Nardwuar the Human Serviette looks like a cartoon character or at least a college student playing one. But he’s actually 51-year-old John Ruskin, a Canadian garage-band keyboardist whose YouTube interviews are the talk of the town. That’s because he consistently delivers heavily researched interviews that regularly throw his guests off. And he’s interviewed all of your favorite music legends since the 1980s.
Ruskin is a guerilla journalist whose indie channel deserves support from the community. But it wasn’t until he hooked up with the hip-hop community that he really started to gain appreciation. The streets always respect game, and his gifts and knowledge make him an entertaining YouTube channel to watch. Check out these 20 rappers whose respect Narwuar earned over the course of his career.
1. Nardwuar vs The Roots
Questlove and Black Thought of The Roots come back for a fourth round after being straight up surprised with gifts three times already. As always, they’re bringing deep stories of strong men involved in activism.
2. Nardwuar vs Vic Mensa
Chicago hip-hop and punk rocker Vic Mensa discusses how Narduar became a line in his song “Tweakin'” with Chance the Rapper. He rhymes his name with smart car and explains his knowledge of underground rap, activism, and not appreciating Louis Farrakhan never giving out candy on Halloween.
3. Nardwuar vs DaBaby
DaBaby is the hottest gangster in the game for 2019, and he keeps thuggin in the required monotone voice while totally digging the insanity of Nardwuar. He’s a complete gentleman, and there are some legit, mask-wearing guys with him while he’s waxing poetic on Carolina rap and soul food. His freeze at the end is worth it all.
4. Nardwuar vs Logic
Bobby Tarantino’s second interview with Nardwuar showcases his massive team behind the scenes, showing how much of a team effort everything is. For this, they get a J-Dilla turntable and an Evaporators record (Nardwuar’s band) before shocking him with a Rockville Football League reference.
5. Nardwuar vs Kendrick Lamar
Nardwuar kicks the interview off making K-Dot thank Tech N9ne for introducing him to Dr. Dre, which instantly impresses him. From that point, he’s all in, especially when given a World Class Wreckin Cru record.
6. Nardwuar vs Post Malone
Post Malone is so much more down-to-earth than he looks (which everyone says). Nardwuar digs deep into obscure music references to keep Malone on his toes.
7. Nardwuar vs Cardi B
Perhaps my favorite part of this interview is the beginning, where Cardi is obviously already freaked out by Nardwuar, then follows up with bird calls. He gets her to open up, despite her confusion.
8. N.A.R.D. vs N.E.R.D.
Pharrell and Shay of N.E.R.D. are at the top of their game back in 2008 and trying to figure this crazy man out. At first, they’re closed off, but once he proves his knowledge with references to Carl Sagan, Mork, and Wreckx-n-Effect’s “Rumpshaker,” they’re fully on board, with Pharrell calling it one of the most impressive interviews of his life.
9. Nardwuar vs Blueface
Blueface doesn’t know what he’s about to face with Nardwuar, and he’s able to keep up with his constant catchphrase dropping. His first swag is a Blueface wallet, and he stays hitting his bottle and blunt throughout the stage show and interview. He gives him several records, but Blue has no idea how those are supposed to work.
10. Nardwuar vs Drake
Champagne Papi is one of the smoothest players in the game, and his back-and-forth with Nardwuar during this interview is great. It starts with a Little Brother and Big L record before moving to rapper trading cards, one of which is Kid Rock.
11. Nardwuar vs Brother Ali
Nardwuar showcases his knowledge of blaxploitation films in this second interview with the rapper who named a song after the interviewer.
12. Nardwuar vs A$AP Rocky
The A$AP crew is all in the house, and Nardwuar knows who they are, bringing up the tattoo shop they used to hang out at, Ferg’s past as a jeweler, and Rocky’s love of women and women rappers.
13. Nardwuar vs Action Bronson
Action Bronson kicks things off with an admission he wants to have sex with the ladies of 702. Then he’s given a Kool G Rap puzzle and just goes in on hip-hop history. By the end, Bronson has his sunglasses off and is much more accepting of the insanity.
14. Nardwuar vs Mac Miller
The late, great Mac Miller is happy and excited at this point in his career. You especially see him discussing the Shadow Lounge and Supernatural, a legendary freestyle rapper. It’s great to see him looking genuinely happy. His growing excitement about the questions really highlights the greatness of this interview style.
15. Nardwuar vs Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg is a frequent guest on Nardwuar’s show, but this early show from 2000 shows how cool he’s always been. It kicks off with some gin and juice before diving into Snoop’s influences. He’s given a ton of dolls that fail to impress him, but Snoop stays with his swag.
16. Nardwuar vs Jay-Z
Because Nardwuar impressed Pharrell so much, he was recommended to Jay-Z, who was practically giddy to meet. Hov is prepared to dive into some philosophical subjects, and he’s not even phased being presented with one of his first record appearances and other memorabilia.
17. Nardwuar vs Migos
Nardwuar jumps in on Migos, name-dropping Matty B and keeping each of them wondering what’s happening. Offset picks it up quicker than Quavo and Takeoff, but once he’s in, he takes off.
18. Nardwuar vs Kid Cudi
Kid Cudi plays along for a little over 5 minutes before it becomes obvious he’s trying to get out of the interview. Nardwuar is a pro interviewer who keeps him engaged with a record of his uncle that gets Cudi talking more. It’s a good example of musicians who are disengaged with interviews. He’s obviously annoyed and cuts out as fast as possible.
19. Nardwuar vs E-40
E-40 goes in on some Northern Cali, Bay Area stuff, from the MC Hammer days all the way to the present. He’s a consummate professional who has some great stories of the game.
20. Nardwaur vs Lil Wayne
Lil Wayne is excited to be presented with a rolling paper version of a record. He’s old enough to understand what those are, and even who Steve Nash is, discussing their mutual lap dances from Nicki Minaj. Lil Wayne is a down-to-earth guy who really shines in this interview.