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Jalen Rose on NY Knicks’ curse, Ludacris on Verzuz battle with Nelly and more

For the fourth episode of “Drink Champs’,” Quarantine Champs, sports analyst and former NBA star Jalen Rose brings his flavor to the proceedings. In addition, rap star Ludacris joins the party.

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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 fourth episode of “Drink Champs’,” Quarantine Champs, sports analyst and former NBA star Jalen Rose brings his flavor to the proceedings. In addition, rap star Ludacris joins the party and gives a recap of his Verzuz battle against Nelly on Instagram Live, as well as talks diversifying his portfolio and what he has in store next.

To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the episode. Take a look at them below.

1. Jalen Rose On The Backstory Of His “Jalen & Jacoby” Sports Talk Show

One of the first athletes to dive into the podcast game, Jalen Rose has parlayed the success of “Jalen & Jacoby” into a full-fledged TV show on ESPN. It wasn’t even in our contract,” he says. “It was a passion project. And our show used to be called ‘The Rose Report.’ I pitched the idea to Bill Simmons about me doing a podcast. I was already doing the NBA coverage and talking about the others sports on ESPN. So, when they started Grantland, I started doing ‘The Rose Report’ podcast and I was doing it with Jacoby, but he wasn’t listed on the show. And it was like Run DMC and Salt-N-Pepa. I hated they didn’t acknowledge Jam Master Jay or Spinderella, like, they should be in the title. So I’m like, ‘It’s two of us doing the show, he should be in the title.’ And then, all of a sudden, it just grew and grew and grew.”

2. Jalen Rose On His Relationship With Mike Tyson

Rose’s ascent as a college and NBA standout coincided with Mike Tyson’s return to dominance following the boxing champ’s prison during the early ‘90s, leading the two to develop a kinship with one another that remains strong to this day. “Actually, I got a chance to see Mike,” Rose shares. “We were at the Fury Wilder fight. And I went to the NBA in ‘94, so this is when Mike was at his height, so I was at all of the Mike fights. I saw at least 15 Mike fights up close and personal. I went to Mike’s house multiple times.

3. Jalen Rose’s Thoughts On High School Basketball Stars Skipping College To Enter The NBA G League

A member of the University of Michigan’s iconic Fab Five squad, Rose’s history with the NCAA is checkered. When asked of his thoughts on the NCAA allowing players to sign endorsement and licensing deals, he uses a Notorious B.I.G. lyric to get his point across. “I think I gotta do this public service announcement,” he begins. “And Biggie said it: ‘Either you’re slinging crack-rock or you got a wicked jump shot,’ right? And so, I know a lot of people in and outside of our community make use feel like our ability to play sports or rap or entertain, and get a check when we’re 17, 18, 19 will last us forever. It won’t. So, I appreciate the opportunities that the G League is gonna provide and if you don’t wanna go to college and that’s not for you, you should be able to make a living off your likeness.”

4. Jalen Rose On The Alleged Curse On The New York Knicks

The New York Knicks have seemingly been cursed for the better part of the past two decades, which, according to rap artist Nature, could be attributed to their decision to trade away hometown point guard Rod Strickland from the squad in 1990. A basketball historian himself, Rose agrees with that sentiment. “As somebody that followed the league and understood that not only was New York the capital for dropping dimes, and people having handle and being slick with it, but you guys had Mark Jackson and Rod Strickland on the same team at the same time balling? Man, that was supposed to be Earl Monroe and Clyde Frazier for you young punks out there that don’t know. That’s what that was gonna be for y’all. And for them to not allow that to happen, and both of those dudes then go on and play, like, forty years combined and put in so much crazy work? I agree with that [line].”

5. Ludacris On His Affinity For Uncle Nearest Whiskey

A noted liquor enthusiast, Ludacris, who helped introduce Conjure to the market during the ‘00s, is using his celebrity to push another brand of spirits to the forefront in 2020. “There’s a whole story behind this Uncle Nearest [Whiskey], I don’t know if y’all know,” Luda says. “Yeah, man, I went to the Uncle Nearest [distillery]. I went to the whole Tennessee and did the whole tour, man. It’s life-changing when you understand that story. And I’m sure that Kenny Burns was able to relay a little of what was going on, but when you get a chance — because we’re all fans of the best alcoholic beverages that this world has to offer and we got a lot of history in one of our states called Tennessee — you have to go to Uncle Nearest. And if you really want the full story, you go to Jack Daniels first, so that you can see the inconsistencies in some of the stories that they tell around this motherf**ker.”

6. Ludacris On His Verzuz Battle With Nelly

The Verzuz showdown between Ludacris and Nelly was one of the more entertaining. When asked of his game-plan heading into the battle, Luda likens his strategy to playing cards. “It’s like spades, poker, whatever you wanna do,” he says. “Humbly speaking, I had so many songs. I even had so many songs obviously I wasn’t able to play. But, you kinda throw your first card out there and you see what the next card comes, and then you react from there. So, it was kinda just going as it went along. I tried to figure out how I was gonna compete, and I know both myself and Nelly are just competitors.”

7. Ludacris On His Stint As A Radio Personality

Prior to racing up the Billboard charts with his debut album, Ludacris got his first big break as Chris Lova Lova, deejaying on Atlanta’s radio station Hot 97.5. “Let me clarify something for you just so that you know, he begins. “And obviously, you may not have known this, but I’ve been rapping since I was 9 [years old]. When I worked at that radio station in Atlanta, Georgia; it was all a plan and a strategic plan that obviously worked out from me going up there to try and get people to listen to my music cause I was like, ‘There’s artists and producers that come up here all the time.’ So, when you got introduced to me, of course, I had to put on the face and I was acting as though I wanted to be a DJ, but what I was really doing was rapping. To answer your question, my first love is and will always be music because there’s nothing that touches my soul more than music.”

8. Ludacris On Appearing On Nas’ “Made You Look (Remix)”

One song from Ludacris’ Verzuz battle against Nelly that got a resounding reaction was “Made You Look (Remix),” which paired the southern stalwart alongside Nas and Jadakiss. “Nas has gone on record saying before that I was one of his favorite rappers,” Luda shares. “And still, to this day, it’s surreal to hear that and it was the biggest compliment in the world. And I got that call to get on that record and immediately, I was like, ‘Where it at?’”

9. Ludacris On 2 Chainz’s Rise To Stardom

During his run as one of the biggest stars in rap, Ludacris introduced a number of new acts that found individual success, the most accomplished being 2 Chainz. Releasing two albums with DTP as one-half of the duo Playaz Circle, the artist formerly known as Tity Boi left the label and re-branded himself, which Luda acknowledges when asked if 2 Chainz was his best discovery as an executive. “Yeah, man,” he confirms. “He used to be in a group, Playaz Circle, and their music — if you gotta go back and listen to it — you’ll see where it set the stage and the foundation for everything. Not just ‘Duffel Bag [Boy],’ but I mean, [everything]. It’s just one of those things, like you said, N.O.R.E., sometimes when somebody’s first album comes out, people don’t understand the impact that it really has until later on, and you go back and listen to it. That’s how you know certain people are ahead of their time. But yeah, man, his success and everything he’s done, I couldn’t be more proud.”

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