The worlds of food and rap have collided in many ways over the years. Rappers have been dropping culinary references in their songs since the genre’s earliest days, and some entrepreneurial MCs have even built own successful food businesses.
“I was literally writing my raps in a kitchen when I was working,” Action Bronson said during How Food & Rap Joined Forces, a panel at ComplexCon 2018 in Long Beach. The famously food-centric New York rapper was joined by N.O.R.E., E-40, and hosts Sean Evans and Miss Info for the wide-ranging discussion hosted by First We Feast, which included some helpful restaurant suggestions for the crowd. “Right now, I’m stuck on the crab and spicy sauce at Nobu in Malibu,” N.O.R.E. revealed.
Of course, any conversation about food wouldn’t be complete without something to whet the palette. “Liquor and music go together,” E-40 mentioned midway through the conversation. “When you’re down and out, you can drink liquor. When you’re celebrating, you can drink liquor.”
He’s right. Like food, alcohol has always been an important part of hip-hop culture. The only thing that has changed over time are the specific references. Remember Hpnotiq? As Evans pointed out, “There are staples like 40s, Hennessy, Champagne, but I feel like even Napa Valley now is something that’s getting rapped about.”
For more on rap’s important relationship with food, check out the full Complex Con(versation) above.