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The Lupe & Royce Show Is Podcasting At Its Finest

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Microphone in radio station broadcasting studio.

Microphone in broadcasting studio

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The accessibility & on-demand nature of digital podcasting has led to an unpredictable level of interest in the past decade: both from listeners & content creators alike. The rise in the sheer number of new podcasts, spurred on by a low barrier to entry and widespread availability of creator tools, has resulted in a crowded marketplace of options spanning every genre, sub-topic, and area of interest. Celebrities, experts, and other public interest figures—including those who shy away from engaging with traditional media outlets— are turning to podcasting as a direct channel to engage with their fan base. Every so often, one podcast bubbles to the surface that separates itself from the competition. In this case, it happens to be The Lupe & Royce Show, a casual, conversational style podcast that features two high-caliber lyricists as co-hosts: Lupe Fiasco & Royce Da 5’9”.

Amid extreme polarization in both culture and politics, the show demonstrates what dialogue can be in its best form: a no-regrets expression of ideas combined with the occasional disagreement—all built on a foundation of mutual respect. Lupe Fiasco, the quick-witted Chicago MC, moves the conversation forward by blending humor with a raw, analytical approach that is uniquely his own. Royce Da 5’9”, the sharp Detroit-born artist, provides the human-element by representing the voices, opinions, and criticisms of the people. When the conversation veers off course, the self-described ‘regular dude’ on the show—Tom Frank—steps in and mediates the discussion. The conversation ranges from the lighthearted (e.g., stealing doors) to severe (e.g., police brutality) to highly controversial (e.g., voting).

Through it all, the listener is forced to consider opposing and unpopular views through their favorite rapper’s perspective. Within each episode, one moment, you could be empathizing with Lupe; the next, you’re on Royce’s side of the debate. It’s gritty, unfiltered, and doesn’t feel as ‘commercial’ as other ad-supported podcasts with content buried under long-stretches of audio promo. While it will take time to hit their stride, build audio chemistry, and smooth out the edges, the show serves as a useful window into the minds of two of hip-hop’s most talented.

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