The Best Rapper Interview Shows

From Lil Uzi Vert pulling up to Fat Joe's IG Live to King Von on Gillie Da King's show, some great conversations have been happening on rappers' interview shows

Snoop Dogg GGN

Image via YouTube/Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg GGN

On a recent episode of the Million Dollaz Worth of Game podcast, Gillie Da King and his cousin Wallo implored the fragility of life to Pooh Shiesty, while urging him to try his best to stay out of trouble. Wallo, who has previously served a 20-year prison sentence, spoke to Pooh with a passion that only someone who’s been there could.

Their candor in the now-viral clip harkened to the game that Fat Joe tried to offer 6ix9ine in 2018 on his Coca Vision Tidal podcast. These moments represent the promise for rapper-led interview shows, which offer an experience many rapper-journalists discussion can’t deliver. As we’ve seen in other industries, especially the athletic world, peer discussions can engender a special kind of comfortability that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. That dynamic is especially true in rap, where many artists may only step out of their shells for artists they respect.

Whether they’re podcasts, YouTube shows, or whatever you want to categorize Instagram Live discussions as, many rappers have flipped the paradigm and gone from the interviewee to the interviewer. 

There’s been some backlash to the dynamic, especially with regards to entertainers who only pop out to speak with fellow celebrities for discussions that don’t touch on the topics that the people want to know. Trained journalists will research their subjects, ask the tough questions, and conduct conversations that aren’t bogged down by cutting interviewees off or interrupting to center themselves, as is the major complaint with artist-led platforms. 

But the disdain for celeb discussions as the norm shouldn’t make people feel like they have no usefulness. Joe Budden is good at using personal anecdotes as the catalyst to get artists to open up about how they feel about their place in the industry. Artists like Fat Joe and N.O.R.E. have a knack for getting peers to trade memories with them. Open Mike Eagle and Prince Paul’s podcast is the kind of historical conservation that we’d love to hear more of. 

Traditional interviews are necessary to get the 5 Ws from artists, but informal conversations are always fun to spectate. We decided to list some of the most talked about-led shows, in no particular order. Huge qualifier: we realize that some of these shows have hosts and sponsors  that are a no-go for many potential listeners, and we considered not mentioning them, but picking and choosing would have created a circumstance where there weren’t even enough shows for a list. 

Fat Joe, ‘The Big Big Big Show’

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Essential episode: Lil Uzi Vert

Fat Joe’s The Big Big Big Show, livestreamed on Instagram Live, has offered viewers everything from Funkmaster Flex ranking iconic DJs to Allen Iverson reflecting on his run-ins with the Lakers. The show started as a consequence of the pandemic’s boredom, but now boasts sponsorships and a hefty IG audience tuning in to see Joe talk with his vast network of entertainment industry peers. Joe’s stature in the game and joviality allow him to engage with his interviewees in rare form, as evidenced by his recent interview with the reclusive Lil Uzi Vert, who opened up more than we’ve ever seen before.

Oschino, ‘Deeper Than Rap’

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Philly rap vet Oschino is brand new to the list, but his Deeper Than Rap YouTube show is off to a promising start. He started the series off by clearing the air with his State Property brother Beanie Sigel, before talking with Freeway and Dame Dash about the Roc-A-Fella days. It will be interesting to see where the pod goes once Oschino pivots out of speaking with his former labelmates—but then again, he doesn’t have to. We can’t get enough Roc-A-Fella stories.

Snoop Dogg, ‘GGN’

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Essential episode: Redman

Snoop Dogg does everything—why wouldn’t he be in the media game too? The rap legend was actually fairly early to the market, as his GGN show first started in 2012. The series began as a venue for Snoop (aka GGN anchor Nemo Hoes) and his extensive list of friends to smoke and talk about random topics (early episodes: conspiracy theories with Don Magic Juan and the state of rap with a young Kendrick Lamar), but then pivoted a bit into a late show-esque format where Snoop talks to a who’s who of pop culture, from the late Larry King and Seth Rogen to 50 Cent and Freddie Gibbs. Each guest talks to Snoop about whatever’s on their mind before answering “fill in the blanks” and “would you rather”-type questions that can elicit some hilarious responses. The show appears to have stopped production because of the pandemic, but it should be back.

N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, ‘Drink Champs’

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Essential episode: Busta Rhymes

N.O.R.E. and his business partner DJ EFN put together Drink Champs to give our legends their flowers—and plenty of Tiger Bone shots. Since 2018, they’ve been having guests come through and talk about their careers over a drink (or too many). The Revolt and YouTube show has good journalistic intentions, but Nore’s inner-Larry King tends to fade away by the drink, eventually shifting the podcast into a shit-talking session between old friends that we get to be a fly-on-the-wall for. It’s a genius, if disorienting, concept.

Joe Budden, ‘The Joe Budden Podcast’ & ‘Pull Up’

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Essential Episode: Pusha-T

Joe Budden is involved in numerous media ventures, including Revolt’s State of the Culture, his Pull Up show, and his most popular platform The Joe Budden Podcast. The long-running podcast just may be the standard for artists looking to pivot into media. The show generally consists of Budden and his partners Mal, Rory, and Parks talking about the latest pop culture news, and sometimes just talking shit about their social lives. But some of the most notable episodes have been lengthy interviews with Budden’s rap peers, such as their 2018 discussion with Pusha-T, where he pulled back the curtain on his beef with Drake. Similarly, Pull Up allows Joe Budden to get candid on a one-on-one basis with some of the rap game’s biggest acts. Budden is a controversial figure who some choose not to acknowledge due to past abuse allegations, but the show’s supporters have helped the podcast become one of the most in-demand in the market.

Yukmouth, ‘Smoke-A-Lot Radio’

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Essential episode: E-40

Bay Area veteran Yukmouth is the star of Smoke-A-Lot Radio, a YouTube-based show where he, as well as co-hosts Samone Taylor and KToefornia, speak with a slew of west coast rap luminaries, as well as some of Yuk’s industry peers. The show offers an unfiltered, from-the-horse’s-mouth perspective on behind the scenes industry stories.

Gillie Da King, ‘Million Dollaz Worth of Game’

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Essential episode: King Von

Gillie Da King turned his “million dollars worth of game” Instagram clips into a whole podcast and YouTube show. Their Barstool Sports affiliation elicits groans in light of the platform’s history of racism and misogyny, but the two don’t have Barstool personalities on the pod, using the platform to give their unforgettable brand of dating and life advice. They occasionally include rappers, athletes, and other entertainers looking to get in on the fun. Million Dollaz Worth of Game has its fair share of crass moments, but it excels when the duo gets serious and impart their OG knowledge on the youth like they did with the late King Von and Pooh Shiesty.

Open Mike Eagle & Prince Paul, ‘What Had Happened Was’

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Essential episode: All of them (it’s a narrative!)

Open Mike Eagle and legendary producer Prince Paul linked up for What Had Happened Was, a one-of-a-kind podcast where the two “discuss Prince Paul’s life, impact, and role in the world of Hip Hop,” as the show biography notes. The first season of the show started out last June with the two talking about Paul’s time with the Gravediggaz, and ended with him talking about the near misses of his career. What Had Happened Was is just one of the shows on Mike’s Stony Island Audio podcast network. 

Lord Jamar and Rah Digga, ‘Yanadameen Godcast’

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Essential episode: Chuck D


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