Top 10 Best Hip Hop Interviews of 2017
Play the interview, not yourself.
I’ve been seeing a lot of year-end list. So I thought to myself I should create one. Every week I watch at least five interviews. I’m a fan of the creative process. So, if you are a fan of hip hop or journalism or anything having to do with the behind the scenes process you’ll enjoy this.
10. NO I.D. — Andrew Barber ( Chicago Ideas)
NO I.D. is the definition of a producer in the truest sense. He rarely does interviews but when he does, they are extremely candid and informative. This interview conducted by FakeShoreDrive’s Andrew Barber illustrates the honest and occasional unpleasant truth about being a producer that goes beyond simply making a beat. Watch to see him breakdown the creative process of 4:44.
9.The Return of Murda Ma$e — Angie Martinez (Power105)
After dropping a blistering diss Camron, Mase decided to go on a impromptu press run. Both Angie Martinez and Rap Radar conducted great interviews with Mase. However, I gave the edge to Angie because 1.) she had Mase first and 2.) she had to deal with a defensive Betha for the first half of interview and still managed to have a great and informative interview. Aspiring journalist, radio personalities, and podcasters alike can learn a lot from the way Angie maneuvered in this interview.
8. Azealia Banks — The Black Media
Azalea Banks is one of the most polarizing figures in music, period. Her motives can be questioned — hell — even her sanity can be questioned. Yet, when she speaks Banks is usually sound, intuitive, and multi-layered. Here she gives her unique perspective on Cardi B, Remy v. Nicki, and the whole RZA and Russel Crowe debacle. Very insightful interview.
7. Dame Dash — AllThingsMitch (Driven Society)
Steve Stoute has called Dame this year and said,“you were right.” Charlemagne has called Dame this year and said, “you were right.” And all of this for things that Dame has been saying for nearly 20 years now. It’s safe to we all should listen to Dame.
6. Russ (All Interviews of 2017)
Russ remind me of this Kanye West quote, “If you’re a Kanye West fan, you’re not a fan of me — you’re a fan of yourself.” Russ’ confidence is contagious or annoying depending on who you ask. He says what he means and means what he says. Even if it means going at the people interviewing him (see Everyday Struggle, HOT97, RapRadar podcast). I would’ve loved to see him and Charlemagne lock horns but sadly that didn’t happen this year.
Highlight Interviews: Everyday Struggle/Montreality
5. Jim Jones — Funk Flex (HOT97)
After a few social media jabs between his on again - off again partner in crime Camron. An emotional Jim Jones spoke to Funk Flex about the rise and the fall of Dipset.
Sidenote: This led to memorable response from Camron on IG live, which I wanted to add to this list (but apparently a lot people don’t consider Camron interviewing Camron an interview, like I do). Welp.
4. (*Tie) Troy Ave — Breakfast Club/ Doggie Diamonds — Trife Gangsta (Troy Ave Response)
Troy Ave interview with the Breakfast Club was great for all of the wrong reasons. On May 25, 2016, a T.I. concert at New York City’s Irving Plaza turned fatal and left Troy Ave shot and his friend and bodyguard Banga dead. We would come to find out later on through video footage that the incident involved Troy Ave and hip hop podcaster Taxstone. This interview had a lot of complex layers in it, one being the close relationship with Charlamagne and Taxstone.
Doggie Diamonds — Trife Gangsta (Troy Ave Response)
Trife Gangsta is the brother of the deceased, Banga. I had to add this interview because it’s rare that we get multiple perspectives in hip hop. The code of silence is real and apparent but Trife felt the need to set the record straight.
3. Drake — DJ Semtex (OVO Sound Radio)
This interview was earlier in the year, so some of you may not remember this. However, this is the most transparent interview post “Back to Back” that Drake has given to-date. He spoke vividly about all the things we’ve been dying to know for months now. He spoke candidly about the ghostwriting rumors, the Meek Mill beef, and how the streaming wars affected his relationship with Kanye/Jay-Z. This is Drake in rare form.
2. Migos — Everyday Struggle
Some interviews are on here for the pure quality of interview and some are here for cultural impact. This interview is here for the ladder. The Everyday Struggle/Migos interview spawned endless memes. Phrases “Do it look like, I was left off Bad n Bougee” and “Wrap It Up Then” became common jargon. Also, this interview inspired one of the greatest diss songs (‘Ice Tray’)in hip hop history. This was by far the best Migos interview.
1. Jay-Z — Rap Radar Podcast/Times
The marketing machine and message behind Jay-Z’s 4:44 album was so massive it needed an anchor and Jay served as that anchor on his small but impactful press run. His first interview was with Elliot Wilson and Bdot for Tidal’s Rap Radar podcast. His second interview was with Dean Baquet for Times. Both interviews are included because to me they both presented distinct sides of Jay-Z. The Times interview showcased Shawn Carter (the family man) and Rap Radar showcased Jay-Z (the artist). It’s great to see hip hop age this gracefully.
Dave Chappelle — CBS This Morning
SZA — The Breakfast Club
Nipsey Hussle — Rap Radar Podcast
Joey Badas$$ — Ebro In The Morning (HOT97)
Steve Stoute — Drink Champs/Rap Radar Podcast