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.
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN link up with battle rap legends Murda Mook and Loaded Lux to discuss their respective pasts, and what they’ve got cooking up in 2021. Both natives of Harlem, Mook and Lux gained notoriety via appearances on SMACK DVD with Mook particularly standing out as one of the stalwarts to emerge from the series, which earned him a major label deal with Ruff Ryders. He would later release his debut, Murda He Wrote, in 2007.
Lux, on the other hand, established himself as one of the biggest names of battle rap culture with a succession of classic battles, while also releasing an album of his own, 2012’s Beloved. He dropped as a succession of mixtapes, too, including one hosted by NBA champion and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
As Mook comes off of a convincing win against fellow battle rapper Tay-Roc and gears up for the release of his debut studio album; Yeah, I Said It, and Lux is fresh off a partnership with Hot 97 to create Top Shelf Freestyle, a competition in which spitters nationwide drop lyrics off the top of their dome; they share their respective stories. Battle rapper and “Drink Champs” alum Math Hoffa also jumps in the conversation.
1. Murda Mook On Battling Loaded Lux
Out of all of the opponents he’s faced during his career, Mook reveals that Lux was the first to make him question his own dominance. “I was just used to just outright winning.” Mook recalls of their first matchup. “Like, just beating [people], like, just winning, right? So, when I battled him, something was different. That was the first time I started feeling like, ‘Alright, wait a minute... I could be losing... So, it’s like I’m in a fight I’m not really prepared to be in and I hated feeling...people kinda [being] like, ‘I think he might’ve got you.’”
2. Loaded Lux On His Rivalry With Hollow Da Don
Lux’s showdown with Hollow Da Don was one for the ages, a matchup Lux reveals was preceded by a lengthy rivalry between the two battle rap titans. “It was three years in the making for that thing,” he reveals. “He had got into a situation, I think he was coming off the battle with Goodz, maybe? But, I was on him ‘cause they kept talking Hollow, ‘Hollow this, Hollow that, ...I backed up and lived, but as I’m reentering, peeping the scene, it’s him. Because I remember a old shot he threw...he said some shit, I’ll never forget it. He was in front of the studio booth and he was calling names out, and I was definitely one of the last names he called... So, when I came to see him... I think it was around Webster Hall and this is right before the bro went in ‘cause he had to do a short bid real quick. Then, he came off of that, then I caught him up at Cory Gunz video shoot, crazy, I was just on his heels. To make a long story short, we were throwing shots back and forth, could never get it to going. So, I felt like I was chasing. Then, we do the Calicoe situation.”
3. Murda Mook On The Origin of DOT MOB
Few in battle rap have attained the level of influence as DOT MOB, a collective spearheaded by Mook. “Yeah, it’s a family thing,” the rapper says of DOT MOB’s origin. “It started from DOT’s dying over this shit, we started that shit when we were eleven years old. It was family shit first. Then, we took it, we expanded as we got older and shit. So, to get back to what I’m saying with me and him, we didn’t speak because it was real. Like, the battles, niggas could’ve lost their lives.”
4. Murda Mook On Not Getting His Just Due As A Battle Rapper
Regarded as an elite talent in the realm of battle rap, with N.O.R.E. comparing his raw skill and precision to that of Floyd Mayweather, Mook still feels as if he doesn’t get properly acknowledged for the breadth of his talent. “That observation that you made is literally what I struggle with and it hurts so bad,” he says of N.O.R.E.’s Mayweather analogy. “You wanna display your greatness, you try to put on the best show possible, or you prepare and train harder than everybody so people can recognize that. But then, the flip side is, so when you do that, now it’s like, ‘There’s no way in the world somebody could do that without the other person being off,’ right? But then, when another person is off and then I do the same thing, well, when does it become me?”
5. Math Hoffa On America’s Lack of Appreciation For Battle Rappers As Artists
When touching on the disconnect between battle rappers and recording artists, Hoffa compares the reception battle rappers get overseas, where they are celebrated as superstars.
“In Russia, the best rappers in Russia are battle rappers,” he shares. “No, they drop albums that go platinum, but they get together and battle. In the Philippines, it’s the same thing. Their top artists perform in front of tens of thousands of people, but they drop records all year long. And it’s crazy the influence we have on the world, where they acknowledge battle rappers, period. I’m just waiting or it to swing over here. But the issue with us, battle rap is so fucking turned up, it’s like watching Mayweather hit the speed-bag when we do a song.”
6. Murda Mook On False Information and Independent Research
Things got particularly poignant midway through the conversation with Mook stressing the importance of being an independent thinker and not becoming susceptible to false information. “I deal in what makes common sense to me,” he says of his thinking process. “Like, once I became aware enough of myself that I just deal with what makes sense to me, if you’re telling whatever, if it just don’t make sense...I just challenge people to just do your own research. All that was to say just do your own research, and then tell me what you come up with from what makes sense to you... Do your own research.”
7. Loaded Lux On The Stigma Surrounding Battle Rappers
One topic of discussion during this episode that got particularly heated was the perception of battle rappers’ inability to attain success as a recording artist, a theory that Lux challenges by presenting former battle rappers Eminem and JAY-Z as evidence. “I just wanna say this, Eminem had the setting of a Dr. Dre,” Lux argues. “So, his mind [is] in the frame or the architect work of a battle, I know what I need to set up to make a hot battle rhyme. Now, I can take that same genius and that mind, and program it over here to make a record, so I’m gonna give you the variables to make a song. C’mon, JAY-Z, all them niggas come up raw battling. You came up raw battling, then you got in the studio and the nigga told you to, ‘Go like this,’ so you can make a record now.”
8. Murda Mook On Working With Busta Rhymes
Signing to Busta Rhymes’ Conglomerate label in 2016, Mook speaks on his working relationship with the rap legend by crediting Busta with allowing him to stick to his guns. “The reason I respect [him], well, not even respect, [but] the reason my shit sound like what it’s sounding like right now is because [of] the way he approached the songs and the battle rap shit,” Mook says. “The way he approached just the creative vision of it. It will always be, ‘I’ma try to teach you.’ It was like, ‘If you’re a battle rapper or they say you battle rap and this is what they love you for, then I’ma make sure that the shit they love you for, it just sounds like the way they’re used to hearing it, melodically, sonically. The tool’s not to change your mentality or who you are. The mix is just to put some legs under this shit that you are. That’s the talent, that’s what it should be. That’s the first time I heard that ideology about that.
9. Murda Mook On His Debut Album Being An Instant Classic
Having conquered the battle rap arena with a record as flawless as they come, Mook is preparing for the release of his debut studio album, which he confidently touts as an instant classic. “I’m about to have a classic album, bro,” he declares. “Yeah, I Said It, Murda Mook, Yeah I Said It, it’s about to be — fuck a classic, everybody uses classic. My shit is gonna to turn me from a legend into a myth.’”