We take a look at Joe Rogan's most entertaining and insightful interactions with hip-hop culture as of late.
Like him or loathe him, Joe Rogan has progressed from the unassuming Fear Factor host and stand-up comedian to the face of a multi-million dollar media empire. Since launching the eponymous Joe Rogan Experience podcast in a relatively low-tech format back in December 2009, what started as convivial bantering and weed-induced philosophizing between friends has now become a space in which audiences are regaled with the thoughts of famed academics and celebrities at their most unguarded.
As the podcast’s acclaim continued to grow over the years, Joe has welcomed everyone from presidential candidates to fully-fledged pop culture icons to his studio. Along the way, he has even spent hours deep in conversation with some of hip-hop’s bonafide A-listers and underground staples alike.
Back in 2019, we compiled some of Joe’s finest hip-hop-oriented moments. Since then, there has, of course, been even more illustrious guests, several major controversies, and a Spotify deal that's led to “fuck you money”-- so it seems only fitting that we bring you a second installment of Rogan’s run-in’s with hip-hop culture, ranging from the insightful to the utterly ridiculous.
Freddie Gibbs leaves Joe Rogan speechless
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If you’ve so much as glanced at the internet in recent years, it’s likely that you’re aware of two things about Freddie Gibbs. Number one-- He’s among the most accomplished rappers in the game today. And number two-- He’s a master of the one-liner and internet trolling in general.
So, when it came time for Freddie to decamp to the JRE studios in Austin, Texas alongside Roast Battle host Brian Moses, it was all but assured that hilarity would ensue. Given that Freddie will always rise to the occasion when he’s got any form of big platform, it should be of no surprise to anyone that his encounter with Rogan saw Freddie deliver one of the finest and most beguiling opening gambits in podcast history.
After he’d been uncharacteristically quiet for the first minute or two, a discussion around cocaine was enough for Freddie to spring to life by delivering a very self-incriminating anecdote from his trapping days. Discussing the superhuman powers that narcotics can give you, Freddie proclaimed that:
“You know, this is some real shit because there’s a crackhead back in the day. I shot the n***a nine times with a TEC-9 and he kept running down the alley,”
As if that wasn’t enough, Joe Rogan’s clearly bewildered “hmm” that followed was enough to promote this moment into the ranks of the internet hall of fame. Later in the show, Freddie also delved into a subject that harbors an ongoing appeal for him in the form of the legal proceedings around R. Kelly.
Although Gangsta Gibbs maintained that he should go to jail, he referred to Kelly’s deviance as a “waste of talent” before he, Rogan and Moses proceeded to comically dissect some of Kels’ latter-day work.
Suffice to say, if any rapper was equipped to go on a podcast with a world-famous comedian and come away with the best one-liners, it’s Gibbs.
Kanye outlines his manifesto on the JRE
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After what felt like years of back & forth and logistical talks, some people had given up on the idea that hip-hop icon, fashion designer and 2020 presidential candidate Kanye West would ever make his often-alluded-to appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast. In fact, it even seemed like Joe had eventually thrown in the towel.
But on one fateful day in October of 2020, Ye posted a screenshot of him on FaceTime with Joe, and the hype machine kicked into overdrive.
Over the course of almost three hours, Kanye and Joe discussed everything from Ye feeling “bad” about the content of rap songs to Kanye’s assertion that “everyone” is being medicated.
Across the board, it proved to be one of the most coherent insights into Ye’s outlook that we’ve had in recent years. However, where it really shined was when Ye began to make his case as to why he was the right man to be the god-guided leader of the free world.
"I'm completely confident that I will figure out how to get America out of debt, that I have the ability, once I see everything,” Ye contended. “I never make the wrong decision when I'm given all the information. That's my skill set. Anything I go into -- producing, rap, homes, clothing, anything -- once I'm given the right information, I apply my taste. And I have the best taste on the planet.
"I know that me, as president, would be the best thing that would ever happen for America's foreign policy. I've traveled more than any president already, and I bring people together. I put rivals on songs together to create masterpieces."
Throughout the conversation, Joe seemed to have the utmost respect for Ye. But in the months that have passed, eagle-eyed viewers have since compiled clips from previous podcasts which contradict the resoundingly positive way in which Joe responded to Ye’s ideas, the most lengthy of which is dubbed “Joe Rogan fake with Kanye West.”
Post Malone and Joe venture to the fourth dimension
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When the news broke that global superstar Post Malone would be appearing on the Joe Rogan Experience, many people seemed perplexed as to what the two had in common or what they could possibly talk about. As it turns out though, both men have common ground in their love of mind-altering substances.
Recorded on July 29th, 2020, the pair took mushrooms prior to the show, and sure enough, the podcast played out exactly as you’d imagine it would from there. Hailed by some in the comments as one of the most aimless and incomprehensible episodes in the show’s history, the end result is a hilarious hodgepodge of half-finished thoughts and random queries such as Post Malone intently asking Joe Rogan to identify his favourite vegetable.
If your tolerance for hilariously inane stoner speech doesn’t expand to almost four hours, then the compilation below will give you a flavor of what the whole conversation felt like.
Wiz Khalifa and Joe Rogan bond over weed and martial arts
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At the outset of his career, Wiz Khalifa was synonymous with the image of the skinny, party-loving stoner for whom the high life would never end. But over time, it was evident that the leader of the Taylor Gang had taken it upon himself to prioritize his health, albeit without sacrificing his favorite hobby.
For Joe Rogan, this is an approach to life that closely mirrors his own and by the time that Wiz made it to the studio for episode 1306 in late May of 2019, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that the two would hit it off.
From Joe being amazed by Wiz’s capacity to smoke an ounce a day, to his martial arts-led body transformation, and their shared gratitude at getting to be “themselves” for a living, the pair seemed like old pals from the beginning of the conversation all the way through to its conclusion two hours later.
If you ever wanted to get an in-depth look inside Wiz’s life and outlook, then look no further than his trip to the podcast.
Joe Rogan heaps praise on Charlamagne Tha God
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Often perceived as hip-hop’s pre-eminent shock jock, Charlamagne Tha God is one of the most outspoken characters that the genre has seen in recent decades. But while you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was only famous among those who keep their eyes glued to the hip-hop news cycle, it turns out that Rogan has a massive amount of admiration for him too. When Charlamagne appeared on the JRE alongside his Brilliant Idiots co-host Andrew Schulz, it made for an action-packed episode that spanned everything from the Kardashians to Magic Johnston conspiracy theories and back again. But at the beginning of the episode, Rogan articulated his view on Charlamagne in a way that left the normally combative host taken aback.
“I’ve been a fan of yours for a while. I think you’re the last great radio host and you will be the last famous radio host. I think radio is a dying thing… You’re the last samurai, 100%.”
After his initial defense of his medium, Charlamagne neatly settled into his position of guest as opposed to host, paving the way for an excellent conversation.
Geto Boys’ Willie D talks about the “We Can’t Be Stopped” artwork
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Renowned as Southern hip-hop pioneers in every sense, Scarface, Bushwick Bill and Willie D of the Geto Boys were as uncompromising as hip-hop groups came during their heyday. Acclaimed for the sheer darkness of their lyrics, it’s only fitting that the trio that arguably createdHorrorcore on debut album Making Trouble also have one of the most eye-catchingly grotesque album covers of all time.
Taken from their third record We Can’t Be Stopped, the cover-- which features a recently bullet-wounded Bushwick Bill being pushed on a gurney by Willie D and Scarface-- has fascinated fans for years. Not least of all, Joe Rogan himself. During his visit to the JRE, Willie D went in-depth on the spontaneous nature of the shot.
“We had finished the album and then Bushwick got shot. This happened a lot with Bill. Like, if he had a major job to do then he’d get it done. But after the job is done, something starts happening. So, we finished the album and got a call, ‘Bill got shot.’
“I get to the hospital and Bill is dazed but conscious. He says to me ‘Will, don’t hurt her. I made her do it. I checked on him and I was like ‘he lost his eye, but he’s gonna survive’… Back to business, what are we gonna do about the album cover? I say, we can shoot it! He alive! I went up there and said Bill, we want to shoot this album cover man, you down? He’s like, I don’t care. The nurse put him on another gurney and we rode him down the hall. &ldquo
Later in the show, Rogan went on to say that not having Bushwick on the show was “one of my great regrets” as the opportunity had elapsed in the run-up to his untimely death.
Joe Rogan wants to buy Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
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When RZA checked into the JRE alongside Donnell Rawlings, it seemed like a certainty that we’d receive a deep dive into the Wu and the ideologies that govern the iconic crew. And sure enough, we got that and a whole lot more. Alongside a thrilling discussion about the evolution of hip-hop and RZA offering his take on vague Wu affiliate Andre Johnson -- otherwise known as Christ Bearer-- chopping off his penis, we also witnessed Joe Rogan proclaiming that he’d like to buy the sole copy of the long lost Wu Tang Clan album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin from the incarcerated “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli.
“That guy’s gotta be broke”, Rogan proclaimed. “Is there a way I can buy that off him?” He added, “I would release that online…Or release it with you. But that, sitting there, makes no sense to me. That box looks dope. When you get out Martin, holla at your boy."
Joe Rogan’s admiration for Lil Nas X
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Despite the fact that he may be 54 years old, the nature of his role as a public figure and the revolving door of guests that come through means that if there’s a major pop culture phenomenon, chances are he’ll see it somehow.
This meant that when Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road”, country charts controversy and all, took hold of the internet, Joe was quick to praise his marketing acumen.
"What a great idea to rap over Red Dead Redemption," he declared when met with the news. “I like the way this dude dances with a cowboy hat.”
Although that was the long and short of it at the time, this admiration would eventually intensify and soon after the video for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)" practically set the internet alight, a podcast with Lex Fridman saw Joe declare that “I love that guy. I fucking love that dude. I love what he did. I love that he had this big pop song that was a huge hit, and then he went full gay,"
"He came out like a fucking cannon. But the music is great too. . .It's not just he's coming out of the closet, I celebrate the fact that he is able to be his authentic self, but the music is fun, it's good music. He is himself now”, Joe continued. “He gets a lot of hate, but it comes with success.”
Seeing as Lil Nas X is as internet savvy as they come, don’t be too surprised if he shows up on the JRE sooner rather than later.
Rogan illustrates his taste with Ben Westhoff
Where many of these hip-hop-based moments were incidental or spurred on by having an MC on as a guest, let’s not overlook the fact that above all, Rogan started out as a fan of hip-hop like the rest of us. Moreover, he also has pretty good taste when it comes to golden-era rhymers.
When author Ben Westhoff, who has written books about both west coast hip-hop and the rise of the dirty south, appeared on the show, Joe proceeded to outline a smattering of his favorite MCs.
"Yes, I love hip-hop. Nas, huge Nas fan. Gangstarr, love Gangstarr. Biggie, Tupac. The classics. Big Daddy Kane, I love EPMD. Nas is my favourite I think, his lyrics are so intricate. The way he words things, it’s like 'oh shit!'"
As the conversation wore on, Rogan then asked Ben Westhoff if he had admiration for Kool G Rap before launching into a sermon on his greatness.
“Undisputed, underground guy that people don’t know. You list some of the greatest of all time, people don’t say Kool G Rap. Go back and listen to “Cock Blockin’” that’s one of the best songs ever.”
Given that his love for Nasty Nas has come up on multiple occasions, we can only hope that they eventually get the chance to sit down for an in-depth chat.
Are there any notable moments we missed from the past two-three years of JRE? Let us know in the comments.