When it comes to modern media titans, few are as unlikely as Joe Rogan and his immensely popular podcast. A Bostonian comic turned actor, Fear Factor host and UFC commentator, the martials arts enthusiast and psychedelic adventurer’s unique mix of hilarity, introspection and informative chats have left many of his competitors in the dust. The crown jewel in his professional legacy, The Joe Rogan Experience has turned its host into an entertainment magnate and has been crucial in transforming his harem of friends and regular guests, including Bryan Callen, Tom Segura, Eddie Bravo, Bert Kreischer and Joey Diaz into stars in their own right. Now held in the same esteem as a late-night talk show appearance used to be, everyone from neuroscientists to world renowned actors and musicians have sat across from him for longform and refreshingly informal yet informative discussions. With this in mind, it’s hardly surprising that members of the hip-hop community and matters pertaining to its culture have periodically made their presence felt on the JRE. Just last week, Cypress Hill’s B-Real made an appearance on the show to discuss everything from his early adoption of weed advocacy to paintballing, his longevity in the industry and more. Unconstrained by censorship or time-slots, the podcast gave a robust view into B-Real as a real human being rather than the mythologized west-coast veteran that rose to prominence in the early 90s. While the fate of the sought-after Kanye podcast appears to be up in the air, the Cypress Hill icon’s recent conversation provides us with a perfect time to look back upon some of the JRE’s most notable interactions with the realm of hip-hop.
Smoked out by Action Bronson (JRE #763)
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Known for his amicable persona and lyrical aptitude to a similar extent, Action Bronson’s visit to the JRE was predestined to be comedy gold. The podcast equivalent of a lengthy smoke session with your friends, this episode from February 2016 saw Mr. Wonderful regale Joe with tales of the Crying Jordan meme, ice-skating, chipmunks living in his wall, the art of good cuisine and even some behind-the-scenes insight on his Vice show F**k That’s Delicious. In the years since his appearance, Rogan has been adamant that Bronsolino’s tolerance for THC is like nothing he’s ever seen and discussed it during a recent appearance from Everlast: “He came on the podcast, I’ve never seen a dude smoke more weed in my life. He smoked, by himself, at least six blunts. He just kept going and I got paranoid just watching him. I smoked a little bit with him but I got to keep this ship on the water.”
Getting into the process with Kid Cudi (JRE #552)
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As candid and painstakingly honest as his music may be, Kid Cudi took a complete back seat in favour of Scott Mescudi during his appearance on the JRE. Recorded back in 2014, It sees the pioneering MC cover a broad spectrum of topics with Joe and leave no stone unturned. Offset by light-hearted discussions about Clint Eastwood and The Walking Dead, the self-professed “big fan” of the podcast broached his struggles with addiction, interacting with fans and gave him unabridged access to his creative process: “it comes different every time. It depends, it could be a bassline I’m thinking of that inspires or it could be me not having anything in my mind and just going through the sounds. It could be like a rhythm I heard or a movie I’m watching. I like to watch movies with the sound off and that helps me with scoring… It’s all just experimentation and seeing what happens. It’s not any pressure. When I’m hearing something, I hear it completed… it’s my job in the present, to make it so.” Rounded off by a tale about Wiz Khalifa’s deep-seated fear of doing acid, it’s a fascinating time capsule into the Satellite Flight: The Journey To Mother Moon era of his storied career
Joe Rogan on Drake’s Parties (JRE #857)
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When you have someone that’s as synonymous with Instagram-friendly hedonism as Dan Bilzerian on the podcast, it’s only natural that the talk would turn to raucous partying. In a neat segue from the exploits of Dan and affluent Casanovas of the past such as Hugh Hefner, Joe regales the bearded poker player with the story of an unnamed friend’s disgruntlement about living in the blast radius of the 6 God’s chaotic soirees: “I don’t think any of us could understand what it’s like to be Drake. I know a dude that lives near Drake and he complains about the f****g parties. His parties are so crazy that the neighbour complained so Drake was like “f**k it I’ll just buy your house man.” Girls meet at one place then they get on a bus and the bus comes to Drake’s house. He’s super ballin.”
Jamie Foxx satirizes his friends (JRE #990)
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Although he’s better known as a movie star these days, Jamie Foxx’s musical endeavours brought him considerable success to say the least. Across the course of an hour, Jamie lifted the curtain to divulge a series of previously unheard stories about hip-hop’s elite and wryly poke fun at them along the way. Amid the tales of Diddy’s “A million and a half dollars” party, he explained how these high-profile functions were instrumental in giving him his chance as a musician alongside hilarious impersonations of Jay-Z, Kanye West and Pharrell. In a moment that Ye stans will love, he reminisces about the first time that a “kid with backpack on, jaw’s busted” came into his studio and spit an “incredible freestyle” before showcasing a skeletal version of “Slow Jamz” to him and being taken aback by its success.
Vinnie Paz on Mumble Rap (JRE #1174)
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A bastion of the underground, the ever-insightful Vinnie Paz’s appearance on the JRE made for an immensely enjoyable listen. Outlined like a true scholar of the game, the legendary mouthpiece of Jedi Mind Tricks responded to Joe’s query about his feelings on the new wave of hip-hop with a considered and thoughtful viewpoint. Prefaced by Vinnie’s belief that success is only worthwhile if you remain true to your own ethos, he expanded on the disconnect between himself and what he does compared to much of today’s commercially ble output:
“I feel like I don’t want to be that guy who doesn’t get. But when you start dealing with youth culture… I remember when I was the age of these mumble rap kids, there were older heads saying the generation before us… The Coldcrush Brothers to the Big Daddy Kanes. They probably thought what we were doing was crazy. Is that what’s happening? I don’t know but it’s to the point with me where I’m like ‘is that even a genre of rap?’ I guess I don’t have a problem with it as I don’t register as anything close to what I do.”
Killer Mike and Joe Rogan get philosophical (JRE #1230)
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For anyone that enjoyed Killer Mike’s Trigger Warning series, the Run The Jewels MC’s appearance on the JRE is an illuminating companion piece. Recorded during his time on the press run, they cover all manner of topics such as white Jesus’ negative impact on the psyche of black communities to whether aliens created the human race, battle rap and if the end of poverty is the key component in dispelling crime. An existentialist conversation that’s doused in a healthy dose of marijuana, it’s a must for fans of the ATLien firebrand and RTJ lynchpin.
Immortal Technique & Chino XL Take On Scientology (JRE #452)
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Never one to shy away from airing his outlook on the world, Immortal Technique made sporadic appearances on the JRE between 2012 and 2014. Comprised of discussions on socio-political problems and with a good dose of levity to break things up, his appearance alongside New Jersey’s Chino Xl was one of the most entertaining encounters of the bunch. Whilst the whole podcast is worth a cursory listen, Tech’s recounting of his experiences with The Church Of Scientology is an unexpected detour that’ll perhaps tide over fans that are pining for that long-awaited first new project in a decade.
Joe Rogan on The Curse Of Lil B (JRE #1103/1213)
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As a bonafide hip-hop head, comedian and Your Mom’s House co-host Tom Segura has been known to coax Rogan into talking about cultural developments in the realm of rap. Back in April of last year, the two put aside some time to discuss the “Based God Curse” and spoke of his plans to get him on the podcast. Then, in a more befuddling turn of events, Rogan also managed to shoehorn a discussion about the infamous plague on James Harden into a discussion with Dr Andrew Weil: “Occasionally he puts a hex on a dude and when he puts a hex on, you got a real problem on your hands. Lil B puts that hex on you and it’s like dammit!”
Joe Rogan on Tekashi 6ix9ine (Fight Companion 4/28/18/#1148)
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Just like the rest of the world, Joe Rogan and his cohorts were left to gawk at the increasingly ludicrous actions of 6ix9ine during 2018. Back when the self-professed “King Of New York” was at the peak of his powers, Rogan was regularly “made” to watch his exploits by his producer “young” Jamie Vernon. During a typically chaotic fight companion with Brendan Schaub and Eddie Bravo, Rogan laid down his plan of action if one of his daughters were to come home with Tekashi: “You’d need to go to Home Depot. Get some ropes, locks for the door, get some nails, nail that door shut. You’d have to call the doctor, get a psychiatrist.”
Joe Rogan Vs Yeezy’s (Numerous)
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At 51-years old, Joe Rogan often enlists his producer Young Jamie as a gateway into the world of youth culture. Always receptive to new concepts, there are times when Joe can put aside the temptation to be a curmudgeonly old man and get on board with an ongoing trend or rising artist. However, one thing he’s proven himself to have little to no tolerance for is the world of streetwear and, more specifically, Yeezy’s. For a man that’s hoping to get Kanye on the podcast, Joe has been unrepentant in his criticism of Jamie for owning Kanye’s shoes and rebuffed any attempt to make him wear them: “I judge people when I see them with Yeezy’s on. You gave me them, I don’t have them. They’re in the box right there. I’ve contemplating running in them, like running through a creek and filming it because people love them so much but I don’t wanna run in them. If you’re mad at me for what I’d do to a pair of sneakers then you’re a f****g idiot all right? You need to get your s**t together.”
Joe Rogan marvels at 17-year-old Biggie (JRE #643)
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If one thing is consistent across Joe Rogan’s podcasts, it’s that he has a great admiration for someone excelling in their field. As a result, a conversation with fellow comedian Big Jay Oakerson led him to celebrate the iconic video of Biggie freestyling on the streets of Bedstuy, Brooklyn at 17. Left awestruck by that trademark delivery, Joe proclaims the Notorious one to be his “all-time” before proliferating on why this raw footage is so important to his legacy. “That’s one of the greatest videos in the history of pop culture. You want to talk about a talented mother****r in his environment, the environment where he developed and grew. You see how good he is… it’s just amazing to see how good his flow was at 17.” Topped off with a nod to GangStarr and their “f*****g great jams,” it’s a pleasure to watch him talk so passionately about classic East Coast hip-hop.
Joe Rogan praises Nas (JRE #1273)
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During his chat with Big Jay Oakerson, Joe touches upon his admiration for Nas and his lyrical expertise. Yet in a recent conversation with Ron Funches, he expounded on his love for Esco and heaped praise on “Rewind” from Stillmatic: “In my mind when it comes to hip-hop, there’s lyrics and then there’s Nas. Nas does shit that’s just like… that backwards songs? It’s like a practised orchestra as opposed to just being rhymes. He puts things together so interestingly. He’s got his own special appreciation for things.”
To top it all off, here’s a jol diss track that JRE alumni Mac Lethal levelled at the host and Ari Shaffir after they claimed his flow couldn’t be understood without reading along:
What are some of your favorite hip-hop moments on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast? Sound off in the comments.