“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 never hold back. Welcome to “State of the Culture.”
Missed us? Well, you knew we wouldn’t leave for too long. Until the hosts can get back to the couch, “State Of The Culture” are here via new virtual episodes. We get to see our hosts on their laid back tip, as they go over topics that have been top of mind these past two weeks. First on the docket are the Instagram battles we’ve been witnessing between some of our favorites in the culture. Our hosts weigh in on Scott Storch’s landslide victory against Mannie Fresh, Drake’s new made for TikTok single “Tootsie Slide,” Rihanna’s 10-year plan, and XXL’s polarizing Freshman Class selection process.
Check out some highlights of SOTC’s first virtual episode below!
1. The “Verzuz” series is uplifting the culture
In the midst of a depressing few weeks, social media has been keeping our spirits high. We’re talking about the Instagram battles between the culture’s greats, which have been arranged by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland who actually kicked it off with their own. Since then, we’ve seen The-Dream vs. Sean Garrett, Ne-Yo vs. Johntá Austin, Hit Boy vs. Boi-1da, Lil Jon vs. T-Pain and more. Jinx feels the importance of Instagram Live was first demonstrated by DJ D-Nice and his Club Quarantine sets. “He, at the right time, got everyone’s attention focusing on Instagram live,” he says. Remy Ma enjoyed the Ne-Yo vs. Johntá Austin battle because they have an equal catalogue of hits. “I don’t want to see a battle that’s one sided,” she says. Eboni was rooting for Mannie Fresh (New Orleans, duh!), but was disappointed to see Scott Storch win the battle unanimously. “It was a murder scene.” Joe agrees, saying Mannie coming to battle without a playlist was “suicide.”
2. Missy Elliott, Kanye West and Diddy are being called to flex
We’ve seen some of the biggest names in music go toe-to-toe on Instagram Live since social distancing went into effect. But, there’s still some heavy hitters that SOTC wants to see step up to the plate. For Jinx, Kanye is a contender. “People know him for this capacity in his life and forget his early days,” Jinx says. “Kanye was doing R&B records with Slum Village and Alicia Keys.” Remy feels Missy Elliott needs to be brought on board. “When she gets in her production pen bag, Missy got some joints,” she says. Joe says Diddy’s musical influence on hip hop culture is unmatched. “If Puff puts his catalogue up, n****s have to go to bed.”
3. Remy is loving Delacey’s Black Coffee EP
For this week’s album review, Remy Ma selects the brand new EP Black Coffee by Delacey. While she admits that she doesn’t find Delacey to be the strongest vocalist, the “lyrics and pen” drew her in. Jinx says that while he loves alternative/trippy pop of this nature, he wasn’t feeling the project. “Every time I tried to listen, it kept fading to the background,” he said. Eboni feels the same and adds that “the melodies weren’t strong enough and I couldn’t really connect.” One thing every host agrees on is they’re digging in the archives for soulful, introspective music to listen to in light of the crazy times we’re living in. Can’t we all relate?
4. Drake is doing it for TikTok with the “Tootsie Slide”
The 6 God’s timing is impeccable, per usual. His new single “Tootsie Slide” came just in time to serve the TikTok aficionados and the internet is loving it. “Even in a natural disaster, he’s still going to find a way to be Drake,” Jinx points out. Remy keeps it a buck by saying that “he should’ve worked on his dance moves a little bit,” but overall, she loves the song. Joe thinks “Tootsie Slide” is being treated like the single OVO is trying to push, which supports his prediction that Drake’s next album is coming soon. “Him dropping that very catchy, dancy single and video at the same time is on par with what I know of Drake,” he says. “I don’t think there is a loosy.”
5. RIP Bill Withers
SOTC paid homage this week to the life and legacy of Bill Withers, who passed away on March 30 at the age of 81. He was a man with “too many hits to name” according to Joe. But, some of his standout songs include “Lovely Day,” “Lean On Me,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The hosts’ hearts and prayers go out to the Withers family.
6. Celebs are donating big for COVID-19 relief efforts
While this pandemic is wreaking havoc, celebrities are doing their part to help. Future’s Free Wishes foundation started a “Mask On” campaign by providing masks for health care workers and patients whose access to protective gear is more limited than ever. Rihanna’s Clara Lionel foundation donated $5 million to Coronavirus relief efforts in impoverished nations and gave an additional $1 million to New York City’s and L.A.’s most vulnerable population. Her donation was later matched by the Shawn Carter foundation.
7. Eboni shouts out Joe for his random acts of kindness
Future, Rihanna and JAY-Z aren’t the only celebrities trying to do good in the world. Eboni adds Joe to this week’s Black Excellence lineup for his recent good deeds. In case you missed it, Joe has been sending donations via Cash App to some of his followers whose finances have been affected by the pandemic. Hats off to Joe for giving back!
8. Rihanna wants to become a mother — with or without a man
Our favorite Bad Gyal is May 2020’s British Vogue cover star — and the first celeb to rock a durag on any Vogue cover, no less. In her interview, Riri talks about her 10-year plan, which insists of going hard on the music and fashion fronts, and then settle down to children —with or without a partner. Remy Ma weighs in and says that, as a woman who was a teenage mother and then had a baby just last year, she sees where Rihanna is coming from. But, she has some advice. “Having a child is a job,” Rem says. “I see where she’s going with waiting 10 years. But [with her being 32 now], that might be a little too long.” Joe remembers having his oldest son at 20 years old and loving it. He also reflects on the sacrifices that his children’s mothers have made versus what he had to make. Eboni admits that she once planned to parent alone, but later realized it wouldn’t be best for the child. “You can be the best mother in the world, but you still can’t be a father. They’re two different roles,” she realized. She adds that, for biological reasons, women can’t put off parenthood. Eboni credits Remy for exemplifying that you can be on your career grind and be a mother at the same time.
9. Has the XXL Freshman class lost its way?
Jinx admits the XXL Freshman class covers had more weight to them back in the day. Having emerging artists campaign to be on the cover instead of them being editorially selected is a change Jinx is not a fan of. “Why are you making these kids come up here and do a job interview?” he questions. Remy noticed that when these covers first came about, the focus was on newly signed artists, whereas now the criteria has broadened. “If you’ve gone viral, have a lot of followers and people are checking for you, you have a possibility of being on it,” she says. Joe drops some insider knowledge about the XXL Freshman Class process. He thinks artists have been tricked into believing companies are doing them a favor when it’s the other way around. He also doesn’t rely on lists like this to know what artists are going to blow up. “I’m going to hear about the new guy before you are,” Joe says.