The Drink Champs podcast, hosted by hip hop veterans N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, just finished an amazing first season of heavily-buzzed rap-themed debauchery. Many huge hip hop personas joined the fun on the REVOLT TV series, including A Tribe Called Quest, Run the Jewels, and Ice-T. But the first episode featuring a female guest, model and activist Amber Rose, was also the one that garnered some negative responses from fans. Some complained about the choice to feature Ms. Rose instead of a female rapper the likes of Queen Latifah or MC Lyte. But as Amber eloquently laid out in her Drink Champs episode at 23:40, the complaints could be partly because women are often held to different rules of respectability, even within hip hop.
“…They big-up drug dealers-turned-rappers, BUT IF you’re a stripper and then you’re a successful business woman…you’re just still a stripper…”
But despite some push-back from the vocal Drink Champs army, DJ EFN doesn’t want to shy away from recognizing all women who contribute to hip hop. Outside of his podcast he’s done this by prominently featuring international female emcees in his five part documentary Coming Home, a look into hip hop culture in Cuba, Haiti, Peru, Vietnam and Colombia. In fact, the rapper Suboi he profiled in Vietnam even went on to impress President Obama with her skills. (below)
As EFN mentioned in a recent interview with SBVRSL, he’s seen women be a key part of hip hop since the beginning. He recognizes that while their aesthetic may change, their value never will.
“I grew up with rappers like queen latifah…no doubt she has a different fashion sense than someone like nicki minaj…But nicki is a great rapper too. We can respect talented women in hip hop no matter what they’re wearing.”
DJ EFN began the film company that produced the Coming Home documentaries in Miami under the name “Crazy Hood” productions. But the “hood” isn’t about the rough part of town. It’s actually a reference to clothing, another big interest for the DJ/producer/record exec. EFN is down for the culture in every way, and his many ventures in fashion, music, and film prove this. As co-host of the acclaimed Drink Champs (recently nominated for an award by the Academy of Podcasters) he’s kept important conversations going about rap music, ageism, sexism, and more. As a recording artist he’s always been prolific, releasing 42 volumes (!) of his Crazy Hood Mixtape since the early 90s with groups like OutKast and WU-TANG. He also collaborated a couple years back with MC Eiht, Rass Kass, DJ Premier, Bun B, Talib Kweli, Redman, his co-host N.O.R.E., and others to create his defining album Another Time.
With such a resume spanning so many years, it would be easy for DJ EFN to fall into the ‘old head’ mentality and bemoan the modern era, shaming the youth for their tighter clothes or enhanced behinds…but he’s not here for that. As the Drink Champs podcast will no doubt show and prove in season two, DJ EFN and N.O.R.E. are evolving right along with the culture. And it seems like they’re having a damn good time doing it.