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9 highlights from the “State of Smoke” episode of “State of the Culture”

Sending condolences to Pop Smoke and more; Joe Budden, Remy Ma, Jinx, and Eboni K. Williams break down the latest moments to hit the culture. And Jadakiss pulls up!

‘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” returns with a new episode this week. Sending condolences to Pop Smoke, Esther Scott, and Ja’Net Dubois; Joe Budden, Remy Ma, Jinx, and Eboni K. Williams break down the latest moments to hit the culture. Attempting to make sense of Pop Smoke’s murder, discussion on Future’s latest viral lyrics, highlighting empowering figures for Black History Month, and important political debate all happens during this episode. Plus, hip hop legend Jadakiss stops by to discuss his upcoming album and more. With so many things popping off that impact the culture, the SOTC squad has loads of facts and opinions to unleash.

Check out the nine gems from this week’s “State Of The Culture” below.

1. Jadakiss Is Switching Things Up For Icepick Jay

Remy Ma jokingly boasts, “It feels good to have another lyricist on the couch with me” as the panel welcomes Jadakiss to the set. The Yonkers-bred rapper named his upcoming album Ignatius after Icepick Jay, who passed in June 2017 of cancer. Key to the Ruff Ryders movement, his credits include executive producing albums such as Eve’s Scorpion, and all of Jadakiss’ solo works, among many more. “I wanted it to be soulful, not too sad. Just a vibe. No turn-up, just something you can clean the crib to, have a road trip to, go to the hookah lounge and listen. That kind of vibe,” the MC says when describing the album. Although the album may sound different than Kiss Of Death, Jada promises his familiar edge is not lost. Joe Budden, Remy Ma, and Jadakiss kick some real rap conversation reminiscing on the glory days of hip hop’s past by acknowledging their individual ups and downs.

2. Remy Ma’s Official First Album Never Dropped

Remy’s status as a veteran rapper includes hot unreleased music. She shares how as a high school student, she recorded an album that never saw the light of day. Acknowledging she still has access to these songs, the Bronx-bred emcee takes it way back by channeling teenage excitement about having a Jadakiss feature on her first project. The album, recorded under her first record deal with Loud Records, was unfortunately not released before the label went under. Jada took over the hook of her first single. She reminds him by stating, “You probably don’t even fucking remember.” Will the world ever hear Remy Ma’s angsty teenage bars? If they have the same level of lyrical dexterity and street prowess as her later and current releases, we are all for it.

3. Pop Smoke Deserved A Better Story

Jinx notes that “Welcome To The Party” Pop Smoke’s breakout hit — a bat signal to get people hype at functions — now has an evil tone. The group discusses how to celebrate the life and career of the late artist, and other rappers gone too soon without becoming desensitized to gun violence. “Someone’s not playing it because they’re turning up, they’re playing it because they’re saddened,” says Jinx. Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the Brooklyn rapper was shot dead by intruders at a Los Angeles residence on February 19, 2020. While his music will live on forever, the legacy of Pop Smoke now includes a tragic death and as Jinx implies, he deserved more. Joe notes that although Smoke was only a nationally famous rapper for a brief amount of time, “The energy was strong” and felt. In a heart-heavy conversation, Remy makes the point that unfortunate deaths are only happing in the culture. “[They are] in our field, in our genre, in our culture. You don’t see the new rockstars come out and they have to worry about that,” she states. She continues to share a story about how she met Smoke at a baby shower and hoped to have him on her upcoming project. Remy was impressed by his demeanor.

4. Are Hip Hop Deaths A Race Problem?

After talking through Smoke’s legacy, Jinx questions the plague of death, violence and other disparities throughout the history of hip hop. A culture synonymous with black and brown people, the co-host asks if the problem is of the genre or of the race. Remy initiates the strong opinion that the issue falls on the communities. In her opinion, race plays a major role in the interactions and experiences people have in society including not only rappers and musicians, but also athletes. “They move totally different when the skin complexion is different,” she says. Jinx disagrees, offering a broader take by citing “conditioning for years and years” resulting in the lack of respect for one another. Eboni adds, “I’m not going to sit up here and blame hip hop at all,” while sharing how she agrees with Remy. However, the violent messages are still prevalent in the music and normalized. Remy counters by using the violence displayed in movies to support her point.

5. Eboni Believes Boosie’s Rant Against Dwyane Wade Highlights A Bigger Problem

Boosie recently took to Instagram sharing his opinion on Dwyane Wade’s support of his adolescent daughter Zaya, who recently came out as transgender. During the rant, the Louisiana rapper expressed disappointment in the All-Star NBA player for allowing his child to transition. Eboni vocalizes the idea that there are larger issues involved. “A lot of black folk in the culture think there is something at play called the gay agenda,” she says, while acknowledging that the representation of the LGBTQ community in mainstream media has grown in the past decades, however, she does not believe an agenda targeting black youth exists. Remy Ma questions, “Should children be able to choose?” saying in America, conversations around sexuality in general too often include children. Jinx flat-out says Boosie’s comments were stupid and Joe does his BEST Boosie impersonation.

6. Jinx Believes Future Is In Love

Future takes name-dropping up-a-notch when he dedicated a line to Steve Harvey, his current girlfriend’s step-dad on the “Life Is Good” remix; featuring Drake, DaBaby, and Lil Baby. Lori Harvey, one of the culture’s current top-of-the-line socialites has seemingly made things official with Future although both have interesting and public dating histories. “And she call me daddy ‘cause my money long like Stevie,” the Atlanta star melodically raps. Questioning whether the bar goes one step too far, Jinx says he believes Future is in love and sees no fault in the rhyme while Joe agrees, saying, “He’s lost... Future hasn’t said a peep about Gucci flip-flops in a long time.” The panel ultimately questions how the King Of Comedy feels about the line. The only take on this song left that we need is from Steve, himself.

7. Do Presidential Debates Matter?

Elizabeth Warren’s performance earned the moniker “Elizabeth Warren G” from the SOTC panel, but will it count for anything? After she dominated Michael Bloomberg during the last Democratic debate, Jinx questions whether the former New York mayor’s unpreparedness will even matter due to his enormous wealth. “He’s got to be out the race, but he probably won’t because he’s a billionaire,” Jinx says. When it comes to politics, Jinx also believes that Bloomberg is just like Trump, while Eboni says the difference between the hopeful POTUS and the current Commander-In-Chief are vital and cannot be overlooked. Remy closes the conversation by explaining that she hopes to have a candidate come sit on the SOTC couch.

8. Joe Budden Is Usually Right

Joe Budden welcomes Lil Pump back after a short-lived retirement from rap music. On last week’s episode, Joe reported on the announcement by noting that rappers never really retire. He shared how Lil Pump said, “I’m done doing music I quit” on social media, and how fully confident that the “Gucci Gang” rapper would indeed grab the mic again. During his initial report, Joe promised viewers updates on the state of Pump’s music career. Aligning with his word, Joe makes sure to let everyone know that the young rapper has indeed promised new music, officially ending his retirement.

9. James Brown’s Death Deserves A Full Investigation

James Brown died in December 2006 of what was ruled a heart attack and fluid in the lungs. However, now officials are considering investigating the incident. A prosecutor is set to re-examine the tragedy by looking for clues that may point to a different cause of death. A full investigative report published by CNN highlighted the story of Jacquelyn Hollander, who called for another look and now, it may really happen. Joe fully believes a full investigation should take place regarding Brown’s death. Remy questions the process saying, “What are you investigating to see if there should be an investigation? That’s kind of dumb” after learning the district attorney will announce a decision to move forward or not in upcoming months. Joe gets into his conspiracy theorist bag by recalling the stories he learned of “The Godfather Of Soul” through documentaries. The culture will have to watch this intense legal situation play out.

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