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Seven Podcast Episodes We've Had With Podcasters

Taxstone’s episode is one of my favorites because Tax is one of my favorites: smart, funny, direct. He knows who he is, he adds no frills. While a lot of time has passed since 2015, the beginning of his life hasn’t changed in this episode. We talk about his childhood in Brooklyn and how he was able to strike a nerve with his podcast, Tax Season, so quickly. (His interview with Beanie Sigel is a master-class in listening.) While he’s currently locked up awaiting his trial, it’s always good to hear his voice and life story and hope for the day he comes out. Listen to episode #24 with Taxstone on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and elsewhere.

Mouse Jones has (as of now) our only two-part episode and, boy, is it worth it. Mouse - of BET, Trap Karaoke and the Guys Next Door podcast - grows up in Long Island, which sounds nice in theory, but through this rollercoaster, he wonders how he made it out alive. And so do I! If Mouse’s life were a movie, it would be Soulja Boy in his legendary DJ V**d interview. You’re just like, wait, what, how are you sitting here right here and right now? Also, Mouse regularly compares coming to our house to guesting on Letterman’s show, which is very nice of him. He’s a good Long Island boy. Listen to episode #196 with Mouse Jones on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and then listen to part 2 (iTunes/Spotify/Soundcloud).

Big Wos & Blk Tray of the basketball and culture podcast BOMM and the Count the Dings Network were good enough to come on for one of our concept episodes: what rappers would make the best NBA ballplayers? We staged a draft, and…I think my team was the best, but what do I know? No, really. The experts from the basketball podcast were…not impressed with my team of Bow Wow, Nelly, Lil B and others. A lot of laughs in this one. Listen to episode #173 with Big Wos and Blk Tray on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud. Elsewhere, too!

Jemele Hill once asked us for help when setting up her podcast, Jemele Hill is Unbothered on Spotify, but she never needed it. (She’s been killlllllllling it.) It was so great to have her over to talk about her own journey grinding it out at newspapers and making her way to ESPN, and still have time for the important issues of the day: how to properly play UNO. (No stacking, apparently?) Also, she interviewed Detroit’s own, Aaliyah, and worked alongside Stuart Scott, which is incredible. There’s a lot to Jemele, and we’re honored she’d share just some of her time with us. Listen to episode #198 with Jemele Hill on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and more.

Aminatou Sow is one of the best people to follow on Instagram Stories, but that’s neither here nor there. Maybe you know her from Call Your Girlfriend, her massively popular (and touring!) podcast, or maybe you know her from this episode, where we talk about Amina interviewing Hillary Clinton - well, not even that, it’s about her podcasting philosophy, and even how you can make bank doing this shit. (Service-y!) And there’s her own journey, of coming to America and learning English at 16. Maybe most importantly, we talk about whether the Mucinex Man/snot blob is something his creator is proud of. Listen to episode #227 with Aminatou Sow on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and wherever you listen to podcasts.

Premium Pete — you think we’d forget him? Fuhgeddaboutit. (Sorry.) (He’s Italian.) (He has gravy, not sauce.) When Pete came over, he had just reconnected with Combat Jack, and it was great to see them back on good terms. Their relationship - up and down as it was - was a special one, and hearing Pete talk about Combat (a year before he passed, 9 months before he was diagnosed) is great. Pete’s own life began on Coney Island - delivering newspapers to the Mets’ John Franco, stealing his mother's car, skipping out on high school classes - before going off in unexpected directions: he worked in finance, who knew! He went to jail for selling drugs! He got out, got back on his feet, opening a super-popular sneaker store - pun QUITE intended (sorry) and built a network that included early and meaningful friendships with Teyana Taylor, Drake and Bun B. Listen to episode #88 with Premium Pete on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and if you still need me to say more, then look at any of these other entries for that.

Scottie Beam feels everything so deeply: I love music, for instance, but she looooooves music. I can be uncomfortable flying, but Scottie is…well, she will crash the plane to save herself from turbulence. And she talks about her struggles with her emotional well-being: holing herself up in her college dorm room for months; going through anger management; getting to a place where she accepts herself. (A never-ending process — as she’ll discuss on the Black Girl Podcast.) But this episode is mostly laughs, especially the story that begins with her mom leaving her sister on a bridge. Love this episode. Also, it’s her birthday today, so listen to episode #145 with Scottie Beam on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud.

Six Great Behind-the-Scenes Episodes

Nelly Ortiz - currently at Roc Nation - has brokered deals for some of the biggest rap names, but what you get from this episode most is her personality: smart, funny, very quick. We talk about her going to business school online while working on the rollout of Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive, working with DJ Khaled in Miami, being awarded a slot in Billboard Magazine's 40 Under 40 and - after all of these major moves - how it felt to move to Los Angeles this year to start this new chapter. Also, she has the perfect radio voice. Listen on episode #245 with Nelly Ortiz on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud or elsewhere.

Marsha St. Hubert’s career starts with her turning down an interview to be Lyor Cohen’s assistant because she wanted to get her hair done. (She got the job, hair undone.) Since then, she’s played a major role in the lives, careers and plaques of Cardi B, Gucci, TI, Wiz, Lupe, Maino and on and on — the details of which she talks about on this episode. (You want the blueprint? She gives it.) In an industry full of fakes, she’s a real one, and she might be the real one. This is episode #182 with Marsha St. Hubert on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and beyond.

Wayno Clark might be most recognized from his time on Complex’s Everyday Struggle, but his journey is long. Wayno dropped out of high school and found work in the mail room at 825 Worldwide Plaza, home to the legendary Def Jam Records. This was during Roc-a-fella’s hey-day, and - through gumption and luck - he wasn’t just in rooms with Beanie Sigel, Kanye West, Just Blaze, Shari Bryant, Hip-Hop, Lenny S, Dame Dash, Jay Z — he created meaningful moments with many of them, especially with the Young Gunz and State Property. If you want to be a manager, start here, with episode #74 with Wayno Clark, available on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and more.

Rich Kleiman’s episode is so funny. Man. He always thinks differently. There are so many good stories within this conversation: his failed restaurant business, his failed dot-com business…but it’s ultimately inspirational. He’s someone who faced long odds and sometimes lost but mostly won — and he’s honest about those experiences. He found his footing managing artists like Wale, Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, J. Cole, Solange, Victor Cruz, and moving into his currently role as Kevin Durant’s business and creative partner. But my biggest takeaway is his story of - when he was at Roc Nation - he asked Jay-Z for a raise, and Jay was like, “For what?” Listen to episode #166 with Rich Kleiman on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and etc.

Lenny S’ greatest quality (well, one of them) is his ability to connect with everyone. He holds so many good and important relationships, starting with Jay-Z, you could think he was born into the industry. But he came into it honestly: knowing no one and - after being a Bad Boy guy - he had to work his way into a reluctant (?) Jay’s circle. He then quickly moves up the ladder, becoming an A&R alongside Hip-Hop and Gee Roberson, working with Memphis Bleek, Beanie Sigel, Kanye West, Just Blaze, and a ton more artists. On the episode, he gives insight into Jay Z's classic albums The Blueprint and The Black Album, talks about working for Def Jam, Virgin, and finally making the move to Roc Nation, and describes what working with DJ Khaled is really like. Listen to episode #60 with Lenny S. on iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud and all other platforms.

Sophia Chang just put her audiobook out (The Baddest Bitch in the Room) but don’t worry, it’s not competition. She does talk about her life on our podcast — there are stories about managing the sometimes-unmanageable RZA, GZA and ODB from Wu-Tang — but it’s also about how motherhood changed her and what her story means for other outsiders. She is an industry pioneer and continues to push boundaries; she’ll learn you some confidence from this conversation. Or maybe you’ll just get some Paul Simon anecdotes out of it, who knows. Listen to episode #273 with Sophia Chang on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud, or wherever else you listen to podcasts!