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.