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 invite a trio of leaders in the sociopolitical sphere as rappers Mysonne and Trae Tha Truth, along with activist Tamika Mallory, all slid through to chop it up and kick a little bit of knowledge. No stranger to the show, Mysonne makes his return. One of the most revered rap artists in Houston, Trae has transcended the music scene through his undying loyalty to his community, and placed himself on the frontlines of protests and providing relief in the face of natural disasters. And in the case of Mallory, the New York native has dedicated her life to improving civil rights within the Black community, famously helping organize the 2017 Women’s March, which gained global recognition. Featured in the TIME 100, and a recipient of the Coretta Scott King Legacy award, she continues to use her platforms to promote progression and equality.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Mysonne, Trae Tha Truth, and Tamika Mallory “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. Mysonne On Having The Respect Of The Youth
With Trae, Mallory, and himself being products of hip hop culture, Mysonne shares how they have been able to connect with the youth and gain their trust. “We have to look at what our community has,” Mysonne explains. “A lot of these young boys, they don’t connect to the people who’re telling them not to do the [wrong] thing. They don’t have somebody that looks like them, that comes from where they come from, that speaks the language, that dresses like them, that understands the culture that they’re involved in... I think it’s necessary for credible messages like ours. When you look at Trae, when you look at myself, when you look at Tamika, we come as we are. We understand the same things.”
2. Trae Tha Truth On ABN Being Born Out Of Gang Culture
With his ability to mobilize thousands of people, including various gangs in Houston, Trae’s roots in the streets are brought to the forefront during his appearance on “Drink Champs.” He explains the impact that gang culture had on the ABN movement, and how it’s informed how he levels with the people within that lifestyle while still promoting awareness and positivity. “You gotta realize, everything I represent came from the gang culture,” he explains. “The only difference is, coming up where I’m from, I was the one that brought all the gangs together. It didn’t matter whether you were from what block, it was just about respect. That’s what ABN really is, and the power of how I transformed it is I’m still in the streets everyday. Even though I do what I do, the reason they love me is because they know that trust is instilled in me. They know he’s gonna give it to us pure, blank, raw. He not finna look down on us.’”
3. Trae Tha Truth On His Comparison To J. Prince
One of the more respected figures in Houston’s underworld, Trae has garnered comparisons to Rap-A-Lot Records founder and H-Town legend J. Prince, a compliment he speaks on while speaking on their respective charitable efforts within their hometown. “People fail to realize, he’s always took care of the hood,” Trae says of Prince. “He’s always took care of the community. He’s always tried to [mediate beefs] if it’s unnecessary and people classify me damn near as his son, we’re the exact same. We’re not walking away from nothing, but if we’re watching it and it’s unnecessary, we’re gonna try to make sense of it. You gotta make sense of it ‘cause if you’re doing it for nothing, what’s the purpose?”
4. Tamika Mallory On Black Women’s Impact On The Presidential Election
According to Mallory, Black women’s role in Joe Biden choosing Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election was indispensable, a choice she believes ultimately swung the election in Biden’s favor. “In her situation, if it were not for the fact that Joe Biden chose her as his running mate, he wouldn’t have won,” Mallory argues. “It’s no way. He won because he selected her and that didn’t just happen. My sister Jotaka Edie and a number of other incredible Black women came together maybe two months before he made the pick and began to apply pressure. We wrote letters, I signed onto a number of letters and situations where they basically were reaching out saying to his campaign that it has to be a Black woman.”
5. Mysonne On The Importance Of Politics
Mysonne speaks on switching his perspective on the power of politics, as well as the importance of the Black and brown community participating in the political process. “I think we definitely underestimate our power. Personally, I’m from the hood, I never believed in none of this politics shit, like, ‘I’m not doing politics, that shit don’t work.’ And then when you start to be in certain rooms, you start to have conversations, you start to understand either you do politics or politics does you, you understand what I’m saying? You saying you don’t vote is the dumbest shit ever because the shit you don’t vote for is still gonna affect your life.”
6. Tamika Mallory On Trump Raising Political Awareness
In the eyes of Mallory, one of the few upsides of the Trump Administration was the awareness it brought, in terms of legislation and policy, which she feels had a positive impact on last year’s presidential election. “The president needs the senate to help pass anything,” the Harlem native explains. “So that’s why when people say, ‘President Obama didn’t do enough to help Black people,’ he didn’t have the senate. He lost the senate because people didn’t understand at that time. I think people are way more clear about elections and people are much more knowledgeable about elections and the process now with all the craziness. Trump actually did that.”
7. N.O.R.E. On An Encounter With Trump Supporters
N.O.R.E. shares an encounter with his neighbor, who just so happened to be attending a pro-Trump rally and how the George Floyd murder changed the neighbor’s opinion of the former president. “Trump had a rally by my crib,” N.O.R.E. recalls. “He had a real rally by my crib and all of the people that were Jewish, it was Israelis for Trump or something like that. So one [of the people that went] was my neighbors and I’m like, ‘Oh really?’ They’re coming out, they usually have on shorts, they got on Dockers and I’m like, ‘Oh OK, ya’ll going to fuck with [Trump]?’ I said, ‘Aight, I’ma remember this.’ So a year later, after the George Floyd shit, everyone of them came up to me and said, ‘We gotta get him out of office.’”
8. Trae Tha Truth On His Relationship with George Floyd
Prior to his tragic death, Floyd built a reputation within the Texas hip hop scene, as he appeared on DJ Screw tapes and fostered relationships with a number of local artists, Trae among them. “You know, George Floyd was the homie,” Trae shares. “If you go and look at some of the older stuff [you’ll see him]. I’ve been banned from radio, I think this makes maybe 12 years, worldwide, and when everybody left me hanging, he was one of the few that would always pull up to support... Actually, it’s so crazy, I went out there right after he got killed, and met with Tamika and Mysonne and from that point, that’s when we kind’ve never separated.”
9. Tamika Mallory On Her Authenticity As A Political Activist
One of the most powerful voices in the realm of sociopolitical activism, Mallory admits to not being as buttoned-up as some of her contemporaries since she unabashedly speaks on the dichotomy between her public persona and private life. “I say to people all the time, ‘I am not perfect,’” she recalls. “I do drink, I hang out, I like to twerk. You might catch me in the club, you might catch me going to the strip club and I refuse to [front] because I would hate for people to find out later something about me, and then be discouraged or just like, ‘Wow, [I] can’t believe that this is who she is.’ And not to say that all your business is in the street, obviously, we all got stuff that is our darkest thing that nobody knows about. But for the most part, I try to be extremely authentic and just put forth the true me so that everybody is really clear.”