called the National Black United Front [with] Reverend Herbert Daughtry and others, and Tupac’s mom was affiliated with it. And his music is just real.”

Adams also chose Michael Jackson over Prince and explained why. “When you think about it, Michael really started the whole video stuff… I remember reading the first story, and he was talking about he’s gonna do his music and turn it into this visual. And now look at it.”

9. On Africa regaining power

N.O.R.E. mentioned that Afrobeats is one of the biggest music genres in the world, which led to Adams explaining how the continent is thriving. He stated, “We need to really make that connection back to the continent. Because our brothers and sisters on the continent, they’re really doing some things. They’re regaining control. They’re looking at their natural resources. They’re not allowing themselves to be exploited.”

Giving a quick example, the famed politician added, “When I was in the synagogue, this brother who’s taking over [said] all that cocoa that is shipped to Switzerland and other places to make chocolate... he says, ‘Nah, we need to do this right here. All of those natural resources, we need to make that bridge again.’”