Cipha Sounds and Peter Rosenberg are both encyclopaedic vats of hip hop knowledge. Juan Epstein - named after the Puerto Rican and Jewish characters from the popular ‘70s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter (Cipha Sounds is Puerto Rican, Peter Rosenberg is Jewish, get it?) - started out in late 2007 as a public forum for the twosome's developing relationship. As Rosenberg described it in his first Juan Epstein post on his website, “It’s simply Cipha and I bullshitting on a variety of topics.” They’d bond over their love of hip-hop and comedy, discuss their personal lives, and of course, bicker about working together at Hot 97.
Eventually Ciph and Rosenberg began to invite guests on to the Juan Epstein podcast, ranging from hip-hop stars to comedians to co-workers to at times even interns at the station. And slowly but surely, it became one of the premiere podcasts for hip-hop heads, featuring in-depth, off the cuff interviews with everyone from Jay Z to MCA of the Beastie Boys (RIP) through to guests like Questlove. And don’t sleep on their comedy guests, too. Personalities like Bill Burr, Jim Gaffigan, Paul Mooney, and Keenan Ivory Wayans have all waxed lyrical about the nerdiest nooks and crannies of the culture.
Head and shoulders above any other hip-hop based podcast, Juan Epstein has securely etched itself into the genre's tapestry. The grind refuses to slow, however and with an episode featuring Marley Marl on its way, we're preparing to stream the whole thing.