One year ago today, Hurricane Sandy forced Hot 97’s program manager Ebro Darden to step out of the production booth and pick up the microphone–and into a new role as an on-air personality. Since that time, has done everything from handle beef between Nicki Minaj and Hot97 jocks Peter Rosenberg and Funkmaster Flex–to talk legendary Old School At Noon DJ Mister Cee through multiple sex scandals. Live. On the air. Along the way he’s become the official-unofficial 3rd man on Cipha Sounds & Rosenberg’s Morning Show and firmly established himself as the adult in the room (most commonly referred to as “Old Man Ebro”) at the nation’s foremost hip-hop radio station, the uncrowned king of the genre in the market “where hip-hop lives.”
In this hour-long interview with Okayplayer Editor Eddie STATS (that’s me) Ebro held forth on all this and more, giving us a behind-the-scenes chronology of the events that lead to Mister Cee’s on-air resignation and the Ebro-vention the following morning that allowed him to return to the air; a landmark moment in the history of hiphop–and one of the most riveting pieces of unscripted radio you are ever likely to listen to. He also didn’t shy away from the larger conversation that Cee’s very personal stand demands from the rest of us, addressing the changing climate of sexual politics in hip-hop–and fielding the tough questions that come with it–with a combination of fuck-you honesty and an unerring moral compass that has become the Ebro trademark. We also parsed his view on public clashes–from Nicki vs. Flex to Kanye vs. Kimmel–in rap, and the musical direction of Hot97 and hip-hop itself in this #NewRules order. Stream or download below to get a good long listen to the man who’s become the voice of hip-hop radio (and stay tuned for select clips of the more amen-worthy parts of this videotaped convo to come).