A podcast? Not many cared to know about this form of a ‘communications platform’ ten years ago, and as this decade rapidly approaches it’s end, you have no choice but to take heed to it. Why is that? What has changed over the past decade that has caused creators to dive into this independent form of communications?
To start with the most obvious answer – it’s independence; no longer does one have to get a communications degree to gain experience in this field, no longer does one have to work their way up the media’s corporate ladder to be able to serve the community with personable insight, and what better freedom than creating your own blueprint for the direction of your program. The media visionary/podcast pioneer who embodies these elements, would definitely be the late-great, Reggie Osse’, also know as Combat Jack.
The self-proclaimed “anti-NPR voice” was one of the first figures of Hip-Hop to start a successful podcast, bringing to life “The Combat Jack Show” in 2010. Combat was able to garner the respect of his peers through being an attorney for Def Jam from 1989-2001, handling paperwork for Dame Dash, Jay-Z, the duo ‘Capone-N-Noreaga’, and more. Coming up in the 90’s during the height of the industry’s inception, Jack quickly fell out of love with the attorney business due to unwarranted competition; deciding to focus on where his true passion reside – art. From 2001-2010, Combat Jack was curating the culture through blogging for XXL Mag & IHip-Hop, before embarking on his legendary podcast run. What made this run remarkable was Combat Jack’s ability to coerce information out his guests the public never knew. Being in the industry for 21 years before entering this realm, Jack was a trusted source, he was more knowledgeable than many of his associates, and had plentiful relations with entertainment execs and artists that he was able to showcase on his podcast; once he was able to get these stars, such as LL Cool J and Dame Dash on his show, it was only a matter a time before consumers started going directly to him instead of radio stations for personable interviews. By 2013, “The Combat Jack Show” was the flagship program for Loud Speakers Network.
Joe Budden would also fit into this realm. From global singles, such as “Pump It Up”, to the plethora of movie-soundtracks he has created, Budden was able to establish himself as an intriguing figure in the music industry during the early-2000’s. Using this success, he was then able to form relationships with talents such as Eminem and Royce Da 5’9, later forming the group – ‘Slaughterhouse’. To continue, Joe Budden took his talents to the T.V screen, becoming a cast member of ‘Love & Hip-Hop’. This is where his polarizing nature got brought to light, becoming a fan favorite immediately. Other than this polarizing nature, the aspect of having personable relationships within the industry is exactly what he and Combat Jack had in-common, and was able to use as leverage to garner a buzz for their respective creations. Joe was able to take this leverage to another level being he’d already amassed a huge following as rapper. After being the only rapper with enough confidence to battle rap a ‘battle rapper’, and a brief hiatus of consistency in his music career; in 2017, Budden linked up with industry insiders Rory & Mal to form “The Joe Budden Podcast” show, where they dive into more than just music, chopping up different life experiences, to deviating into sex topics. Joe then connected with Complex to create Hip-Hops 1st purely Internet morning show “Everyday Struggle”, bringing internet phenom – DJ Akademiks as a debater, and popular journalist/broadcaster – Nadeska Alexis as the moderator. The show was able to create ‘moments’ for the culture, and allowed a new generation of rap fans to understand the mindset of a Hip-Hop veteran. Again, do you see how much people he networked with to make these creations happen? Joe is now back on T.V, hosting a new show that has yet to premiere with media mogul Charlamagne Tha God.
Charlamagne is another person to create a podcast that influences Hip-Hop culture, teaming up with comedian Andrew Shultz, then connecting with Loud Speakers Network to create “The Brilliant Idiots” podcast. Charlamagne & Shultz, having two totally different upbringings, coming together on the basis of Hip-Hop, are able to express their difference in opinion in an intellectual manner – allowing consumers to have faith in their debate. What brings this podcast to a different tier, is how they’re able to intertwine music, politics, and sports, showing the culture influences is bigger than just entertainment. The diversity in guest also plays an instrumental part in bringing the podcast to the top tier, courting political analyst/commentator Angela Rye, to sports activist Jared Odrick.
On to Noreaga’s & DJ EFN’s creation of the “Drink Champs” podcast. The most unique podcast of them all. Here you can catch the OG’s of the industry making there way back to the public to share candid stories of events and debacles that took place in the industry pre-internet era. Their approach of putting the guest(s) in an intoxicated state forces vulnerability, allowing the guest’s guard/persona to be put down so an honest dialog can ensue. The only problem with the previous mentioned platforms, is that they cater to more mature individuals. With the exception of “Everyday Struggle”, where’s the source on all things that the youth is loving? I thought this was a young mans sport?
This is where Adam Grandmaison, better known as Adam22 comes into play. From scamming to drug-dealing, Adam has done it all. After spending his past enveloping himself in the BMX lifestyle, Adam started naturally getting bored with the bike life. Already hip to the underground music culture, Adam noticed the lack of coverage these rising stars were getting (i.e XXXTentacion & Lil Yachty), using this as an opportunity to catapult his passion for the music scene into physical manifestations – starting the “No Jumper” podcast early-2016. His self-transparency, honesty, and candid nature allows guest to relate to him. His unique-liberal personality allows these rising stars to not only be comfortable in his presence, but also allows these artist to easily open about themselves, leaving fear of judgement at the door – which is definitely not the vibe you’ll get at radio station.
The podcast industry has opened the gate for the youth to reconnect with the elders of the community, creating a spectrum of communication dynamics you can choose from, within Hip-Hop culture. It has enhanced the media coverage of rising stars before they’re nationally known, becoming a new arena where these upcoming artists can get their first ray of lights and eyes on them. The depths of which these conversations can go to is unlimited due to no restricting program director in place, and the lack of political correctness necessary. With streaming services being an effective way to land on the Billboard charts, no longer does one need a radio single to officially establish themselves in the industry, and to get interviewed? A podcast. Either adapt to this shift, or get left behind.