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.
For the third episode of “Drink Champs’,” Quarantine Champs, the crew is joined by Atlanta rap artist and activist Killer Mike, who gives N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN a deep dive into the current landscape of politics and his thoughts on the world post-COVID-19. A staunch supporter of recent presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Mike sheds light on how he’s approaching the upcoming election, his feelings on the democratic party, and how we all can do our part in making our votes count. He also gives a few updates on his recent work as one-half of rap duo Run The Jewels, gave gems on Atlanta rap history, and spoke on the power in uplifting your community.
In addition to him, former boxing champ Shannon Briggs and friend of the show Alkinyele also check in for a little banter — NYC style. Briggs speaks on Mike Tyson’s impending comeback, while Alkinyele cracks sexually explicit jokes and reminisces with N.O.R.E. about their history with one another.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the third Quarantine Champs edition of “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. Killer Mike On Georgia Reopening Its Economy
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp made headlines late last month after opening the state’s economy, a move that was widely criticized nationally in face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. When asked if he agrees with Kemp’s move, Mike paints it as ill-advised, but recognizes the logic behind it. “Not a good decision in my opinion,” the “A.D.I.D.A.S.” rapper shares. “As a small business owner, we didn’t open up, we’re gonna wait ‘til June 1 and see what health officials are saying. It was the governor’s decision, but to be fair, I feel like there’s a lot of national pressure to get America running again because the dollar turns. So, if the dollar doesn’t turn in the black community, the black community suffers and we see that, so imagine the whole country operating like that. So now, the whole country’s kinda operating like a working-class or impoverished community where everyone is being very constrained with their dollar and the dollar’s not moving.”
2. Killer Mike’s On The Atlanta Child Murders Documentary
HBO’s new documentary “Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children” that delves into the tragic string of murders in the Atlanta area during the late ‘70s and early ‘80s has reopened one of the city’s greatest wounds, which rap artists like Outkast and Mike were alive to experience themselves. When N.O.R.E. references having recently watched the documentary and asks for his memories of that era, the Run The Jewels MC recalls the time as one where paranoia ran rampant within the black community. “You’re talking about ‘Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered Children.’ Wayne Williams is the man convicted [in the documentary],” he says. “Even though he was convicted of killing two adults, he wasn’t convicted of killing any children. If you’re at and around, say, late-30s to mid-50s, you remember a time in Atlanta where when the street-lights came on, if you weren’t in the house, your mother was up and down the street looking for you to beat your ass.”
3. Killer Mike On The Power of Local Activism
Dating back to his breakout guest appearance alongside Outkast on the group’s 2001 single, “The Whole World,” Mike’s sociopolitical insights have been apparent, which makes his foray into the world of politics even more fitting. One key that the ATLien feels is major is using our collective power to enact small changes within our local communities that will lead to bigger changes on a national scale. “That’s the only way it works,” he says of small boycotts and their rippling effects. “It did not start with the Washington D.C. Bus Boycott, it started with the Birmingham Alabama Bus Boycott. You think DC gave a f**k about what was going on in Birmingham? Or Atlanta, or Mobile, or Savannah, or Charleston? They didn’t give a s**t. But, when Negroes got together, organized and disrupted a local economy, it disrupted the state’s economy and that disrupted that state. And the feds were like, ‘What the f**k is going on? What are you country ass motherf**kers doing down there to get our money f**ked up and get these Negroes so riled up that they’re causing national attention?’ So locally, act a fool.”
4. Killer Mike On Atlanta’s Rap Artists Giving Back To The Community
A lifelong Atlanta resident, Mike has made it a priority to stay involved in helping uplift his community through various charitable initiatives, his latest being his and rap star T.I.’s alliance with PAWKids, a child enrichment program founded by fellow ATL native LaTonya G. Johnston. During his interview, the activist touches on their plans to provide relief to underprivileged families, while taking the time to credit his peers in the rap community who are stepping up and taking charge. “We’re opening a restaurant right next to them,” the heady lyricist reveals. “And we basically just partnered with them, helping them. Whatever help we needed to help park the car, they always helped us and said, ‘Let’s figure this out.’ So, if they needed help getting out there and feeding 500 families, going around to five different families, making sure they got products and money, that’s what me and Tip gonna do. And it’s not just me and Tip. 2 Chainz did it out of his restaurant. Big Boi’s did it with his foundation. It really has been a movement of artists, the artist class of Atlanta, taking care of Atlanta, and I love and respect all of us for it.”
5. Killer Mike On The Impact Of Run The Jewels’ Placement On “Ozark”
The Netflix original series “Ozark” has been garnering a ton of buzz after unleashing its third season earlier this year. Mike makes an unexpected cameo, albeit vocally, via him and Run The Jewels group-mate El-P’s song “Ooh La La.” “I knew how big the ‘Ozark’ placement was when there’s a PD (program director) here in Atlanta — he’s a PD of a big station,” he explains. “He’s a good guy. He’s often tried to show love, like, ‘Come out, do these things.’ But, he couldn’t necessarily play a lot of my music. But, I didn’t make radio music and I got it. But, he calls me out of nowhere like, ‘Yo... what’s up with your new song?’ I’m like, ‘What’s up?’ He said, ‘Yeah, the one on back of Ozark. Send that to me right now.’ And I think he told his mixers, ‘Show it some love.’”
6. Killer Mike On Bridging Generational Gaps With His Music
Run The Jewels’ new song “Ooh La La” features Nice & Smooth member Greg Nice and DJ Premier, and contains a sample of Gang Starr’s 1992 single “DWYCK,” one of the quintessential rap jams of its era. When asked of Smooth B’s absence from the accompanying music video, Mike breaks down the method to his madness, while also hinting at the possibility of a remix. “We don’t know if there’s a remix yet,” he explains. “And beyond that, it’s just because we had that sample and that splice. ‘Cause we could’ve just went with the sample and didn’t use Greg. We wanted to make sure Greg was shown in the video, so kids would say, ‘What is it?’ Cause what I want kids to do... what I realized, as Run The Jewels, we can’t bring everybody back to the ‘90s or late ‘80s and say, ‘This is what it was. This is pure.’ What we can do is make it funky and dope and send you on a quest to find it.”
7. Killer Mike On DJ Swiff’s Role As A Southern Rap Ambassador
A constant presence on social media, N.O.R.E. recently came across a live-stream on Mike’s Instagram account of DJ Swiff, the longtime tour DJ for Outkast and Big Boi, spinning southern rap classics. When N.O.R.E. admits to getting a crash course in regional rap anthems from the early ‘90s while tuning in, Mike gives a nod to the DJ, while acknowledging his preservation of the history of Atlanta hip hop. “He’s a militant about making sure you always represent for the f**king south,” the Run The Jewels spitter says. “Like, you know he DJs for Outkast, but he’s always gonna make sure [when] he’s spinning, you know that there was music before. And it was a strip club, jamming, thugged-out run.”
8. Shannon Briggs On Returning To The Ring
Former heavyweight boxing champ Shannon Briggs joins the stream and gives “Drink Champs” listeners a timely sports fix. In between teasing a possible exhibition match between himself and Tyson, Briggs wastes no time broadcasting his desire to go toe-to-toe with any and all challengers if given the opportunity. “I’m willing to fight anyone, any time,” he says. “I ran down on Klitschko, I ran down on Wilder, I ran down on A. I been knocking on doors, ain’t nobody answering, you feel me? I’m on my s**t. I’m a New Yorker just like you, you heard? I ain’t scared of nobody, son. I’m repping New York, I rep the world, I’m the people’s champ. I don’t need no belt, I just need the people. I’m like you. You the champ of the people, N.O.R.E., the people love you. We love you. That’s how I am in boxing, I’m the people’s champ.”
9. Shannon Briggs On Continuing Brownsville’s Legacy In The Boxing World
A native of Brownsville, Brooklyn, which has produced multiple legendary boxing champs, Briggs reveals his plans to carry on tradition by opening his own boxing gym with Tyson, where he’ll help breed the area’s next generations of pugilists. “We wanna open up a gym in Brownsville called The Brownsville Boxing Academy,” Briggs says of the endeavor. “To leave a legacy to help a lot of kids like myself. I was a homeless teenager growing up in Brooklyn, Mike, as well. We both was homeless, we both found boxing to get off the streets and made a life for ourselves. We talked it up for four hours, chopped it up, and then we started moving forward with the movie because we thought it would be something the people would like to see.”