Update 1/27/2015: One day after the Juan Epstein podcast, available below, went live, Hot 97 has announced that Cipha Sounds is no longer with the station. The statement reads: "Effective immediately, Cipha Sounds is no longer with WQHT HOT 97 FM. We wish him well on his future endeavors."
Cipha immediately took to Instagram to confirm his departure from Hot 97. "After 17 years, I'm leaving Hot 97. I'm changing my relationship status from 'it's complicated' to 'single.' It's been an amazing ride - from intern to weekends to morning show host to fill Angie's seat in afternoons. Many years of incredible, life-changing experiences and enough amazing memories to last five lifetimes. The next move is already underway and I promise it's going to be huge." We'll continue to update with more details as they become available.
Original: Big changes are underway at Hot 97. A few weeks after they announced that Nessa would be replacing Cipha Sounds on the station's 3 p.m. show, Peter Rosenberg and Cipha shed some light on the move, which caught many New York hip-hop fans by surprise, but was business as usual for the Juan Epstein podcast hosts. In their latest episode, the duo hashed out all the trouble that's been going down at the station.
Here's what's happening: Cipha's new role at Hot 97 is currently up-in-the-air. While Hot 97 said that he'd be, "transitioning into other on-air responsibilities," those new plans have yet to be specified, and it's causing some dissension within Hot 97. Cipha stated that he doesn't know if he'll be staying with Hot 97 or leaving, but either way, he's felt marginalized, and to a degree, disrespected with how he's been handled recently.
"I never knew if it was mine," he said on how the 3 p.m. slot on Hot 97 was managed after he took over for the departed Angie Martinez, who left for rival station Power 105 last summer. Cipha went on to detail how he's had a revolving door of bosses during his time as the 3 p.m. host, with each boss giving him different direction. "Wait a minute, who's our boss?" Cipha asked aloud at one point during the podcast. Rosenberg didn't know.
The one-time "glorified mixer" of Hot 97's morning show, as Rosenberg put it, wanted to use his humorous charm to turn that 3 p.m. slot into a mixture between comedy and hip-hop. With so much turnover and upheaval from up-top, Cipha felt like he never had a chance to do that. "All nice people, all with different opinions of how the show should be," he said on his former bosses.
"I would've been more happy if I could say, 'Guys I got the show for three months, rock with me.' Always look at it to make a joke and an angle. It would've been a countdown. It would've been fucking hilarious for three months, me counting down to the last day," he said.
Instead, Cipha's now been left out to dry. While both Cipha and Rosenberg spoke very highly of Nessa, Cipha feels like Hot 97's higher-ups could've let him know that change was fast approaching. "Now it's like, the girl that got the show, 'Oh, they've wanted her for a long time. They had a hard-on for her.' So why didn't they tell me?"
Not stopping there, Cipha revealed that he was offered Angie Martinez's current job at Power 105, but turned it down out of loyalty to the station. Now, as he and Rosenberg discussed, he has options to possibly do a mid-day show and a Saturday show at Hot 97, but Cipha isn't privy to either. "Our corporate bosses don't even know me," he said.
Following that, Cipha left the door open for departure, with Rosenberg stating on his behalf: "You're scared to let go of something you’ve known for so long. Radio and music were your first love, but comedy is now your true love.” It's just open speculation for now, but with turmoil brewing above Cipha's pay grade, he was realistic and honest with his situation throughout the podcast. Hopefully it works out for the best between Hot 97 and one of its legends.
Listen to the full podcast below.