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 rapper Vado and content creator/media personality ItsBizkit to chop up game. A native of Harlem, Vado gained acclaim after linking with fellow uptown rep Cam’ron, forming the duo U.N. and releasing the collaborative album, Gunz n’ Butter, in 2011. Raising his stock with various mixtape releases, Vado eventually parted ways with the Dipset artist, and partnered with DJ Khaled’s We the Best Music Group in 2013. Newly independent, and having released his last full-length project, Long Run Vol. 1, in 2019, the MC has crept toward veteran status.
Utilizing social media to build a name for himself, ItsBizkit has solidified himself as one of the more popular tastemakers and media personalities of today. A content creator at heart, the Long Island product has spent the better part of the last decade building connections with the hottest entertainers and influencers in the game, affording him the respect as a self-made man and a master in the art of creating social currency.
To help give fans a recap of the episode, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Vado and ItsBizkit “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. ItsBizkit On His New Hit Single
Media personality and content creator ItsBizkit, who recently added recording artist to his resume, shares the backstory to how his new hit single “Outside,” came about, as well as the rapper that declined to appear on it. “Shit, I was really outside and just catching that vibe,” he says of his inspiration in making the record. “And then I’m a rapper now; that’s the title of my album, too: I’m A Rapper Now. I came up with a hook and then I did a verse, and I wanted to get that New York energy going. So, I started reaching out to get Casanova on it. He had other things going on and he had too many of those vibes already, so he was going in another direction. And then I dropped it, it went viral [and] the world stopped as soon as I dropped the record. So, I was like, ‘Damn.’ Outside was shut down, so I kind’ve left it alone and then it started going viral on TikTok. Once people started going outside, that was the song to go outside with. So, I tapped in with Jada, he had the battle with Fab, so I was like, ‘Big bro, I need you on this.’”
2. Vado On The Pressure of Being From Harlem
Harlem’s lineage of legendary rap stars is extensive, which has resulted in expectations for every touted prospect out of the area to make their presence felt beyond its borders. When asked of the pressure that accompanies being a Harlemite in the rap game, Vado shrugs off the notion, attributing his confidence and swagger to being groomed for the spotlight since the genesis of his career. “I had hooked up with Ma$e and he had pulled up in the Phantom,” the spitter recalls. “I jumped in, we drove around Harlem, I was spitting on a bunch of beats and next thing I know, I was in Atlanta, he took me straight to Atlanta. So, I was already getting props from the greats, people I admired and inspired me. I was so much of a fan of it. I was a fan of ‘Children of the Corn,’ so I just couldn’t wait. I couldn’t wait to show what I had.”
3. Vado On His Record Deal With Cam
Vado’s affiliation with Cam’ron early in his career led to multiple joint projects that helped put him on the radar as one of the most promising newcomers out of the five boroughs. He speaks on the factors that led to their eventual split while addressing the pros and cons of being signed under him. “As far as Cam’s contracts, he don’t ever touch our publishing,” Vado reveals. “A lot of people don’t know that. He don’t ever touch your publishing, that’s yours. But, it’s just, as far as the contract, you’ll be in six-album deals with him. I mean, it was cool, but when Interscope dropped me, that contract was broken. So, then, I just moved on.”
4. Vado On His Relationship With DJ Khaled
Following his departure from Interscope, Vado was scooped up by Khaled, who signed him to his We The Best imprint with plans of minting him as his next big discovery. However, years without an album release led the rapper to take matters into his own hands. “I was signed to Cash Money/We The Best,” Vado explains. “Then, when Khaled went to the other label, it was really just, ‘Trust the process,’ while he gets things right over there. So, I’m still trusting the process. I got wild love for Khaled and I still feel I’m a part of We The Best, it’s just [that] I’m here for the long run.”
5. Vado On Becoming An Actor
As he looks to diversify his portfolio even further, Vado reveals that he’s making a foray into acting and is currently in the process of filming a project that he’ll be starring in. “We’re trying to be the new Black & Blue,” the Slime Flu rapper shares. “We got a lot of skits and videos coming out, I’m working on a little movie. A little Streets Is Watching meets Killa Season, but Harlem, as far as what’s going on in the world — real events — and me and him is, like, the stars of it. Shout out to Will C [and] Street Heat; they’re shooting it.”
6. ItsBizkit On Using Social Media To Secure A Distribution Deal With Sony/Orchard
A man of many viral moments, ItsBizkit explains how his presence on social media helped propel his new single, “Outside,” into rotation. “The first record I did off the rip and Flex broke it,” he recalls. “The ‘Uncle Biz’ joint, that was last year. So, I was just testing the waters and I threw it on the gram, when I saw Flex, he said, ‘Give me the record.’ I didn’t even have the record, so I had to get all of that together. So, right off the rip, I got distribution ‘cause I know my shit gonna stream.”
7. N.O.R.E. On Buying Dutches In L.A.
In addition to being a Drink Champ, N.O.R.E. is also a champion toker, having smoked using virtually every cigar brand in existence. However, the rap legend relives an embarrassing experience where his cigar of choice doubled as a tell-tale sign of his geographic roots. “I smoke Dutches,” he begins. “But this is when I knew I had to stop smoking Dutches out of town. I’m in L.A. [at] 7-11, we had just got out of some Grammy afterparty shit. Nobody in this store is from New York, I smell like Timberlands... but I’m trying to get through, I’m trying to be tough. Niggas is like, ‘Yo, we gonna walk you to the store,’ I’m like, ‘Nah, nah, stay in the car.’ So, one of my homies comes out. For some reason, when I get to the line, I go, ‘Yo, you got Dutchmasters?’ The whole store stopped, like, ‘Yo, you from New York, right?’”
8. ItsBizkit On Janet Jackson Helping Him Go Viral
In July 2020, ItsBizkit got a huge boost to his social media currency when an impromptu video inspired by the racial, political and emotional turmoil in the world caught the attention of millions of viewers who reposted it. Among them, music icon Janet Jackson. “A lot of people tap in with me [from] all over the world,” he says. “So they’re sending me videos in London and all the protests. I just took a ride to clear my head a little bit, you feel me? And when I did the video, I actually put my phone in my pocket, I said, ‘Yo, I’m off this shit for, like, a day. I’ma take a break. People just kept telling me, Biz, I love you, I got love for you, so I was just sharing that. I said, Yo, if you got love for somebody, send them this, let them know that they appreciate you. I appreciate you’ and I put my phone in my pocket. An hour later, my man was calling me, he’s like, ‘You know Janet Jackson?’ I’m like, ‘I know who that is, obviously. I can’t text her or none of that,’ you know what I mean? He’s like, ‘Yeah, she posted your video on Twitter,’ so now I opened up my phone and it was at a million views. Drake told me Snoop sent it to him, I started sending it to people that I got love for, so yeah, that was crazy. That’s how I got the Fashion Nova deal and a bunch of stuff came from that. It was positivity, I wasn’t even trying to even really go viral with it.”
9. ItsBizkit on His Relationship With Drake
One of the first major cosigns to solidify ItsBizkit as a social media influencer came via Drake after the Long Island rep posted a reactionary video to his Meek Mill warning shot “Charged Up,” prompting the OVO overlord to personally reach out. “At the time, once people said he was following me, I went to his page,” he recalls. “And I was like, ‘Oh shit, he’s following me.’ I followed him back and I hit him on the DM, I ain’t even think he was gonna respond to it. I was like, ‘Yo, I’m charged up,’ he was like, ‘Yo, I was laughing at that video, it was hilarious.’ And then fast forward, I went to Toronto [for All Star Weekend], I had a showcase out there and then niggas was like, ‘Drake was out here.’ And that’s when I met him and it was all love, off the rip. We took a flick, ShadeRoom posted it, that went viral, so it just kept going.”