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 gets a visit from Donnell Rawlings. In addition to the comedian, rap phenomenon LL Cool J takes a break from his quarantine schedule to provide a bit of positivity during these times of uncertainty. Stamped as one of the greatest rap artists and overall entertainers of all-time, the star has managed to infiltrate various corners of the entertainment industry. But, his sense of responsibility to hip hop has always been a priority.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from this week’s “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. Donnell Rawlings On Creating His “Ashy Larry” Character
Rawlings’ stint on the iconic sketch comedy series “Chappelle’s Show” helped put him on the radar. During his appearance on Quarantine Champs, the Washington D.C. native gives the backstory behind why he felt the need to create the Ashy Larry character. “That sketch was not designed for Ashy Larry to shine,” he explains. “Look who was in there: Eddie Griffin, Charlie Murphy, Dave Chappelle. We didn’t have a lot of niggas outside of our circle — Jamie Foxx was one. That sketch was designed — if you look at the script, who had the most lines on the thing — that was for Eddie Griffin and Dave Chappelle. Nigga, if you look at it on paper, I was a young nigga, I ain’t have no money. Every second on that camera means something to me, I had to go hard.”
2. LL Cool J On Achieving Your Dreams
LL Cool J shared his perspective on various topics including the importance of persevering to achieve one’s dreams. “Anything is possible,” the “NCIS” star says of trusting the process. “First of all, you gotta be willing to have the courage to risk dreaming big. A lot of people are afraid of reaming big, they’re scared to disappoint themselves, it’s just scary to think big. It’s scary to think, ‘I can take it to another level.’ That’s a very uncomfortable space because there are no excuses out there... But, you can’t make excuses if you wanna do big things, you just gotta go for it. You gotta be able to wear it on the chin and really own it.”
3. LL Cool J’s Thoughts On Creating A Pension For Hip Hop Artists
When N.O.R.E. breaks down the concept to LL Cool J, the Queens icon gave his own take. “I think what you’re saying is right,” he begins. “I think there’s a bigger conversation that really needs to be thought about the whole idea of putting something together where there’s financial literacy, where there’s insurance, where there’s some sort of annuity thing that’s deducted from royalties. Where there’s something that kind of gives the youngsters the opportunity to have something. So, when they’re finished going through their gold chain/Rolls Royce phase, they have something left.”
4. LL Cool J On His Being Overlooked As A Trendsetter
Recently, on rapper Da Baby’s song, “Back To Cali” he attributes the phrase “Going Back to Cali” to The Notorious B.I.G., when in fact, it was LL Cool J who first coined it in his 1988 hit single of the same name. However, while N.O.R.E. perceives the omission as a slight, LL Cool J takes it in stride. “The reality is, I know Biggie got ‘Goin Back to Cali’ from me, so if shorty got ‘Goin Back to Cali’ from Biggie, that’s okay,” he said. “That’s alright. I’ve done quite a few things in the game, and ushered in a lot of things, and started a lot of things that took on a life of their own. Like, I mean, I named my album G.O.A.T. in 2000 and introduced to the game, and came out with this G.O.A.T. thing. Look what G.O.A.T. has become and how many people truly associate me with that when they hear that word, G.O.A.T.”
5. LL Cool J’s Plans To Preserve Hip Hop History
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has shown love to various hip hop icons in recent years including Run D.M.C., N.W.A., Tupac Shakur, and The Notorious B.I.G. However, many in the community, including N.O.R.E., have voiced their desire to see the culture implement our own institutions, a sentiment LL Cool J agrees with and plans to enforce with his own platform Rock The Bells. “It’s getting bigger and bigger every day,” he shares. “I’m on the national board of the Smithsonian Institution and I talk to Lonnie Bunch, who’s the secretary of the Smithsonian. He’s a good friend of mine. And we talk about hip hop, we talk about being sure we get the narrative right. They need to know about Capone-N-Noreaga, they need to know about Mobb Deep, we need to know about Grand Wizard Theodre, you know? So, it’s that part of it. There are conversations about that. But then, the other side is that Rock The Bells is really going to, I think, do a lot for classic hip hop culture. When this platform launches, everybody’s gonna check it out, and when people come and check it out, you’re gonna see how much we’re doing for our people.”
6. LL Cool J On The Time He Accidentally Punched Lennox Lewis
During his interview on “Drink Champs,” LL recalls the time he landed a jab to the face of former heavyweight boxing champ Lennox Lewis while filming an episode for his sitcom “In the House.” “So, back when I was doing ‘In the House,’ Lennox did a guest appearance, right?” he started. “For whatever reason, my character’s supposed to be boxing Lennox Lewis for charity, right? So we’re in there, we’re playing around and some kind of way, he threw a punch and I threw a punch, and [I] caught him in the nose and I was like, ‘Don’t hit me! Yo, hold up! I said timeout, cut! Hold up!’ because I wasn’t supposed to catch him. I don’t know how I caught him, but whatever happened, I wanted to just really give it a timeout, and give it a second and reset.”
7. LL Cool J On Possibly Filming A Biopic or Docu-series of His Life
As hip hop continues to age, many of our most important figures’ stories are being told through television and film. When asked of his plans to ever spearhead a project documenting his own life, LL Cool J is non-committal, explaining that his mind is focused on the accomplishments he has yet to attain. “It’s just a matter of having the bandwidth to do it and how into it I am,” he said. “It’s like you’re making a documentary about history, but I’m really more interested in making more history than I am thinking about my prior history. So, it’s like a priority thing.”
8. LL Cool J’s Thoughts On The Circumstances Surrounding Chris Lighty’s Death
The death of legendary music executive Chris Lighty in 2012 rocked the hip hop community to its core. A longtime friend of his, LL Cool J shares his thoughts on the circumstances surrounding his death and why he’s in denial that Lighty was a victim of suicide. “You know why?” LL said. “Because it just seems so... like, unnecessary and wrong. It seems so out of character and just so bad. And the fact that there’s circumstances... let’s call it what it is. The fact that they claim it was suicide just doesn’t sit right with anybody and because of that, you can’t rest. You can’t rest, it doesn’t rest. We want him to be alive, but if someone had shot him in front of a club, we at least would understand and we’d be at rest. May he rest in power, but that suicide thing doesn’t add up because we know his character he was a strong guy. He wasn’t perfect, none of us are, [but] he was a strong guy. He was talented, he was brilliant, he was smart, he was a thinker... He had his team, he was a leader, he was a man’s man, like, it just didn’t make sense. So, that’s why it’s kind of, like, weird and I still to this day don’t believe that he did that to himself... I just don’t believe it... and I’m never gonna. Nobody’s gonna make me believe that.”
9. LL Cool J On His Relationship With The Beastie Boys
As one of the seminal rap groups of all time, the Beastie Boys are considered rap royalty. LL Cool J voices his admiration for them and the pivotal role one of the group’s members played in his own illustrious career. “Ad-Rock, he got me my break,” LL reveals. “Ad-Rock played my demo for Rick Rubin, and not only did he play my demo for Rick Rubin, but he programmed the drums for my first song, “I Need A Beat.” So, Ad-Rock of the Beastie Boys, I owe him a lot in terms of respect. So, when they asked me would I host these guys and have them on the channel, and celebrate their documentary and career, it was a no-brainer for me. And I will always support the Beastie Boys.”