Those you interact with will always remember how you made them feel.
Memories created over time, meals, drinks, laughs, concerts become the content in our head. The things we recall when we assess if this was a life worth living.
For Jeff and Eric Rosenthal this content is on public display. Their legacy will be cemented in how they made others feel and the stories they helped share. The duo are narrators of our modern time. The voice in your head that shines light on your good attributes. As ItsTheReal they are the assist leaders in telling stories. I do not want to simply label them as Hip-Hop podcasters because they are creating at such an optimal level in so many endeavors.
From the comedy sketches, to the unique music albums, writing books, selling merchandise and selling shows that John Legend (Podcast #242) is involved in. The duo who are at the helm of your 3rd favorite podcast A Waste of Time with ItstheReal. Are also co-host of the number 1 podcast in our hearts 2 Jews & 2 Black Dudes Reviews the Movies. A podcast in which the two brothers along Styles P and Sheek Louch of the legendary group The LOX review movies. A combination of brothers and best friends that would seem severely odd at first sight to anyone who did or didn’t know any of the four growing up. Yet it works. Not like a magic trick where it’s just smoke and mirrors. It works like real magic; pure and fascinating. The same goes for brothers Jeff and Eric they have figured it out and still have room to grow. Interesting separately as you engage with them and work uniquely well off one another when together. They are like the Jewish Power Rangers and when it is time to combine. Their energy level goes to “It’s Morphing Time”.
They say never meet your idols, they will only let you down. I want to meet the individuals I look up to, so I just choose my idols in all of this very carefully. They say your idols become your rivals, but that does not have to be the case if you operate with integrity. Everyone has a story to tell. ItsTheReal is in the business of giving those with a story worthwhile a platform to shine. I talked candidly with the brothers who are not just delivering continuously for their growing brand at a high rate, but building their version of forever their way. Doing it on their terms. I give to you Nah Fr Fr: My Conversation with ItsTheReal.
YoungLionBlog: What’s your first memory?
Jeff Rosenthal: Definitely something in nursery school. Feels like I was playing with blocks with my best friend at the time and for many years after that. Who has actually passed away and this other kid I was close with as well. You know it’s one of those things that’s not an actual memory. It’s just a moment that like oh flash in my head of something that did happen. But I do remember it was at my nursery school, the Jewish community center: Harrison, New York. That’s it I remember playing with blocks. I wish there was a fuller storyline where something else happened but no that’s it.
Eric Rosenthal: The thing I remember is probably waiting to walk home from kindergarten with our neighbor Michelle who was a few years older. I guess my babysitter at the time or at least more responsible and able to look after me.
YLB: Out of all the siblings who is your mom’s favorite?
JR: Our mom doesn’t have a favorite. Our mom actually…I know you’re trying to start shit
YLB: Not at all I just want the answers.
JR: She was cognizant of the idea of celebrating each of us. That came from the idea of she was a child behavioral major in college. So when she had twins it was about you’re not going to dress the same. You’re going to dress however you want to basically. You’ll never be the same person. In the same way she has great relationship with all of us. She had identical twin cousins growing up, and they were basically treated as one person. They were always referred to as the “twins.” She didn’t want that for us and in the same way like for Eric when we came, she gave him special attention. As to make it that there was no resentment as far as they came and I was forced to be the other one.
ER: Both our parents were really into letting us be creative and being individuals. With me I had a 3 and a ½ year head start. I got the attention and the trials before my brothers were welcomed on this planet. When we all got together we all brought something different to the table. We all grew up with our own interest. I was collecting mugs from every town we stopped in. That’s not what my brothers were doing. If Jeff was into something he could it. If Dan was into something he could do that. We’re all supportive of each other as well.
I had this crazy idea to paint our unfished basement. Our parents were like sure make sure you paint all the walls white first and go crazy. What I wanted to do was paint each of at the time paint all 28 of the Major League Baseball teams up on the wall giant sized freehand…I did that. My brothers helped me paint the basement white and they helped me draw out certain things. It was my project and I was in Sports Illustrated for kids. If I was a director for all the movies we made at the day camp we were going to my brothers would help out with whatever they could. We always had this team aspect to us and that continues till this day.
YLB: What’s Jeff’s best quality?
ER: He’s got a lot of them but his best quality is I think he is empathetic. He tries to go into every conversation, every project, every new meeting trying to understand everything about the circumstances from the other side as well.
YLB: What’s Eric’s best quality?
JR: I think that Eric’s best quality is…I mean the only word that really seems to come to mind is dogged. He is so persistent and he believes in this so much. That even when it’s very easy to give up on this thing we’ve been working on and building these last twelve years. Eric is the one that fully believes we are doing the right thing and it’s the world that’s wrong. That’s the moments when it really feels like sometimes the world is against you but you just have to make shit happen. I think that is his best quality. You know that’s just one of many great qualities that he has.
YLB: The concept of Itsthereal and all you different things you are doing now whose idea was it to begin with or was it like a community idea?
ItsTheReal: No one has ever really asked us that or any of these questions before, so that’s great. I think that Eric came up with the idea but it wouldn’t have worked if both of us had not been on board. I think Eric had been working with Kanye and I had gone to school and wanted to work in media in some sort of way. I wanted to work with Rolling Stone. Actually at the time we started pitching it to different places like Vibe, AOL and whoever was on the internet at that time. I was at HBO and so I had experience in making sketches. We had been making them with our friend group at the time for years. So it wasn’t totally a new thing but I think that if you asked me point blank, which you did. I think that I would give more credit to Eric than to me.
Simply because now that I think about it he was the one in the car listening to the radio. He heard a commercial for FUSE and they had some pop T.V. show that was watered down. He goes “I know nothing about T.V but if I were to make a T.V. show I would make it so much more authentic than whatever this thing is”. So yeah Eric deserves all the credit.
YLB: How do you guys handle the process of coming up with new ideas? Do you bounce them off each other do you both have to a hundred percent be in?
ITR: That’s a good question. I think being brothers, living together and working together for so long. A lot of the ideas we have we’re already both in on. If we are going to do something super left, I think we both do have to be at least 90 percent in. I think if theres an idea we both don’t agree on totally we both try to lean the other in the direction we are leaning. Ultimately if it’s not something we are not into then we are not going to pardon the pun, waste our time.
YLB: I can tell you genuinely love the culture. How do you operate and move in the culture that has accepted you? Or deal with people who don’t respect what you do?
ITR: I try not to mind what anyone else thinks. Do I see it every once in a while sure but life is short; right? Especially these days I just feel like as long as I am happy with the work. We are not Steve jobs buy I kind of want to look at it and act like it in the sense of “Well I’m going to do what I feel good doing”…That’s what we do. I use to be bothered way back when about what people said things or different comments I would hear on YouTube, Twitter or whatever. Now I could care less.
A list of accomplishments carried on after that. Which included sold out shows and having Just Blaze dj . Each accomplishment was followed by a literal bolstering bravado of “You can’t tell me anything” A way to say we believed when everyone doubted. Now more people than ever believe. So why should we care if you still doubt? It is a very rare moment when you can get them together or separately not to be remarkably humble.
ITR: It doesn’t change how I move on the daily basis. I move like I have a chip on my shoulder but at the end of the day it’s not the bottom line.
YLB: A carefree chip. Like I want to prove it for myself but not my doubters.
ITR: It is a carefree chip. If that’s not some made up weird thing. If you are a dozen years into any career, you have to get fire from somewhere. A lot of it is fighting your self-doubt. Or fighting the idea you will be stagnant. There are so many people who look at us and say “Oh my gawd, you made it”. I think because we treat everything with such a high grade of professionalism. As if it was a million dollar deal on everything we do. Maybe people think oh we have made it and get big checks for everything we do. That’s not the case we work because we want to keep leveling up. That’s always the goal.
Even if we do get some big checks down the line. That’s not going to make us stop. We are creatively really hungry and want to do a million things. I hope that can serve as inspiration to anyone out there. Because look at us! Were two Jewish brothers from north of New York City who had a passion for this culture, genre, music and this environment. To not only be a part of it but be respected for our contribution to it means everything to us. So if we can do that. There’s others out there who can certainly get on our shoulders and do even more.
YLB: What’s the best part of helping others share their stories?
ITR: That we’ve created this platform and it’s nice to get big names like a John Legend ( #242). It is cool to get those names so it reflects back on you. I am most happy when we get to share people’s stories that you never hear. Like we just had Nelly Ortiz (Podcast #245) on. Next week we have Megan Ryte (#246) on from HOT 97. Her story is just so insane. It’s one of those things that you’re like “I’m glad I was able to help share this. I was able to help build this thing where you can come on and feel comfortable sharing this story. Our mom was like “I’m amazed this woman that has such a big following and an enviable career hasn’t been interviewed before”. There just aren’t platforms for that. We’re the only one where you can get people who aren’t interviewed like that.
We have something special, it’s this thing where we can feel proud that we built this thing. We cannot take credit for people’s story, but pride in the fact we are able to share those stories. That’s honestly a cool thing and feather in our cap. I can’t be like we made this person interesting this person was already interesting and we get to bask in that. Maybe I’m being too modest
YLB: Talk your shit!
ItTheReal: We make people the best version of themselves on our podcast. If you really want me to talk my shit the best interviews happen on our podcast because you get the best versions of people.
In general we are story tellers. A lot of people call us a million things. People call us journalist, I don’t think we are journalist. People say podcasters. I think that is sort of an easy thing to say. We call ourselves hip-hop sketch comedians because that’s how we started out. Separated ourselves, that was our passion and no one else was a hip hop sketch comedian. If you are going to look at anything we’ve done. Music, podcasting, T.V. show, books, interviews. What we do is we do put the shine on other people because there is a value on having your story out there and being able to tell it yourself.
The importance of it goes back to primitive math. Everyone has a story. Everyone tells their story in their own way. But some people especially in this day and age don’t know how to tell their story or have an avenue to tell the story to big audiences. I think what we try to do is take people that we value and tell the story in a way that celebrates them and last forever. People come up to us wherever or email us and say how they say “sorry” they just found out about us. We say “That’s cool, no problem. Podcast are forever” …and I think the value of it is this is essentially a magazine cover and cover story. We again take people we value, respect and think can inspire other people. We’re the point guard. That’s the secret to our podcast, that’s what it is. We set people up. We put them in a position to score and they tell the story. We’re not telling the story. We just direct you. All these people celebrity or not get to come on, share their story and it gets to live on forever.
YLB: You two have done ground work in a lot of different avenues. Do you miss doing the comedy sketch’s how you use to? Or is your love for making music still there? Or you thinking of publishing another book?
ITR: So we have a million different projects on the way. I think the sketches back in the day were so much fun to me because of the reaction they would get. You would feel so good putting them out that Monday morning. There would be comments and you know we would go viral. It was such a different and good feeling but when you also remember how hard it was to do because we were doing everything ourselves. It was fucking impossible. I cannot believe we were able to do all the things we did. We would create worlds in a day. We would go around the city and put up flyers for Cam’Ron who was “missing” at the time…We would do these crazy things that we couldn’t believe we were actually doing.
We did like 12 peoples job at once. So I do miss it but I also think it was crazy. Luckily we are putting ourselves in a place where this show we sold to MTV, other people want it. We are putting ourselves were we are going to get to do the things where once we actually get some budget behind us and some muscle. The world is at our fingertips. I cannot believe that we funded it our own and I look forward to the day that we don’t have too.
YLB: What is your favorite thing all of this has brought you?
ITR: Favorite thing? Just some really great friendships. That’s a really corny answer but it is an honest answer. Hmm favorite thing…I met Stevie Wonder! I made Stevie wonder laugh. I made Jay-Z laugh. I don’t know if I’ve felt as good as that moment. Your childhood idol, your adult idol who is fucking laughing at all your jokes. He (Jay-z) said “Your hat is cool” and I was like you want it. I can’t even explain how incredible those things felt. Also its dope to be able do it with people you love. I’m glad Eric and I are able to live together, work together and not kill each other. Even like we went to LA this past week and our brother Dan went out there as well for separate reasons. It was nice to take him to a Justin Timberlake concert because we all have this one friend David Chow who works in that camp. It was nice to share that experience with him as well. I think there are opportunities for the possibility where we can all work together in the future in ways we never could. We created this world without any real drama or negativity. Especially in a time when so many people are shitty online.
Also to answer your question we are working on a second book like an actual book, but we need to work on other projects first.
YLB: You both seem to have a great memory.
ITR: Man first of all I have the worst memory that’s the problem. I have really good recall when I’m sitting there and I’m fully in it. Then I promise you it’s all gone. We were talking to Megan Ryte and Dj Enuff (#98) came over yesterday. Which again is so crazy to have these People in your apartment and be friends with them. DJ Enuff was the first person that we fanned out on 12 years ago. So Eric brought up something that happened when we interviewed Enuff about how Fat Joe threatened to flip over his turntables because he put DJ Khaled on the gig or something.
Like Eric has really good long-term memory. I’m just really good at picking up on jokes and picking up on themes within the actually interview. I wish I had better recollection. I keep looking up ways to improve my memory in fact. I feel like an idiot a lot of the time. I read a lot of books and a lot of things. I just don’t have that recall I want.
Eric attributes it more so to their minds just work in a different way.
ITR: I don’t know how to quantify that. I don’t think Jeff’s memory is bad. I think I am probably more particular or pay attention to weirder things or something.
YLB: What’s your favorite celebrity memory or interesting fact?
While pondering over a favorite moment Jeff self-identified as “scattered” and realized everything he creates gives him a favorite moment. I realized in this moment his memory was not nearly as bad as he characterized it. He went down a list of three past podcast episodes and gave his favorite memory about that guest.
ITR: Like I love Datwon Thomas (#127) telling the story about he went to the club with (Barack) Obama and Chris Tucker and Obama gave a speech in the club. The whole of Datwon Thomas life is so crazy because theres about 45 things where you are like “That happened, oh wait that happened?!” My favorite Datwon Thomas story in my life is I was at 40/40 and I was covering it for this website called Capital New York. There was a Jay-z event of some sort. We were there and at the time I was the guy for live events in New York. I worked with rolling stones, covered concerts and listening’s. I wrote this crazy thing about The Watch the Throne listening. Like I was that guy. At the time I did not feel comfortable interviewing people. I was not good at putting the microphone in their face and asking questions in a live setting. I liked being the fly on the wall. So I was at 40/40 for the event and I was next to Datwon. I asked him if I should go up and talk to him and he was like “you’re a reporter what are you talking about?’ This was like the Editor and Chief of VIBE he gave the impression of that was like the stupidest thing anyone could every say.
We had that one then we had Nadeska Alexis (#128). Favorite memory with Nadeska is being in Cleveland with her at the All the Run 2 Tour. We were all flown out for the first stop. Just talking to her about her business and our business. She’s someone who bought a house in upstate New York and doesn’t give a fuck about the business. It was so refreshing to see that side of her. This is a great run by the way. Then the next episode was the Roc-A-Fella Reunion (#129). Which is the best memory ever. The best memory of the Roc-A-Fella Reunion is that we actually pulled it off. 15 minutes beforehand the hip hop police were there threatening to shut the place down because Jim Jones didn’t want to go through security and Biggs didn’t want to go through security. So we had to sneak in Jim Jones. It was a nightmare. Lenny S was like “we’ll just postpone it for another time” in my head I was throwing up. What do you mean we’ll postpone we have 600 people inside? Hip-Hop (legendary long time Roc-A-Fella affiliate and mystery man of the industry) flew in for this. Which was so insane, I can’t’ believe that actually happened.
Eric is more unorthodox in the directness of it all. The over arching beauty vs the directness in the moment.
ITR: Theres a lot. I really enjoy when we are surprised on the podcast. I enjoy when someone comes on and tells you something where you’re like I can’t believe you traveled this road and met at this intersection with this person. We’ve had one of our friends who we known maybe longer than anyone in this business. His name is Ev Boogie (#96). He is behind this account online called UpNorthTrips. It catalogs all this material from basically 40 years of hip-hop. He catalogs it. He is like a historian and does really impressive things. When we found out he was a part of this giant mixtape movement called Evil Empire and we had no idea. That was another surprise.
We found out the other die that we this photographer who is really amazing named Clay Patrick McBride (#243) who is amazing. He has shot everyone from Jay-z and Kanye to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica to Lil Kim to Fat Joe and The LOX to Eminem and on and on. About three quarters way through the podcast he mentions that he shot Juelz Santana’s first album cover. Which we didn’t see on his website and Jeff hadn’t picked up on any of his research. He says that and I’m like “I was there I was Juelz videographer for that shoot.” We had crossed paths, both been there probably standing next to each other… All these years later that we come back around and meet this way is wild.
Another one outside of the podcast I was Kanye West videographer right. I lived just north of New York City at the time with my parents. With the relationship I grew with Kanye and his team I was invited to be his videographer for Grammy week and beyond. So when he started his record label here in New York called G.O.O.D Music under Sony. They had a big party and I was invited to that party. I was around Dj Enuff (#39) who was spinning and a hero of mine. I met a guy named John Legend who was known as John Stevens and did some work on keyboard. I met him and A-TRAK (#35, #215), Nabil Elderkin (#174), and John Monopoly (#240) and I met John C.
All these different people. I was who I was at the time and they were who they were at the time. Ten year later under circumstances under a different part of my career. Jeff and I sold the T.V. show together with John Legend and three years later or so. We invite John onto the podcast as a friend. We can have these relationships…That’s very meaningful to us we can carry these relationships forward throughout the years. Regardless of what we do and always maintain that respect.
YLB: Outside of the content are the relationships the most important factor you’ve gotten out of all this
ITR: Oh my gawd. Okay if we’re going to be really honest here’s the things the career has gotten us that are important. The relationships are by far the best thing ever. We are friends with Hip Hop. Which is still crazy to me. He’s a legend and a unicorn. People who are good friends with him don’t even know when hell pop up. He is very unique. The fact that he hit us up and is like “What are all doing?” we tell him going to get breakfast want to come. He says yes and we sit there for 2 and ½ hours and just bullshit. It was a perfect podcast but to not have the feeling that we ever had to record it because it’s just a personal relationship we have is the best.
That’s what we love. We don’t use it to sell ads. We just like being around people talking as peers, which is wild. Now underneath that to be able to go to ANY CONCERT in New York City with the snap of the finger. That has been an amazing side effect to all of this and certainty we do not take it for granted. Another thing is in this ridiculous world we live in where everyone is an influencer. The fact that we get clothes or shoes for free is wild
YLB: You can hear one album again for the first time what would it be?
ITR: I don’t love albums. I was never an album format guy. It would probably be a Kanye West College Dropout. That probably feels like the most transformative album of my life…I knew where I was.
Different times in their life point to different circumstances. The music is still the connectivity to it all. It all started in and with music for them.
ITR: Theres different albums that mean different things to me. I might say Dave Matthews Band live from Red Rock. Theres a certain texture to it. I can feel the portable CD player. I can remember the headphones. I know what it meant to have those emotions at that time. To travel around the country with my family on a winter vacation when that was everything to me. I’m not jaded at this point in my career. At least I don’t like to think that I am, I love music. The packaging of it, the experience of it, and the fact that there was only a certain amount of songs on those two cd’s meant something.
YLB: If you could be part of one great hip hop artist run or story which one would you choose?
ITR: What would be interesting to me would be to experience a time I was so on the outside. Like Bad Boys run in the 90’s must’ve been like insane. Bad Boys run just feels other worldly to me. It’s on a level that I can’t even comprehend. I’m sure that was super difficult and super fun. Also I’m sure it be very weird because I don’t fit in with them at all. That would’ve been crazy. A lot of highs and super, super lows. Biggie seems like the most charismatic and incredible person I never will get the chance to meet. Also the LOX as kids would be crazy! There’s no world where I would be friend with them then but it’s crazy they are our friends now.
I’m going to choose Roc-A-Fella then, I have to! We just talked to Hip Hop about it. We were so close to all of them I think that means the most to my heart but I love Bad Boy too. Bad Boy meant the world to me and still does. If he goes Bad Boy I’ll go Roc-A-Fella
YLB: Imagine you had met the lox in the late 90’s and were like “Yo I got this idea.”
ITR: Yea like “Hey let’s watch movies together. Let’s watch You’ve Got Mail. Let’s watch Coco”
YLB: How would you describe the creative space you are in now and how would you like to evolve?
ITR: I feel we are on top of everything creatively. There is no better feeling than that. Because we are also 12 years into our career we shouldn’t be hittn’ like we’re hittin’ but we are. I’m not even saying like money wise, it’s not like oh we sold this or that or the other thing and the money equates to success. No. A lot of the things we do aren’t making money but they will. Where were at right now we just feel so good about the content we are putting out on the weekly basis. We are putting out conversations that we take great pride in. Every so often we’ll put out 2 Jews and 2 Black Dudes Review movies. There’s stuff we haven’t talked about on big scale or the small scale.
You know what we’re about half way done with our new album the masses haven’t heard it yet…I feel so great about it. It’s not even our biggest driver for our business. It’s ‘just something I care so much about and feels like it has great potential. We still record with our best friend Greg Mayo; like we did in high school. We never stopped. It’s just amazing the path that we’ve all taken. It organic and genuine and I love that and that hittin’. These projects that we are working on there is so much momentum in them and so many people believing in it. At the end of the day Jeff and I believe in it. It makes us happy.
I say to people all the time theres going to be up and downs every day, every week, every year. Some days are good, some days are not. But you pull back and look at any career and you started from nothing and made it into something. It seems like a direct line up and you can go oh man we’ve doubled up considerably in the last decade but we’ve done a million different things and I’m glad for that. I’m glad for the progress. Day to day progress too. I am glad where we are at and glad what we are doing. It is very fulfilling to be creatively on fire.
YLB: Celebrity who was surprisingly funny?
ITR: My first thought is we were down at Bonnaroo and we were supposed to interview everyone we wanted. We decided we weren’t just going to do the hip-hop acts. We would do not only the Mac Millers. Who was incredibly and surprisingly amazing and just the best, but that’s not my answer. We were going to interview Feist. She was one of those she had music in like Target ads (Jeff begins to hum 1234 by Feist very not well)…Okay so they were like she is going to be coming from a CNN interview. So she comes in from the CNN interview. Eric is like “Yo it’s Eric aka this” and I go “Yo it’s Jeff aka this”. And Feist comes in and has an aka ready. We were like that in insane. Why do you know to do that? Apparently she had seen our videos and that was really dope. Same with Alice Cooper, Alice Cooper had great energy and super funny. That was less unexpected because he had been in Wayne’s World, but like so unbelievably funny and so dope. Stevie Wonder had a great sense of humor. I use to get really nervous, but when I met Stevie Wonder it was not that energy at all. I just felt so calm.
So the Stevie Wonder thing was we were at Austin City Limits. So at this festival Stevie Wonder wasn’t doing any interviews and we got the one. So in order to get that his team was like great you have to meet here at 11 o’clock, we are going to take you through this tunnel. The festival was like over and we had to meet at this one place. So at that time they shut down the entire back stage. So it becomes like the fucking S.W.A.T team. You know like nobody passes through. They led us through in like the darkest of dark nights. Through hiding in golf carts and behind dumpsters. And this was for getting to a thing that we were allowed to do. We were running behind and got into the trailer. His publicist came over and we were waiting for him to finish up whatever he was doing. She was like “What questions are you going to ask? Can I see?” and we never showed our questions to anyone beforehand. Ever and never after but we showed them to her beforehand and she goes “Oh you guys are funny.” She’s like “He’s going to love you guys.” So he sang with us. He told us stories about Drake and Willow Smith. It was so fun and funny. He sang Happy Birthday on the phone for somebody else. It was amazing.
One of those things where you are just like I can’t believe this is real. I can’t believe I’m here and I can’t believe you gave this interview not knowing anything about us. Not even knowing if we were funny. That was super unexpected I did not know Stevie Wonder was that funny. Every single person I talk to now about that, that knows him says “Oh yea Stevie is actually really funny, huh?’
YLB: Give me 3 of your friends that you are genuinely happy for whether it be what they are doing personally, professionally, creatively whatever.
I don’t even know where to begin with that. We know a lot of people and we are friends with a lot of people but I don’t think things reflect back on us in that way. I will say it’s been really gratifying to watch people that we have known for so long hit it and win. We knew Mac (Miller) (#16) and that was incredible to watch him become super well known and celebrated for all the right reasons. We were able to look at him and be like “Wow I’m so happy for him”. You know with Miss. Info (#58) it was great to watch we knew her at the tail-end of her HOT 97 / hip-hop career. Then she became a mother and took a step back and now she and her guy are behind Stadium Goods. To watch that transition where it’s like oh you didn’t have to give up any piece of yourself to find happiness.
This is totally unrelated I guess, but a person I think of is Ella Mai (#186). Who when she came on had like a song, it was bubbling and it was cool. To watch like a year later and it’s like oh you’re like a really big deal and I can’t believe we did one of your favorite interviews. Theres a lot of things. We took good chances on Lil Uzi Vert (#37). We took good chance on Cardi B (#99). I wrote Chance the Rapper first real review for Rolling Stone when he came and did SOB’s(Click Review Here). (We) have zero relationship with him or his camp but like I think its dope to be able to watch people when they are known by so few then a year later they are out of here. It’s great when they are the same person though. They don’t lose themselves. There’s certain people I can think of that have done that.
Desus and Mero ( #13, #32) are super dope, it’s awesome to watch them grow. It awesome to watch Dussepooloza. All the guys from that, crazy to know them before Dussepooloza. It doesn’t reflect at all on us but it’s cool to be part of a community where good people win.
YLB: The best part about you is I’ll ask you these questions and you’ll go “Ehh I don’t really know” then go on this beautiful and captivating rant
ITR: I’m like I don’t know, hmm everybody
YLB: L.A. brunch or New York dinner?
ITR: Hmm, I’ll say L.A. brunch because it feels more special because this is my town. I’m New York right now. The food isn’t that more exceptional in either place. When I’m out of town I feel different and I’ll probably like treat myself.
YLB: What’s something you love about New York and something you love about LA?
ITR: LA’s been brought up as a thing for a decade now. We’ve had chances to move out there and not taken them. We watched everyone else move out there. For me I never wanted to move out there because you have to drive, I don’t drive. I have a driver’s license but I haven’t used it in about a decade. I also don’t like the idea of you can’t change plans as easily. Or hit a bunch of things in the same was as New York.
There’s a slight mixture of low laughter as it is realized my question wasn’t answered. Then the response is carried on promptly.
ITR: So my favorite thing about New York are that you can change plans like six times in one night. You can just run to anything and be there in like 15 minutes to half an hour. Theres like a million things to do. In LA my favorite thing is I love that you can go in there for a week and just kill shit. I don’t know if I’d have the same energy if I was there the whole time. I also love the food in LA. Maybe that’s cause I just don’t eat out the in the same way in New York. I love that a lot of my friends from New York live out there, but there’s just part of me that doesn’t see it for myself out there. I think it’s too far from my family and that’s coming from someone that would be bringing one of my brothers with me. Even though the breakfast burritos are fire it’s just not worth it to me.
YLB: What do you like better in linking and building; the link or the build?
JR: Now this is a question I would love to answer. I actually love linking with people. I’m very good at having conversations with people and finding things out. I enjoy the surface conversations even though they are just surface conversations. But I like that. I’m someone who does very well at parties. I can talk to anybody and I can have a good time and I don’t drink or smoke and just enjoy meeting people.
Building; here’s the thing about building. Most people just want a piece of you. So they don’t actually contribute much they just want to do something with you. I don’t think a lot of people build in good faith. So I would much rather just link with people…linking is so much better when you have no stakes involved. A lot of people try to force this build thing on you and it’s like you’re never going to actually give me anything to build with. What you are giving me is Jell-O. You’re giving me something that is just going to collapse or melt
ER: I like the building I hate the linking. I got to a point in my life where I’m like I’ll go to a party but I don’t want to waste my time with someone. I don’t want to have someone give me a car or dap me up and say “Let’s do this or that”. You know you’re not giving me anything to sort of set you apart…Anyone can say things, I rather do things. I rather show me you can do something then we can do something together. So I love building.
YLB: You are going on Family Feud and can take four people you podcasted with on. Who you taking?
After quickly picking John Legend and saying how smart he is that snow balled into an avalanche of the time Kanye West was on the show. An episode Jeff didn’t watch but had an interesting amount of facts about. After over 250 guest this isn’t an easy question and at one point abruptly says “I’m going to have to look at my fucking list again”. Him looking at the fucking list again means more research for me as well. He settled in and decided to make it fun and people he would like to experience a game show with.
JR: Ron Funches (#148), Cardo Got Wings (#144), Scottie Beam (#145) and Cardi B (#99). Yea I think that’s a good group of people. Eric is like the grandfather who is also there. I mean he’s not like a grandfather. He’s like the 6th man, the matriarch of it all.
YLB: You’re going to do a Food Network show with one person. Who would be your co-host and what’s the premise of the show?
ER: You know it’s probably either be Snoop or Fat Joe. Because both of them are fascinating personalities and good on-air talents. Joe can talk forever. He’s long been on our list of people we want to get on our podcast. And Snoop has been one of our musical hero’s forever. His transition from every other part of his career has been amazing to watch. And they’re both funny as fuck
So I’m going to say Snoop. The theme of the show would probably me and Snoop taking a food truck maybe around the country. Maybe there’s a survival aspect to that. I need a good name and it’s gotta be…. Where’s My Bone. He’s gotta he the best to travel with. I’m all in all that. Hope you put it in the air and it goes places I didn’t imagine. That’s the other great thing about all this. You can start somewhere and this journey is not a straight line and this journey can take you somewhere across the country or across the world. Never thought these things were possible or meet the people you meet. Everyday it brings something new and that’s truly, truly exciting.
YLB: Alright before you go can you give me aka for YoungLionBlog?
JR: It’s for you? Okay I was going to do “Yo what up its Jeff aka YoungLion aka Ashad” but now I have to do one that’s based off of you but not involved with YoungLion. Okay um”Yo what up its YoungLion aka tripping on mushrooms aka Super Mario”
ER: I would have to give it a lot more thought to come up with something for The Ohio State Univerity or Reno 911. I had one the other day that I thought about and was like is this too specific. And I’m not going to use it just going to give it to you. It’s exclusive. That’s why I’m giving it to you the most smartest, brightest, creative place on the internet. “Yo it’s Eric aka Great Googaly Moogaly aka This ain’t it chief.” The meaning behind that is there was a snickers commercial maybe 16 years ago, maybe 10 years ago. There was this snickers commercial where this guy was painting the end zone for Kansas City and forgot the I and spelled it Chef. And so this ain’t it Chief and he says great googaly moogaly.
ITR: Good luck trying to transcribe any of this.
No one in Hip-Hop gives compliments like ItsTheReal. No one is moving how they are moving. Which adds so many different angles and layers to their journey. Every step is unique. They are genuine in their pursuit.
They are the story tellers in a way very few can succeed at. They give their guest the voice. The platform is based around their brand but they know how to not make things about them.
The victories just mean more when you do it your way. The voice in their head was stronger than any deterrent.
They compliment and feed of one another in a spectacular way. A natural chemistry through brotherhood that was forged in friendship. Sometimes their answers are hard to differentiate and other times they are so vastly opposite you appreciate even more that they somehow make this beautiful creative chaos work. As you read this piece you can decide who they are and what they are.
I just wanted to show them to you.
If you stay ready you never have to get ready.
Wu-Tang said “Protect your neck at all times”
And today I’m saying go all places with good intentions. If you keep it real you never have to fake it. Nah Fr Fr.
All links/underlined words in this piece all clickable. All podcast numbers next to names mentioned lead directly to that podcast. Please go catch up on all of ItTheReal’s work.
They are now officially friends of the blog.
I appreciate you all being here to read with me