If you’ve been keeping up, you probably know Marisa Mendez as the former co-host for Joe Budden’s very popular podcast “I’ll Name this Podcast Later.” After a tumultuous summer 2016 that included being fired by text, yes, by text, journalist and Hot 97 blogger Mendez brushed the dirt off her shoulders and launched her own podcast “Marisa Explains It All.” A testament to her fan base, it’s just two episodes in and it’s already racked up a nice-sized following and top ranking on iTunes. Approachable and friendly, Mendez has girl-next-door appeal except low key she’s that female who boldly goes where most women don’t have the chutzpah to go and keeps you in stitches laughing about it when she retells the tale after.
Up until now, a lot of people other than just Mendez have been explaining and commenting on the events that led to the her launching her own podcast. We chatted with her by phone last night and got her unadulterated take on events.
Snobette: Congrats on the podcast ! Where does the name “Marisa Mendez Explains It All” come from? (Check out first two episodes below.)
Marisa: “Thank you so much. In the ‘90s, my fave TV show was ‘Clarissa Explains It All,’ and she was always colorful and creative and the actresses actual name was Melissa. I used the name with school projects and I had a section on Funk Flex’s website with the same name.”
Snobette: Beside the podcast your plate is pretty full, what are your hours at Hot 97?
Marisa: “I’m at Hot 97 from 7:00 AM to noon, and then I do [Funkmaster] Flex’s site from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, and I also work on Ebro [Darden]’s site and my site every day.”
Snobette: How did you come to be a writer?
Marisa: “I was always into writing. In elementary school I won awards, and part of that was I was always a big book reader. I went to school for marketing and management and that involves a lot of writing. Then I had my college internship at MetLife where I worked on their internal magazine. That’s where I was professionally trained on how to write copy.”
Snobette: When did you start writing for Flex?
Marisa: “I had interned for him and was visiting the station and he said he had started a site and asked me to work for him.”
Snobette: I want to say Flex’s site has good traffic.
“It’s huge. It’s a cool feeling knowing that. At that time, I was one of three writers and had a desk job during the day and was blogging during my day job and my weekend job.”
Snobette: How many people work on his site?
Marisa: “Now it’s a lot. I think at least ten, including interns.”
Snobette: You’re probably sick of the subject, but can we go back in time a little and sort out the whole thing with Joe Budden?
Marisa: “We can, no problem.”
Snobette: Okay great because I feel like pieces are missing from the story. Let’s start with when you met Joe Budden.
Marisa: “We have a mutual friend and in 2010 he was having a game night and we just hit it off and we followed each other on Twitter and we kept in touch that way only. And a year later he broke up with Esther Baxter. They had just got a place together so he was alone in this huge house and around that time, he Tweeted that he didn’t have any platonic friends to play games with. I Tweeted back, ‘I don’t want to have sex with you, but I’ll play board games with you.’ That was in March or April of 2011.”
Snobette: Wait, I assumed you were talking about electronic games.
Marisa: “He’s a Monopoly fanatic. I went over to his place and we hit it off. Around that time, I lost my day job because I was blogging too much for Flex. He raised my pay but not enough to make it work. I realized Joe needed help and asked him if he needed an assistant and he did. I was going to his house every day in NJ and at one point he said, ‘Why are you paying rent? Move in and live here.’ That was summer 2011.”
Snobette: Marisa you have the best stories!
Marisa: “Lol, I know!”
Snobette: I’ve noticed you definitely are willing to jump into situations most females would be scared of.
Marisa: “I realize it could hurt me one day, but I’m so impulsive so I just do it. My friends appreciate me for it, lol.”
Snobette: What’s your sign?
Snobette: And what’s Joe’s sign?
Snobette: It must be hard for him to be a Virgo because that sign is all about order and yet he seems to have this messy side. You know?
Marisa: “I would describe him as an intricate person.”
Snobette: So back to your summer in NJ at Joe’s house…
Marisa: “We become super close friends that summer. It was a crazy, awesome summer and the birth of Joe’s pool parties. It wasn’t like super rock star crazy parties, but a group of ten of us that gathered regularly.”
Snobette: Playing monopoly…
Marisa: “Yes, and playing music really loud and he had a beautiful patio and we drank and swam, but it had that feel like a fantasy world you know eventually has to end. And my help was needed less because he had more people around him to help him. The things he needed weren’t needed anymore, and I got a boyfriend and wanted to be with him and we decided mutually to part ways. I moved out in October .”
Snobette: When did you start “I’ll Name this Podcast Later”?
Marisa: “The conversation started last January 2015. He had tweeted that he wanted to start a podcast and I called him and he said, ‘I was about to call you. I think we should start this podcast together.’ And I was like, ‘I totally agree.’ And [Peter] Rosenberg had been wanting to start a hip hop podcast network so I spoke to him the next day.”
Snobette: Did Rosenberg have the network at the time?
Marisa: “No, he didn’t. He had his own podcast though. The first hip hop podcast ever, which he started in 2008, a long time ago.”
Snobette: So you speak to Rosenberg…
Marisa: “So then Rosenberg is like, ‘This is simple.’ His brother, Nick, is an entertainment lawyer, so he spoke to his brother and they made it happen. He set up the studio, iTunes and Soundcloud and we were good to go.”
Snobette: What was said during Rosenberg’s [July] podcast that led to the fateful “you’re fired” text from Joe?
Marisa: “It actually was on Hot 97. I still haven’t listened fully.”
Snobette: Why not?
Marisa: “I was so mad. I just knew there wasn’t anything Rosenberg could have said that could translate to me getting fired. I just assume he was making fun of Joe’s Drake diss songs again. I walked into work and Rosenberg said, ‘I dissed your boy again and added your name because he didn’t invite you to the joint podcast,’ and really I didn’t think that much of it.”
Snobette: Wait, what was the joint podcast? [Note: embedded below]
Marisa: “Right before that, Joe and Charlamagne did a collaborative podcast. Joe had dissed him on his podcast, saying he’s fake sometimes, and Charlamagne Tweeted him and suggested they talk it out on a podcast, that the fans would enjoy it.”
Snobette: I always say, I admire Charlamagne, but he’s very much a student of Wendy Williams.
Marisa: “I get that because I’m a student of Flex so I respect that.”
Snobette: Why was Rosenberg upset about the collaborative podcast?
Marisa: “In his Tweet back to Charlamagne, Joe said, ‘Cool, I’ll bring Rory and we’ll do it.’ Rory is someone who joined the podcast three months into it. I looked at that Tweet and the fact he didn’t mention me like, okay, maybe it’s about the beef between Hot 97 and the fact that Charlamagne works at Power 105. I got it, but at the same time, that beef is so crazy. Anyway, I go to work on Friday and Rosenberg mentioned the Tweets and I don’t think much about it. That Monday, Rosenberg goes on a rant, saying he’s mad at Joe for doing the podcast with Charlamagne and stabbing us in the back.”
Snobette: Do you think Rosenberg was upset Joe linked with Charlamagne?
Marisa: “Yea, he felt like it was a stab in the back on purpose. That was another layer on top of Joe moving out of Rosenberg’s network after he started the podcast. We started in February 2015 and by June or July of 2015, we went independent. We actually celebrated our year anniversary in February this year with a sold out show at SOB. A sold out show, just to hear us talk.”
Snobette: It was viewed as a very successful podcast.
Snobette: On August 13th, Joe appeared on Hot 97 and it seems from looking at the comments under the video, public perception was on his side. What happened behind the scenes that we didn’t see?
Marisa: “When we recorded that show, the fall out between us two had been a month prior in mid-July. After that Rosenberg interview aired, Joe texted me and wrote, ‘You’re fired.’ I was shocked and texted back, ‘What?’ He texted back again a few hours later, and said ‘you are fired.’”
Snobette: He used all three words.
Marisa: “Lol, yea, he spelled it out.”
Snobette: People in the comments say you guys ambushed him.
Marisa: “I would say Joe fans interpreted it that way. We had people who saw things from our point of view, too. Probably a week prior I was on Laura [Stylez]’s podcast. I hadn’t mentioned being fired at all and I was waiting for Joe to say something and I think he was doing the same. And Laura on her podcast asked if I had left. And she also mentioned I was starting my own podcast. Joe heard that and he went on his podcast and was like, ‘Me and Marisa have parted ways and we wish her luck and she’s always welcome here.’ He made it sound like I left on my own.
“The Hot97 interview was upsetting because Joe acted surprised and he knows on our show you always talk about your personal life. And Ebro and him personally had planned the interview. Furthermore, he knew I worked there so how can he say he didn’t know I was going to be there? I actually was scared to address it, and I didn’t know if he would be really mean. At first I told the guys they should leave me out of the conversation, but their argument was that you don’t do that to friends. I decided to take part because the last time someone spoke for me, I got fired. And I did nothing wrong, and looking back I don’t even know what I could do differently.”
Snobette: You mentioned his personality is “intricate.” Were there warning signs that something like this could happen?
Marisa: “Joe as a person has been crazy like that forever so I wasn’t shocked. I was hurt but not shocked. Even in recent months, my role on his podcast had diminished. In Charlamagne’s podcast, Joe said I wasn’t comfortable talking about Drake. The thing is, it got to the point we were talking about Drake every week and a podcast that had started out about lifestyle turned into one that was very hip hop. My interest was waning and the dynamic was shifting and that’s another reason I didn’t fight back. I was over the podcast anyway. It was time to go.”
Snobette: How does it feel to be in control of your own podcast universe?
Marisa: “It’s such a crazy feeling because I’ll come up with a person I wish I could interview and then realize it’s my show and I can interview whoever I want. Our show was No. 2 on iTunes, it’s insanity. It’s crazy and it feels so good. It’s my baby and I’m in the forefront.”
Snobette: So let’s switch topics and talk music. Do you have an all-time top five list?
Marisa: “I mean Lil’ Wayne is all time fave and then Eminen, who is the reason I got into hip hop, but my top five isn’t based just on lyricism.
Snobette: That’s okay.
Marisa: “My top picks are Lil’ Wayne, Eminem, Dipset and then Nicki. There’s four.”
Snobette: Oh good, I’m so glad you picked Nicki.
Marisa: “She’s amazing.”
Snobette: I just listened to your podcast, and I have to say I feel like you’re kind of tough on Meek. I feel like with Drake, there was no winning.
Marisa: “I was tough on him when it happened. He played himself and it ended crappy. I’m not a fan of kicking someone when they’re down though. Right now, I’m mad that Meek responded to Game because he just wants to bait him and get him in trouble. I just want him to enjoy himself and ride bikes in his mansion with his gorgeous bitch.”
Snobette: Fair enough, but in reality, can we say he’s impacted Drake’s legacy?
Marisa: “I would say that, yes, there will be that tarnish on his name that he may or may not write his lyrics. I think forever he will. As far as fucking up his money, not at all. The people who are into top 40 don’t care at all.”
Snobette: How do you feel about Drake and the debate around lyricism?
Marisa: “I think lyricism matters to a particular fan base. I enjoy Uzi and Lil Yachty, I like them and can also enjoy the fuck out of Kendrick and J. Cole so I don’t think it matters. I respect Lil Yachty’s craft. It’s as much of a talent to craft a song as it to write a lyric-filled song.”
Snobette: What do you make of Safaree’s claims he wrote for Nicki?
Marisa; “Ugh, it’s like he’s so corny to me, it makes me so mad. On the other hand, you stuck by this woman and she really just kicked you to the curb and got a new guy. I try to put myself in everyone’s shoes. Bur really, you’re a man, just man up and complain to your friends.”
Snobette: The “Love & Hip Hip” series has had an impact on the culture. Can you do the show and maintain your legitimacy?
Marisa: “Man, it’s such a good question. It’s like the show is a mockery of hip hop because of the fabricated story lines and exaggerated characters. Musically, it didn’t work well for Jim Jones. If you end up coming with a good song like Remy…., but in her case she didn’t make a clown of herself or do stupid story lines. Maybe you can do it if you play it safely and come out with an undeniable hit record. And then Cardi B has had success.
Snobette: But Cardi wasn’t a rapper going into the show. In her case I wonder if the show puts a ceiling on her success?
Marisa: “I thought she would have a ceiling, but I also thought her debut mixtape would suck and I was pleasantly surprised. She is what Nicki was eight, nine years ago. I think she can go far with music. She could make a career of it.”
Snobette: Where do you want to go with the podcast?
Marisa: “I really hope I can get to a point where I do live shoes and tour the world with it and make this my main thing. I want to do TV and hosting gigs. I hope it gets much bigger. And in that way “I’ll Name This Later” was a stepping stone.
Snobette: Could Joe be a guest?
Marisa: “I’m not there yet. I’m still bothered.”