Hip-Hop fans rejoice, Juan Ep is back. The duo of Cipha Sounds and Peter Rosenberg has revived the original Hip-Hop podcast, bringing their expertise back to listeners that runs from the 90s golden age of Hip-Hop to the present.
After being gone for a year, Cipha and Rosenberg have relaunched the platform with the assistance of Mass Appeal and Endeavor Audio to once again bring the Hip-Hop nerd community in-depth details about their favorite stars and moments that may not be readily available with a couple of searches on google.
In their return, the duo tackles the possible GOAT of Hip-Hop, Jay-Z. Cipha and Rosenberg, with the assistance of some of Hov’s closest friends, early collaborators and more, dig into his career and influence.
Brand new episode up right now! Search Juan Ep whenever you find podcasts !! pic.twitter.com/pKpX1a9jee
— RosenbergTelevision (@Rosenbergradio) October 15, 2019
In an exclusive conversation with The Source, the Juan Ep duo detail what sparked their return to the podcast, how Mass Appeal and Endeavor have made it an easier journey, future episodes and more.
The Source: You guys are busy individually, what sparked the return to doing Juan Eps podcasts?
Rosenberg: It just felt like there was unfinished business there. I think we always hope that one day we would do the podcast in the right way, have an outlet for it with some organization and rhythm. An actual system in place to potentially make money, just make it more of a real thing. It was really fun and organic the way we did it the first time. I don’t think you can ever recreate the exact sort of start, but I think we always hope that at some point there would be a way to do it more official.
Cipha Sounds: Also, the right partner, which obviously is Mass Appeal and we feel like as a Hip-Hop nerd podcast, this was the right partner for us. Someone who actually is in the culture understands the culture and not just all these different podcasts popping up just for people to get a check, you know?
You mentioned making that partnership with Mass Appeal and Endeavor. What were those discussions like to know all those teams are right for each other?
Cipha Sounds: Actually, I was at a Mass Appeal talking about some other stuff, some other like comedy stuff that I do – and that’s the thing about Juan Ep fans, you can’t even go anywhere without them. Somebody’s asking about the other member. So whenever I have a meeting they’re like, “Oh, where’s Rosenberg?” It kept happening over and over. I feel, not to be all fucking hippie-dippy, but I feel that was the universe saying, you know, you guys gotta do some shit. So they working out the deal with the company that they work with, Endeavor, and that’s how we got to be one of the first ones.
About the growth in Hip-Hop podcasts, as you said a lot of people are just trying to get a check and make sure that they’re heard. But then you also have the people that are also trying to move the culture forward. Being the original Hip-Hop podcast, what do you feel about the overall growth and was there concern in returning when it’s just such a big podcast boom?
Rosenberg: I never really felt any concern about coming back because I don’t feel any pressure in this. It would really be cool if it became huge and everyone was talking about and we became like the serial podcast everybody in the world was listening to. That would be really neat. I didn’t go into it with that expectation. So as a result, I’m not really concerned about how crowded the space is. I just hope that maybe some people who will listen to some of those new podcasts would end up stumbling into us and discovering us for the first time.
Cipha Sounds: I want to get this show to a good level of popularity only because I would like for new fans to go listen to the old episodes because there was a lot of fire there that didn’t get like mainstream exposure back then.
In the older episodes, it was more of you guys having different guests and you would tackle different subjects in each episode. The return is kind of more of like an anthology series where you’re doing one long story over a season. What was the difference in creating that and also what let you guys know that Jay Z will be the proper return topic?
Rosenberg: It like why overthink it. We’re trying to come up with the thing to do and what’s the perfect play? Jay-Z has never truly been explored in this way from this perspective. And then Ciph has his own history with him. And I mean, I have my own limited history with him too. It just seems like, isn’t this the perfect thing to do? Isn’t he the most important player ever?
Juan Ep, you know the nerd part of it – Jay Z is always the topic of discussion of how great is he and is he the dopest MC to ever do it? Is he the King of New York? How is it that he’s a billionaire? It’s all right there. Like we can pick apart each one of those things in one nerd style.
In the episodes, you got Mister Cee, Angie Martinez. A good amount of people who know Jay well but also have the synergy with you guys. When compiling all of these Jay-Z details, is there a story that has been your favorite?
Cipha Sounds: My favorite is the Clark [DJ Clark Kent] breaking down, I mean in detail to the minute, of how Jay-Z and Biggie met. Like that to me, that’s something I’ve always wanted to know and I’d be like, how will I ever, ever know that. There’s no way. Like, I don’t know where it was. I don’t know who was in the room and basically to find out not only was Clark Kent in the room but basically orchestrated it.
Rosenberg: He had to do like some sneaky shit to do it. Like had the whole thing orchestrated so he could get it done. Had Biggie waiting downstairs and brought him in. Like the whole thing was just awesome. I didn’t even realize that it was Clark Kent on that song. I knew we’d get a lot from Clark, but realizing how much he completely orchestrated “Brooklyn’s Finest” to the details of mixing it and being on it. I loved that.
I would say just the general stories from the beginning, the like very beginning. Hearing over and over again about Fresh Gordon and going to hiss house, The Shirt Kings, like finding out who these sorts of local players were, who ultimately, in the long run, we’re so responsible for Hov’s getting into the game. I love all those tidbits. It’s really important to know who all these little players were that led to what eventually happens.
For both of you who have many obligations, how did you balance realigning yourself again for this podcast and work on both the storytelling and making sure everything is perfect?
Cipha Sounds: That’s the thing about actually having partners. Now we have, you know, staff to help us organize that stuff cause we are not organized individuals when it comes to Juan Ep.
Rosenberg: It is really helpful. I definitely got to give props to Mass Appeal and Endeavor because they come together to give us our producer, having people in PR and people who helped schedule us. It makes it a lot easier. You know, in the end, we’ll probably have no money left. They’ll probably take all the guap.
Cipha Sounds: Yeah, we’re back to square one.
Rosenberg: Well basically be back to getting zero, but at least it was done in a way that was not annoying. Like it’s so, so much easier when you have people that are kind of able to guide. So I got to give all the props to Mass Appeal and Endeavor for that.
Are you already potting on what the next season would be about?
Cipha Sounds: That would be the smart move. Well, we haven’t had a discussion yet.
Rosenberg: But let’s talk right now. I think it should be Boss. You know, Boss from Michigan, she was on Def jam. Although by the way, here’s what’s so funny about Hip-Hop. I said that as a joke, but if I started really talking about Boss’s story, I’d be like, yo, let’s do a season. About people like that who kind of came out of nowhere had an impact and disappeared.
Cipha Sounds: I think the next, well I was gonna say, don’t quote me, but you’re literally quoting me on everything. I think the next season will be a little more open, not just about one particular person. Like the early 90s or Native Tongues, Rawkus Records, something a little more general cause this current way is difficult, especially about Jay-Z. Like first of all, people think we’re trying to talk bad about Jay-Z and they’re like nervous to talk to us and we’re like, no, we’re fans. We’re talking from the perspective of Hip-Hop. Is Jay-Z the greatest MC, the greatest lyricist, the greatest rapper besides who his wife is? Besides all the money, besides all the moves he made just in the scope of Hip-Hop. So it’s hard to get all that about one person. That’s why I would like to open it up. So there’s a lot of different ways we can do it, man. There’s a lot of people that need to have their story told.
Rosenberg: Yeah, like it would be fun. Something like Rawkus, which we’ve discussed where every episode you talk to a different player. That way you could have a 10 episode season with a different person on each one. Tell the story in a different way. So I love that we tried it this way with Jay-Z. I think he’s worthy of it. But I would say I agree. I think to attack a bigger, a wider canvas would be interesting over the next season.
Or you can happen to Boss, do an extreme breakdown of “Recipe of a Hoe.”
Rosenberg: I know I could at least I could do two episodes about that song: “You gotta, yep yeah, you gotta.”
You can get more information on Juan Ep and hear this season here.