Rolling Out

Elliott Wilson of ‘Rap Radar’ says this trait makes Jay-Z a great person

The journalist with ties to Jay-Z has advice for up-and-comers in the industry

Elliott Wilson is one-half of “Rap Radar,” the hip-hop podcast that brings in the culture’s biggest names. Over the the years, the show has welcomed guests like Jay-Z, Will Smith and Drake, among others. It’s the only American long-form podcast Drake has appeared on.

At the 2022 Made in America festival in Philadelphia, Wilson spoke to rolling out about what makes Jay-Z special, and the advice he would give to up-and-coming podcasters.

How does it feel to be at Made in America?

It’s lovely, I love it. My wife sent me a picture of me being here 10 years ago, and I didn’t realize that was the first one. Ten years strong, Made in America is special, man. Shout-out [to] Hov, shout-out [to] Dez, shout-out to the whole Roc Nation team, man. [It was] special.

What makes Jay-Z special as a person, beyond his artistry?

Drake had that line of “lead the league in scoring, but look at my assists.” I feel that way about Jay. Hov’s actually great, but also extended the great[ness] of others, like that last verse on Khaled’s [new song and] album [God Did]. … To be great, you’re not only lifting yourself up, but you touch other lives. You enhance people, you build up others. It’s not about just you. …We are the culture, we can create our own platforms, have our own festivals. We don’t need that validation, per se. We can build our own platform, and now you see we got Bad Bunny [performing] tonight. He’s the biggest artist in the world right now and he’s headlining Made in America, so stay focused.

What advice do you have for people who are trying to build an audience for their podcasts?

Figure out your lane. I think the great thing about podcasting right now is that what Joe does, what Nore does, what Gillie and Wallo do, what Rap Radar does, what Rory & Mal do, it’s all different and distinctive. That’s how you have to figure it out. How am I going to be a different voice in this culture? I know what these people do, what’s different? We need more women’s voices, we need other regions’ perspectives on what’s going on in the culture. We need more things, not even just about solely hip-hop, R&B music and other parts of the culture. World music as the world shifts, so figure out the lane that’s not being done and tap into that.

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