Name: Eric Rosenthal and Jeff Rosenthal, collectively known as ItsTheReal
Born & Raised: Harrison, NY, about a half hour north of NYC
Current Residence: South Harlem
What’s your astrological sign and is what they say true?
Eric: Sagittarius. I’m not really into astrology, but the internet says that us Sags are frank, courageous, optimistic and impatient. All true, though I more consider myself a SagiTerius Nash AKA The-Dream.
Jeff: I’m a Leo, and yes, what they say is true: I have bad vision.
Explain your featured look:
Eric: I love the ’90s style. The Nautica jacket, especially. It pops in this monochromatic time we’re living in, it’s baggy, which is coming back, and I wish I’d been gifted that piece for my birthday. #SagSZN
Jeff: I went very normcore for my 90s look; denim and burgundy. I’m so 90s, I look like a Zima.
What are you known for/as?:
Eric: I’d say we’re known for our hustle, our stick-to-it-iveness, our wit, and generally staying ahead of the curve. I’m proud that we’re our own bosses, that we never sold out, and that we still enjoy what we do, almost a decade into our careers.
Jeff: We’re known for our looks.
Before I move forward, I have to thank you for tweeting that Gloesha meme. That inspired this whole thing. Thank you.
Jeff: Of course! There is honestly nothing I love more than making dumb jokes, like changing Michelle Kwan’s Wikipedia page to Michelle “Rich Homie” Kwan. If I can bring the world joy by putting Chief Keef into an episode of Moesha, then it was all worth it!
We can’t find it online, but you guys had your own online series with MTV. How did that come out? Also that A$AP Mob interview with Yams is legendary.
Eric: Thank you! We were approached by an old colleague of Jeff’s, who asked if we’d be interested in interviews. Since neither one of us considers ourselves journalists, we chose to jump in with our own style — AKA the questions that had no answers, the fun and unique approach that endeared us to folks so used to the same questions over and over – and felt that the worst that could happen would be MTV not airing it. Luckily, MTV, the artists, the publicists, and most importantly we, enjoyed it.
Jeff: About that interview, we were only supposed to interview Rocky at first — but he asked specifically that Yams and Twelvyy could join him. They walked in at noon, drunk off wine, and the first thing Yams said to us was that he loved the video we did with Max B, where we played Scrabble with him. And we quickly fell in love with the kid: he called himself the Puerto Rican R. Kelly and held on to Rocky every time he laughed. Throughout the years, we’d text back and forth; there was one conversation in particular where – for its entirety – he sent pictures of Ja Rule and it somehow made sense. So we were lucky that Rocky asked to include him; otherwise I don’t think we would’ve had the friendship we ended up having.
How would you describe your style of Hip-Hop sketch comedy?
Eric: Definitely loving of the genre and culture, with elements of the Jewish roasting tradition. We’re respected because we’re knowledgeable, funny, unique and live this life.
Jeff: And, again, because of our looks.
What was your favorite song recorded thus far?
Eric: I love them all in their own way, but “Dave Matthews Bands” might be the most daring because we chose to have an extended saxophone solo instead of a feature on our street single!
Jeff: Maybe “Girls with the Dirty Souths,” with Bun B, because Bun has told us repeatedly that the song – an ode to women who keep it…au naturale – is going to kill his career.
What was it like performing with Bun B.?:
Eric: Bun flew up to NYC in Sept. 2015 to be a part of our YOLONO Tour (You Only Live One Night Only), rapped with us on our song, “Girls with the Dirty Souths,” and let us rap with him on “International Player’s Anthem.” After that, you couldn’t tell me nothing. One of the best experiences of my life.
Jeff: I still don’t believe it.
Highlight career moment:
Eric: I was Kanye West’s personal videographer during his first Grammy Week, in February 2005. I was with him 24/7 for a week straight, from when he launched G.O.O.D. Music, to fittings, to speeches, to after-parties. To be with my musical hero, the biggest artist, during his biggest week? Life-changing. After Ye’s Grammy’s after party, I went back to my hotel, rode up a glass elevator that overlooked Los Angeles, and alone at 5am, put my camera down and threw up the Roc to the whole city.
Jeff: Hm. There’s been a lot of weird and amazing moments over the years. I mean, we went to Austin City Limits and were the only ones – out of everyone – to get an interview with Stevie Wonder. It was like meeting the president, the amount of security we had to go through. And he laughed at everything we said, and sang with us. He talked about writing a song for Drake and there was a story about Willow Smith. What sucks is MTV never got to put the video out because of a rights issue.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next 10 years?
Eric: I hope to be just as energetic and enthusiastic about hip-hop, comedy, and everything ItsTheReal brings to the table. Also, I hope that Nautica jacket is still poppin and that I own one.
Jeff: Trump just got elected. I just hope we’re all still here and not underwater.
What’s a rare fact or talent about you?:
Eric: I was featured in Sports Illustrated Kids for painting giant logos of all Major League Baseball teams around my parents’ basement when I was in middle school.
Jeff: I once did the Harlem Shake on TRL and hope no one ever finds the tape.
What’s a song and lyric to describe your glow?:
Eric: This is from our song “Funemployment,” which was on our first mixtape, Urbane Outfitters, Vol. 1.
“Lifestyles of has-beens, and never-will-bes
I might not be rich, but I’m filthy
Strutting like I showered, don’t be mad at me
I hit the grocery store, doors open automatically”
Jeff: Lil Wayne saying, “I walk around the club, fuck everybody,” because it can be read as “I walk around the club, fuck everybody” or “I walk around the club and fuck everybody.”
MUA: Raisa Flowers
Hair: Kessia Randolph
Style Consultant: Jordan Page
Design: Robert Gallardo
Creative Director: SHABAZZ