When we launched People’s Party with Talib Kweli in the spring of 2019, the goal was simple: to give one of our favorite rappers and thought leaders the chance to chop it up with hip-hop stars, actors, organizers, and comedians who he held in high regard. That was the whole pitch. We had designer Willo Perron — who’s grown famous working with Jay-Z, Kanye, Cudi, Gaga, Gambino, and, of course, Kweli — create a set, brought on comedian Jasmin Leigh to crack jokes and add a fresh perspective, and then we were off.
In the 37 weeks since our first episode with Bun B went live on June 9th, 2019, People’s Party has grown both in multiple ways. On one level, it’s become a sort of Inside the Actor’s Studio for hip-hop culture. A place where Ice Cube, Too $hort, and TI can reflect on their legendary careers and find an audience ravenous for their deepest cuts. For a certain type of rap head (our writers and editors included!), listening to Lil’ Kim unpack her lyrics and trade tales of Biggie in Brooklyn with Kweli or hearing El-P detail the demise of Company Flow is appointment listening/viewing. That passion for trading industry stories extends to a younger generation too, with IDK and Rapsody both coming on and Jack Harlow and JPEG Mafia in the pipeline.
At the same time, the show has also come into its own as a place where complex issues are discussed with nuance. One week you might hear Michael Rapaport getting challenged over his whole “ashy ankles” situation with Kenya Moore, the next it could be Black Lives Matter founder Patrice Cullors opening up about the ways she was attacked after launching her organization. Race, gender, social justice, politics — it’s all on the table.
Perhaps no episode exemplified that better than the one we did with The Game. In our most-watched episode, Game revealed himself as a low-key “backpack MC” (his words) and conscious rapper while also telling stories that felt like they were torn straight out of a John Woo movie. If nothing else, check out his retelling of the first time he met Nipsey Hussle.
Last week, on the strength of a great run of recent episodes, People’s Party with Talib Kweli hit the top of the iTunes music podcast charts, surpassing the great Dolly Parton. It remained in the #1 spot at the outset of this week, but this morning Dolly snuck past us again (we’re coming for you, Dolly!). Meanwhile, the channel the show airs on, YouTube.com/UproxxVideo, will soon pass 1 million subscribers. Next week, MC Eiht sits down with Kweli and Jasmin. After that, be ready for JPEG Mafia, Jadakiss, D Smoke, and Jack Harlow.
Perhaps the biggest success of the show has been the listeners and viewers getting involved, dropping comments, buzzing about the show across social platforms, and offering their personal dream guest lists. If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon yet, we invite you to get on board.