‘State of the Culture’ is the show you turn on to hear unfiltered, unapologetic, gritty opinions in regards to topics within hip hop culture — whether you agree with what’s being said or not. Joe Budden, Remy Ma, Jinx, and Eboni K. Williams aren’t here to hold your hand in their debates and sugarcoat their words. They’re here to say what everyone else is afraid of saying, and do so with no hesitation. From talking about music, politics, sports and everything in between; the hosts are always with the shits. Welcome to ‘State of the Culture.’
“State of the Culture” is back with brand new episodes — and during Black History Month no less. Everyone’s got a brand new bag and we love to see it. On a personal note, Remy Ma is feeling liberated now that she’s finally off parole. Oh, and let’s not forget Eboni is newly engaged! Joe is still getting flamed for his outfits, but at least we now have a dedicated segment for it (more on that later). It’s been a while since our panel all gathered on the couch, so there’s lots to dive into this week — most notably the passing of Kobe Bryant, and the complications of his legacy. The Oscars went back to being so white, but what’s next for the culture to do? Don’t worry, our panel’s got the answer.
Check out the nine gems from this week’s “State Of The Culture” below.
1. Kobe Bryant’s legacy was complicated, but respect shouldn’t be
Sadly, the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven of their friends/teammates still lingers. While those who knew him best mourn, there’s simultaneously a pattern of media reports digging up the skeletons of his past — most notably his 2003 rape allegations. While Jinx acknowledges that we must consider the totality of a person’s legacy, he doesn’t feel that how an individual grieves shouldn’t be dictated by the media bringing up his past. “It’s complicated,” he explains. “You don’t get to turn that into one dimension on your own and then tell me how to [mourn].” Remy Ma feels that the larger issue is society as a whole is losing its grip on morality. “People disrespect the dead. They disrespect women, children, the elderly, the handicapped,” she says. “There’s nothing off limits anymore and it’s exacerbated by social media.” Deeper than that, the SOTC panel feels that the underhanded attempts to muddy Bryant’s legacy ties back to race and the mainstream agenda to knock our black legends down a peg. “When Kirk Douglas passed away shortly after Kobe, nobody said shit and he has rape allegations,” Eboni reminds us.
2. Snoop Dogg’s response to Gayle King gets a resounding thumbs down
In a viral video, Snoop Dogg aggressively called Gayle King out of her name for bringing up Bryant’s rape allegations in an interview with his longtime friend Lisa Leslie. Joe says he’s disappointed in Snoop for taking it that far simply because “I don’t think black women should be spoken to or handled that way,” adding “calling her a dog face b*tch didn’t do anything for the sentiment that he was trying to get out.” Jinx agrees, explaining, “He felt like [Gayle] did something lower than what she should have done, and he lowered himself to get even.” Eboni doesn’t degree with Snoop’s sentiments toward Gayle, but like her fellow co-hosts, stopped agreeing with him when profanities were used. “The line [he] crossed is so egregious,” she says.
3. Joe gets lightweight flamed for his wardrobe choices
In a newly SOTC segment called “Drip Talk,” the panel shoots the breeze about their looks for the day. Joe’s suede jacket and fedora hat gets mixed reviews from the panel. Remy makes no secret of the fact that she’s not loving this look, saying she “prefers dad hat Joe better.” Eboni, however, was feeling the monochromatic look. Ultimately, Joe acknowledges that fashion is not his strong suit. “I feel like most women hate the way I dress, but they don’t say it because I’m rich.” Way to be humble there, Joe!
4. Wendy Williams going zero to 100 on her audience took us aback
Wendy Williams recently came under fire for criticizing gay men wearing skirts and heels on her show. The TV host apologized shortly afterward. When it comes to the Williams debacle, Eboni feels it’s OK to have your opinions about sexuality as long as you’re not being oppressive. Joe empathizes with the feeling of having a talk show and “saying some things that you wish you could take back.” Jinx is just amused that this all stemmed from a conversation about Valentine’s Day. “She just started shitting on everyone,” he jokes.
5. The Oscars gets it wrong again...so what’s stopping the culture from creating their own?
This year, the Academy Awards reverted back to being white AF. In Eboni’s opinion, “The Oscars are exactly who they’ve shown us to be.” Remy Ma thinks it’s time we, as a culture, throw in the Oscars towel and create our own lane. “Why don’t we have our own award show for these things?” she questions. “Let’s just wait for Tyler Perry. He’ll do it. It has to be somebody people respect so our people show up.” Jinx feels the lack of diversity is also a missed opportunity for the Academy. “There’s data out there that says diverse films kill at the box office,” he says. “You don’t think your awards shows should be diverse, so you can kill in the ratings? Idiots.”
6. Remy Ma gives a word on honoring black legends
Janet Jackson recently announced her forthcoming Black Diamond album and tour. In the announcement, it is revealed Jackson will perform “Rhythm Nation” and other classics we love. Jinx questions her ability to perform hits from her younger years, and Remy quickly nips that idea in the bud. “The problem with our community is that we are so quick to write off and throw away our greats,” she says. Jinx retorts that he respects Jackson, but that “she’s not going to move like she did at 20.” Joe later gives him the opportunity to clean up his words, which he wisely chose to take. Remy suggests Joe fly everyone out to Essence Festival, so they can see our legend in action. Sounds like a good idea to us!
7. Drake hasn’t gotten the stamp of black excellence he deserves
Drake recently came under fire for filming a video in front of Marcy Projects, then signed a deal with Caffeine to produce battle rap videos. Some may frown upon Drake’s influence in the culture, and Jinx feels the Toronto native often gets unfairly labeled a culture vulture. “The idea that this dude invested in battle rap, shouldn’t that be looked at as dope? But, because it’s Drake, it’s a mark on his ledger,” he says. “He might not be a battle rapper, but that’s like [criticizing] Magic Johnson for making movie theaters because he doesn’t make movies.” Eboni feels Drake is deserving of his flowers. “This young brother has been at it a long time,” she reminds us.
8. Chicago wants Jussie’s Smollett’s cash or they’ll have his ass
Just when we thought the dust had settled, Jussie Smollett is being indicted on six counts of disorderly conduct by the city of Chicago for allegedly staging his hate crime. As an attorney, Eboni has seen this situation play out many times. It’s a classic “cash or ass” scenario. “If Jussie paid the restitution he was initially asked for, it would have been less money [than the $500,000 they want now],” she explains. “It was his refusal to pay the cash, so now they’re going for his ass. And this will continue until he stops.”
9. Remy Ma honors Big Pun on the 20th anniversary of his passing
As we reflect on the life and legacy of Big Pun, Remy credits the late rap legend with getting her to see a future in rap. “When I met him, I was with him every day until he passed,” she reveals. “Big Pun played a big part in my [career].” On the flip-side, she connects it back to the Kobe dilemma, where people use a legend’s death as an opportunity to bring up an ugly parts of their past. “All I know is what I know of him,” she maintains. “This man literally changed my life. So whatever someone dug up after he was dug, he’s not here for me to talk to him about it. Why is anyone trying to tarnish this man’s image? I feel he deserves way more than that.”