Jeff and Eric Rosenthal have been keeping it real with their ItsTheReal hip-hop comedy sketches for the past few years, and after making countless rappers laugh with their hilarious antics, Jeff and Eric decided to take their careers to the next level with a brand new hilarious mixtape, Urbane Outfitters Vol. 1.
ItsTheReal step from in front of the camera and hit the booth to record a comedic hip-hop mixtape, which features guest appearances by Maino, Freeway, Lil Jon, and the legendary Bun B.
GlobalGrind caught up with Jeff and Eric to talk hip-hop, ballin’ on budgets, baby mamas, sensitive rappers, and of course their new mixtape.
Check out our exclusive interview with Jeff and Eric Rosenthal below!
GlobalGrind: What was the inspiration behind Urbane Outfitters mixtape? It’s super funny, and basically like a real mixtape, because you’re both actually rapping.
It’s the Real: It’s crazy because you have that other layer to it. We could’ve been like a lot of other people, and be like “Oh yeah! You know what, we’re going to be rappers now.” But we went into this, knowing that we wanted to make this a comedy record. So we’re taking what’s already been done with real mixtapes, and we want to give it a real feel. It was a lot on our part, in terms of thinking about not only making words rhyme, not only do I have to tell a story, but I also have to make it funny. It’s a big process.
To answer your question specifically, we did sketch videos for three and a half years, and at the end of our run doing those, we did a video taking Kanye’s side in the whole Kanye vs. Taylor Swift thing. It ended up being a rap video in the style of Puff Daddy “I’ll Be Missing You.” After we put that out, all these record executives were like, “Can we hear more?” And we were like, “Yeah! Sure, absolutely!” So we did that, and I think it’s just a natural progression from everything we’ve done in the past, and now we’re finally acting like rappers.
We’re on the inside now, where we can actually be friendly with rappers that it’s hard to sort of go after them in a roasting sense; poke them like we used to because now we know them. It’s a different relationship. So we thought, we can still go after these tropes that you find in hip-hop that are kind of ridiculous, and do it our way.
Brittany, some of these rappers are sensitive.
Are they really? I TOTALLY didn’t know rappers were sensitive.
We’re breaking news on GlobalGrind!
(Laughs) A lot of them are crybabies, but it’s very possible that you can be a fan and enjoy their music, but still make fun of them at the same damn time.
You guys have Maino, Lil Jon, Bun B, and Freeway featured on the mixtape. How did you convince them to participate and make these songs with you guys?
Well, we ran them down. We have huge arms….after like five and a half years of sort of kicking ourselves in the industry, we’ve gotten some very strong relationships. And there’s none stronger than ours with Bun who’s been a supporter since day one. He called us up about three months into us making videos, and was just like “First time, long time! When can I make a video with you guys?” And when Bun gives a co-sign for something, it’s like a green light for everyone else. That was the same with his mixtape too.
Bun is so smart and so funny, and he gets what the internet can do for an artist. I think he saw this as an opportunity to sort of show off a different side of him, and get in on the ground level. It wasn’t hard to convince any of these guys at all.
Maino showed up at our apartment at 3:00 on a Friday night, and we drove around for an hour in his Bentley, just listening to the music, and he was just slamming on the gas being like, “You motherf*ckas got it right!” There was a purpose behind each of the people we worked with. We wanted to make sure that not only did we work with people that we liked personally. But also, people that had a good sense of humor and could take what we wanted to express, and bring it to the next level.
We have Lil Jon on a song, and that’s just insane to us. And forever more, we have an acapella of him yelling, “It’s the real b*tch!”
Lil Jon is iconic on so many different levels…everybody loves Lil Jon.
We just like him as a fashion icon.
A fashion icon and a cup designer.
“Fun Employment” is my favorite track. Can you guys explain to me what is a typical day of balling on a budget for It’s the Real?
What is “balling on a budget” for us? We do have these brand new shirts that are Urban Outfitters shirts that say, “We The Best,” but it’s the French “Oui,” so it’s “Oui The Best.” I will say this: We take the train like a motherf*cker!
Do you have unlimited cards?
No. We jump over the turnstiles. We’re bosses when we’re underground. But the thing is, when we jump over turnstiles, we swipe first…we steal coupons like a motherf*cker. We have our own brand of water. It’s called, “New York City Half-Tap” water.
You guys are like certified gangstas forreal!
We’re going to bottle up that water, and sell it like Diddy.
Have you tried “Aqua Hydrate?”
I bet it’s like all other waters.
It kind of tastes like they may have put a little battery acid in it, to give it that alkaline taste.
Did you feel blessed when you drank it?
I did! I felt like I got sprayed with holy water. I ran like three miles after I drank it.
There you go!
I have a hard question for you guys. Which rapper’s BM (baby mama) would you let ride in your BM (BMW)?
First, we would have to get a BMW. I would say to answer your question because that’s what you want, how about Trina.
You know why?
Because she’s the baddest b*tch! We can’t have Keri Hilson ride with us. You know why?
Because we want to be friends with Beyoncé one day.
I really like “ItstheReal Gang” too. I was wondering if you guys were actually a REAL gang, what would your colors be, and what would your call be?
It would be all white…we could go to Diddy’s white party, and blend in. What would are call be? I feel like it would be banging bottles together. We actually had a listening party at “Daddy’s House.” And we were just like, “Maybe we could stay here forever!”
You guys have interviewed a ton of people. Some of your interviews are very hilarious, and the rappers get it. And some of them don’t know if they’re on planet Earth or not. Who’s the most awkward rapper you’ve ever interviewed?
Our interview with Das Racist was sort of crazy. They were doing a bit without us knowing. They were doing generic 106 & Park type answers, but all over one another.
There was a rapper who tried to punch us on camera. That was awkward. That really happened. The video never came out, thankfully. He certainly did not understand our sense of humor, which was crazy because his publicist was trying to reach out to us for three months saying, “We have to make this happen!” We thought he was a fan, and we started asking him questions and he wasn’t a fan!
He didn’t get it at all?
No, but what’s funny is that some people who have no idea who we are or know what our shtick is, totally get us. I’ll give you the best example of that: Stevie Wonder. This is a man who we’ve never met before, and his publicist had very little idea of who we are. We were the only people to get an interview with him down at Austin City Limits a few years ago – the only people – out of all the media outlets. He was with these two clowns. And his publicists when we were walking up to finally meet him, were like, “Can we read over the questions?” Normally, we wouldn’t. But we were like it’s Stevie Wonder: The king of all kings. So we’ll give you the questions ahead of time. We sang with him. It was the best. And we could finally explain to certain relatives what it is we do. Like Grandma doesn’t get Rick Ross, but grandma gets Stevie Wonder.
That’s funny! Do you guys remember the first hip-hop concert that you went to?
Jeff Rosenthal: Yes. My line-up was awesome. I went to a concert in Massachusetts with the Big Tymers, Nelly and the St. Lunatics, Lil Wayne, Fabolous and Amerie.
That was when? 2000?
Jeff Rosenthal: That was 2002. That may have not been my first concert. It sounds a little bit late, but that’s what I associate with being my first concert,
Eric Rosenthal: My first rap show was a Lord Tariq and Peter Gunz show. It was about eight songs too long.
Did you guys have a ghostwriter for this album, or did you guys write every last rhyme you spit?
We got Nas to write everything. We were like, “Who’s the funniest rapper we could think of?” And we thought of Nas. That’s right, run with that!
Did you guys write your rhymes down, or did you do them off the top?
We write everything down. The way we look at it is like the sketches that we’re sort of famous for online. It’s like that. We sit down, and commit to a theme. Like for “Unemployment,” we’re like what’s the best way to sort of express ourselves with this idea. And with “Girls of the Dirty South”…and with 16 bars or 12 as it were for certain ones, we want to put the best writing down as we can…And by the way, if you listen to a lot of my rhymes they’re about Kelis.
Did any of the rappers give you advice on cadences?
No. We didn’t really talk to any rappers about this. We sort of worked on this on our own, and went through with it. We did talk to Joe Budden in the middle of it, and he was like, “You guys are spitting harder than a lot of rappers out here.” So we were like we’re on the right track. We’re proud of how it sounds. We really want to stress that we wanted to go into this with it being just like a real mixtape. We wanted it to sound real. We wanted it to seem real. But we wanted it be with these two fools. People are walking this fine line between reality and ridiculousness. It’s not like Lonely Island and it’s not like Weird Al. It’s just something new and something different.
I wanted to get your opinions on the XXL Magazine cover that just came out. What do you guys think?
We love XXL, and the idea of them giving young emerging artists some shine. I think that the only thing that we’re upset about for this cover, in particular, is that we’re not on it.
Right. C’mon! They could’ve at least copy and pasted pictures of you guys like they did with Chief Keef.
That’s what we’re going to end up doing. We’re going to literally copy and paste ourselves on there. And we’re walk around like we’re actually on the cover of the magazine. I’ll pretend to be Logic, and Jeff will pretend to be Schoolboy Q.
If anybody asks why you weren’t on the original cover on the shoot, just let them know you were in jail during that time.
We got arrested for jumping turnstiles.
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