On this week’s episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN sit down with West coast royalty Spice 1.

The Bay Area native has always had an affinity for the art of Hip Hop. Back in the day, he would breakdance, even earning trophies for his kinetic skills before he ever opted to pick up a microphone. In 1991, he officially took that leap and began to rope in local and national masses with his self-titled debut album, which went gold. The Jive Records signee followed his introductory project with 187 He Wrote and AmeriKKKa's Nightmare in the ensuing years and continued to level up as a mainstream purveyor of West Coast culture in the music and entertainment industry.

Around the same time, he built a strong bond with fallen rapper Tupac, who went on to claim the Left Coast as home, thanks to people like Spice welcoming him with open arms. Even after the luminary rapper’s tragic shooting, Spice kept the light high, continuing to release albums nearly every year of the 2000s. From joint projects with MC Eiht to collaborations with the Wu-Tang Clan, the rapper has amassed plenty of music to his name. But he’s still in the lab. In May of 2024, he unveiled his latest project Platinum O.G. 2, which features guest appearances from Snoop Dogg, Treach, Paul Wall, and more.

During this insightful conversation with the “Drink Champs” duo, he dives deep into the years of perfecting his craft, the impact of Kendrick Lamar’s “The Pop Out” show, the West Coast’s newfound solidarity, and so much more.

Read on for nine takeaways from the interview below and watch the full episode here.

1. On why the West coast sticks together

Though each area is different in its own right, Spice 1 explained why the West coast unifies when and if needed. “We gotta rock together. Even when we beef with each other, we keep that up in there, but it's always a support because you got so many styles coming from that area,” he said. “The Bay Area don't sound like LA and Sacramento even got they own sound. And certain places in LA sound different. But when it all comes down to it, we all speaking the same language.”

2. On the impact of Kendrick Lamar’s “The Pop Out” concert

Speaking of solidarity, Spice 1 reflected on witnessing Kendrick Lamar celebrate the broad range of artists comprising the West Coast’s dynamic rap scene during the Compton, California rapper’s highly publicized “The Pop Out” concert on Juneteenth 2024. “It's always been a connection, but we needed to come together like that and represent the West,” he began. “You know, the South, they stick together. The East, everybody rocking. But the West, we beef with each other a lot. But now, that right there let everybody know we can come together,” Spice explained.

3. On how “187 Proof” came to him in a dream

When it came to his rap career, Spice 1 basically saw the future. While sipping some alcohol one night, well before the fame, he prayed to God about becoming a famous rapper. From there, he claims to have closed his eyes and had a dream, where he envisioned his breakthrough song. “It was this dude standing on the street, on the corner. And he was playing some music. And I walked up to him and I said, ‘Hey man, what's that you playing?’ And he was like, ‘Spice 1, this the new s**t.’ And something in the back of my head said, ‘Stick your head in the car and see what song made you famous.’ And so I stuck my head in the car and I heard myself say, ‘E had the 9 and J the AK.’ Then I woke up. And I'm like, ‘who the f**k is E and who the f**k is J?’,” he asked himself. Then it clicked. “E&J. Oh s**t, what if they sold dope on Hennessy street? I said that to myself too. And I'm like, ‘Pen and pad n**ga.’ So I got to writing it.”

4. On Tupac prophesizing his own legacy

According to Tupac’s close affiliate Spice 1, the late rapper knew exactly how his life and career were going to play out. While riding through the city of Oakland one day pre-Death Row era, Tupac revealed the master plan to Spice. “He was sitting here telling me, he's like, ‘I'mma show all these n**gas what it is to be a real thug n**ga. You die and you go to jail n**ga. That's what happens… When I die, they ain't gonna be able to compare. Every rapper that comes out behind me, they're gonna have to compare him to me.’” Spice 1 continued, “That's why I like the original Pac, because I seen his destination.”

5. On being kin to Scarface

For those who didn’t know, Spice 1 and Scarface are real blood cousins. But even Spice was entirely unaware of that until the day he shot the music video for Bun B’s “Draped Out,” when he was approached by Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince. “He looked at me and he was staring at me like, ‘Dude you’re kin to Scarface, straight up.’ And so eventually, I come back to Houston, because I always go to Houston because I was born in Texas, and my two cousins come up [with Scarface] and they’re like, ‘N**ga, you don't know that this is your cousin?’ So Face is like, ‘Yeah n**ga, Lil J was trying to tell you. Your mom is my auntie.’” From that moment they locked in. And as far as connections on wax go, they ended up cutting the track “Rollin” together with Devin The Dude.

6. On the stutter rap phenomenon

Spice 1 was one of the figures who made stutter rap popular on a mainstream level. Breaking down one of his signature styles, he revealed the origin point of the approach. “I did that because I didn't wanna cuss,” he explained, using his song “Money Gone” as an example. “‘Cappin him in is b-brain with the n-nine.’ You know, instead of, ‘Capping him in his muthaf**kin brain with a nine.’ So it got like that.”

7. On originally being selected to star in Menace II Society

In perhaps the biggest “what if” moment of the interview, Spice 1 revealed that he was offered the role of O-Dog in John Singleton’s blockbuster movie Menace II Society. “I had the script and everything. My manager at the time didn't follow through with the f**king s**t. So I ended up firing his a**,” Spice said. The role ended up being awarded to Larenz Tate, but even with a new face, the Bay Area rap legend couldn’t help seeing himself in the character. “I was tripping, like ‘Oh s**t, the braids, that look like me on that muthaf**ka.’”

8. On how MC Hammer is viewed in Oakland

When N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN bring up MC Hammer’s public reception towards the end of the interview, they ask the rapper to comment as a fellow native of The Bay. “It's a lot of lames out there that don't understand the game. Like if you was a real muthaf**ka, if you really got down like that, you don't want everybody to know anyway,” he said. “The n**ga got clowned and he's a real Bay n**ga. He's a real reputable factor in the Bay as far as in Oakland. He's reputable as far as, don't f**k with him and his people. They like, real not-to-be-f**ked-with boys, for real for real.” Spice concluded, “He's trying to promote the brighter side of life in his music. And I understood that.”

9. On his nickname “Chico”

Aside from his stage moniker, Spice 1’s most popular nickname is Chico, which is something that Tupac used to call him as well. “When I came out the womb, my pops said I looked like a Mexican and s**t when I was born. 'Cause of my hair. I got that good hair and s**t... and so Chico has been my name from day one,” the rapper recounted of the name’s origins. The name was so deeply embedded into his experience and upbringing, he had to get clarity on it as a kid. “I didn't even know my real name. When I was writing on my papers at school, the teachers [would call me] Chico. I was wondering and I had to ask my mom, 'Why do they call me that?'”