Nowadays, everyone is their own media source. With an endless number of YouTube vlog channels, written blogs (guilty), and podcasts, it’s always difficult to determine what’s attention-worthy and what’s not. It’s especially difficult considering the majority of the pages that we follow are scripted and dramatically edited for the sake of views and page hits.
In the midst of our existing content overload, there’s still an undeniable allure to the four guys at the Pregame Podcast. Kylo Ri, DJ Lloyd Willin’, Deuce Touche’, and David Roughin are your typical black, Millennial, college-grad, frat brothers. Their conversations are no different from the ones that we’ve shared in our own GroupMe’s and kick-backs – painstakingly real and relatable.
And their interviews are no different! Interviewees are simply guest hosts, expected to share their own thoughts and ideas within the show’s predetermined segment topics, including news, entertainment, sports, and music. Guests have ranged from Soul Culture’s favorite vintage collector, Double A, to America’s favorite NFL star-turned-comedian, Pat McAfee.
It’s refreshing to hear our own voices broadcasted in mainstream media – The Pregame Podcast serves as a safe space by relaying the thoughts and ideas that we all seem to share with the outside world. Their ordinariness is what makes them extraordinary.
My chat with The Pregame was nothing short of its own podcast episode – in fact, we should’ve kept the audio on file! A healthy blend of hot takes, nostalgic anecdotes, and hilarious asides all from the comfort of a Purdue University pizza joint.
Join our conversation and #BlesstheBottle.
On the original creation of the Pregame Podcast and weekly recording.
Tell me the background story of how Pregame Podcast came to be.
DJ Lloyd Willin’: About two years ago, I started thinking about trying to do a podcast. I wondered what it’d be about and how it’d work. At the time, Snapchat had just started getting hot again. [Kylo] Ri was hilarious on Snap, like ridiculous! He was my frat brother so I already knew he was crazy. [David] Roughin was even crazier.
So you were just posting stupid, funny stuff?
Kylo Ri: Yeah, pretty much.
Lloyd Willin’: Full stories! Anything that had happened to them that day. It always had me dying. Then, me and Deuce [Touche] worked together creatively since I was like 19- or 20-years-old. We staged something called FNL with our frat where we made video skits about things that were happening around campus. I’ve always seen him as a big brother to me.
Deuce Touche: Sounds so cute when he says it out loud, man. [Laughs.]
Lloyd Willin’: Nah, real shit. I knew if we could bring all of them together, we could have something.
Deuce: Yeah, cause I wasn’t doing Snapchat. Snapchat scared me.
Lloyd Willin’: And if you think about it, these two [referencing Kylo Ri and David Roughin] bring the laughter to the show! They’re gonna make it. I have no doubts. That’s how smart they are with this shit. Some of their stuff even Dave Chappelle…. Oh wait, let me not gas it…
Ri: Yeah, cause you’re about to get crazy. He’s warming up too much.
Lloyd Willin’: Some of this stuff is professional wit! So, we had some meetings and set some things up to just got it going.
Deuce: We had a try-outs.
Lloyd Willin’: We definitely had a try-out.
What do you mean? So you four weren’t specifically chosen in the very beginning?
Lloyd Willin’: Well, there’s an original episode where Ri isn’t on it.
Ri: When he originally called me about the idea, I didn’t think anything of it. You know how your friends call you about something and you’re like “yeah, okay” but you don’t think they’re talking about shit? Then one day he called and told me we were recording the next day! Swear to God I only showed up because he lives across the street.
The first episode I was more so playing director and telling them when to chill and when to talk more. The other guy who was in it was Q, one of our engineers and our creative director. I love him to death but he couldn’t get his thoughts out…
Lloyd Willin’: He created all of the logos and graphics that we use.
Ri: So there’s a place for him, but behind the microphone? Absolutely not!
Lloyd Willin’: At first, I didn’t even want to be in it. I was trying to find a sub!
Deuce: Oh, we had to bring him back! He tried to leave at least 3 times.
Ri: 4 episodes in and he’s like “hey, I got somebody else coming in”. No! I’m not doing this without you.
And once you build charisma as a group collectively, it’s difficult to just bring somebody new in! Why’d you decide to do a podcast versus YouTube or anything else?
Deuce: We’re ugly.
Oh… faces for radio….
Ri: I’m cute!
Lloyd Willin’: The podcast was an easier way for us to share our unfiltered selves and build a following. And even from an equipment standpoint, it’s really easy for anybody.
Tell me about your set-up for recording.
Ri: We have an order, almost like a table of contents. But what we talk about during those segments could easily go anywhere. We can go from J. Cole’s last album sucked to what about that one time I let you borrow some money? What happened to it?
Deuce: It’s a balance – we try to have natural reactions, but we also don’t want to sound like jack asses. Sometimes with the news segment it’s best to have no idea what’s happening so we get the best reaction.
Lloyd Willin’: And it’s not just us pulling ideas, we have probably 8-10 people on the team.
I thought it was just the four podcast voices! Walk me through the lineup.
Lloyd Willin’: I pretty much organize everything for each week. I type up the script and edit the show. We record at my crib. Deuce does music and merchandise. Ri does sports.
Ri: We got our frat brother Jamel – he’s the think tank. He also does photography for us. Marc is his cousin and also our frat brother. He’s another think-tank guy. Q does our graphic design and a lot of ideas come from him. He’s also like our worker bee – he’ll make sure people have listened and will tell them why they should listen. Then we got Ryan who’s kind of a benefactor and the liaison who will ask us what we’re doing it and why we’re doing it certain ways. That’s the whole team.
That’s a lot of people… especially outside of those who are recording. Are all of them necessary to keep the gears moving?
Lloyd Willin’: Oh, everybody’s important. Most definitely.
Ri: Yes, we need them all. Every single one of them. It’s important to get an outside opinion of how we’re doing. Earlier on, none of us liked the news segment – it was so boring, like listening to CNN for 20 minutes of the podcast.
Deuce: It was about random shit happening in France.
Ri: Our whole team came together with their opinions and we revamped it. Now, I feel like the news segment is one of the best segments because we get to hear stories about people who were hiding people basements and stuff!
Are you ever afraid to cover something?
Ri: Past women.
Everyone: Yeah, we don’t do that.
Lloyd Willin’: Anything derogatory we try to stay away from… generally.
Ri: But only the ones that’ll really turn people off.
But you still say things that could potentially turn someone off if their views are strong enough. Like the episode where you talked about the Dreamers… definitely problematic.
But people still stick around…
Ri: I mean i’m not ignorant to the fact that people probably skip through parts they don’t like. That’s cool!
Lloyd Willin’: I know people that have gotten very upset after hearing some things and they won’t come back and listen.
Deuce: Yeah, there’s a couple people.
Ri: You’re not gonna get everybody. Some people aren’t podcast people – they won’t make it through the entire hour and a half.
But you’re okay with turning those people away?
Ri: Yeah! Whether they’re close or not close, I can’t make them sit down and listen to my podcast. I can’t say whether I’d listen to our own podcast!
Deuce: He doesn’t.
Do you all ever disagree on how the show will go or how things should perform?
Ri: There was that time on the Fourth of July…
Roughin: So I had plans with my girl to go to Chicago to see the fireworks for the Fourth of July. Plans fell through for everyone else so they wanted to record on the holiday.
Deuce: Backstory – we don’t miss a recording. Ever. We’ve recorded at 3 in the morning, 5 in the morning.
Roughin: They wanted to record on the Fourth but I didn’t want to flake on these plans. In my mind, if we recorded on Wednesday, it’d be alright. If we release the show one day late and people stop listening, they weren’t really messing with us anyway! We got into it. Little, small, people get into it – you know how it goes.
Anyways, we recorded on the Fourth of July.
Ri: At the time, I thought they were being insensitive to his request. I got mad – we all argued.
Roughin: Cause at that time I’d never asked to switch up the time or the day.
Deuce: He wanted his one. I struggle with empathy. I couldn’t see it.
But it sounds like you’re more than friends. You recognize that this is a business too and you’re partners in a sense.
Ri: I think we’re able to navigate business and friendship. We hold each other accountable. In any situation – we can tell each other when we’re wrong or if we didn’t do something right. Some people can’t take criticism but we don’t have that so we’re able to do it.
Roughin: Yeah, but that pissed me off.
He’s still thinking about it… Sorry for bringing it up…
Hot Take: The Pregame Podcast Owes Its Success to Lebron James
Ri: Can I just say something? They’re gonna be pissed. We owe a lot of our success to Lebron James.
[Everyone else is visibly annoyed.]
Ri: Hold on guys, I’m serious! When we started and we were just finding ourselves, the Cavs were down 3-1. When they came back and we were able to argue on the show the way that we did, the show leveled up! We built a conversation that people were like, “hold up, these dudes are really crazy.”
Lloyd Willin’: You know what I think was the point, though? When I knew we had something? The phone episode.
Ri: Yeah, that’s when people said they had to listen every week. But we kept them early with our over the top arguing.
The Big Michael Smith from ESPN Interview (and other Features, but mostly Michael Smith)
Lloyd Willin’: He followed us and then left us a comment asking what the hashtag was about. Once he followed us, we went into his DMs. The first time we sent him this long ass message so he didn’t respond.
Roughin: All kinda typos…
Deuce: We were hurt.
Lloyd Willin’: Aw man, we won’t even comment on that… [Laughs]
Who sent it?
Deuce & Roughin: Not me!
Ri: All me and Roughin do is talk so I knew I wasn’t in trouble.
Lloyd Willin’: So, back in October he randomly hits us up again and asks, “when are we doing this?” We hit him back and we still didn’t get a response.
Ri: To be fair, we had a really loyal listener who hit him up in his comments like, “When are you going on the Pregame?” And he hit us with the “oh I’m waiting on y’all!” Oh, really?! [Adjusts hat.] We’re on the way bud!
Deuce: When he said that he was waiting on us, we got back in the DMs and got his email.
So you flew out to him?
Deuce: We thought he was in LA but he was actually in Bristol, Connecticut… I was excited for a trip to Hollywood and ended up in Bristol.
Lloyd Willin’: We got a van and drove 12 hours with the whole team.
Ri: So, literally, the Internet is a powerful tool! If you saw Michael Jackson in the 90s you’d run and tell everyone that you saw MJ but nobody would believe you. If I see him now, I’m going Live. Look at the shit behind me – Michael Jackson. It’s just different! I couldn’t get that interview with anybody in 1995 because I would have to literally meet him in person and say, “Hey, would you like to come on my podcast? What’s your number? I got a pen right here.” Now I can dive in a comment and be like “what’s up!” and he feels comfortable enough to reply back!
I love that in your interviews you make your guest “one of the guys.” It’s a natural conversation and not an awkward back and forth.
Ri: People come in looking for questions and we’re like “oh, no you’re on the show!” Eventually they get comfortable.
Roughin: And some people don’t get as comfortable….
Deuce: That’s why it’s important for the interview to be in person because over the phone you don’t get the natural conversation. You have delays and it’s just wack.
Ri: To Michael Smith’s credit, he suggested that we figure that part out. Everybody won’t be able to meet us face-to-face. If we can get somebody like Issa Rae on the show, best believe we’re going to find whatever software is necessary to get Issa Rae on the phone and get the interview running.
Who’s next on the interview lineup?
Deuce: We can’t speak to that.
Okay, well if you could interview anybody, who would it be?
Ri: I want Issa Rae.
Lloyd Willin’: Issa would be awesome.
And her conversation would be dope.
Lloyd Willin’: Hip-hop legends!
Roughin: J. Cole!
Lloyd Willin’: J. Cole, Kanye West
J. Cole is so boring I’d for sure fall asleep in the middle of that episode.
Roughin: You’re so disrespectful.
Deuce: I’ll keep it blunt – they were listening to J. Cole on the road and I was terrified. I really wondered if we’d make it.
Roughin: Man, nah he really has some good songs.
But, what’s his conversation going to be like?
Ri: Very political and militant.
Roughin: But, I’m going to ask him why that last album was garbage. I love J. Cole, he’s my favorite rapper, but I’m going to ask him what was up with that. I would like us to have someone big but I wouldn’t want it to be someone that we’d shy away from asking the tough questions.
Lebron – why are you always flopping?
Ri: Jamie Foxx would definitely get up from the table.
Roughin: Are you sure you really love Katie Holmes?
Ri: Yeah, he’s gone and we can’t even put the episode out. He would trash us.
So your scope is pretty broad – you’re not limiting yourself to featuring people here locally?
Deuce: Well our listeners aren’t just here.
Ri: This is where our network comes in handy. We have a lot of frat brothers that are scattered out now. They can suggest the podcast to friends where they live. So we have listeners in Texas, New York, California, everywhere. It’s all circumstance and luck.
What’s your real backgrounds? Like the hustle outside of this?
Roughin: I’m a slave.
Got it. Cool.
A Female Cast Member?
Have you had women featured on the show before?
Deuce: One of my friends from back in the day has a clothing line called Black Proverbs. We had Kelly who is a mover-and-shaker in Nap – she came through.
Roughin: From Nap with Love girls.
Lloyd Willin’: Felicia came through. We had somebody that did oils and naturals.
Ri: We have a lot of women listeners so there was a time where we were looking to add a fifth female cast member. We just decided to have female guests.
Deuce: We don’t have a female that we’re this close with. And then we’d have problems at home – I’m not going for it.
Ri: If we did that we’d need somebody that everybody’s girl is cool with. Or openly married with kid 3. Takes time out of recording to pump – like, on a fresh baby.
Deuce: Stains on her shirt. For real.
Roughin: Where’s the fun in that?
Pregame Podcast: Funny As Hell.
Let’s go around the table and each of you use 3 words to describe Pregame Podcast to someone who’s never listened.
Ri: Consistent, funny, aggressive.
Agressive is a good one.
Deuce: Funny as hell.
Lloyd Willin’: Hilarious, informative, necessary.
Why’s it necessary?
Lloyd Willin’: If you’re an urban millennial, you’ll get something out of the Pregame Podcast. No matter what you do, we’re all dealing with the majority culture. You know how it is.
Lloyd Willin’: We provide you with an outlet that you can enjoy. Your thoughts come to life. And if you don’t agree, we always encourage you to tell us why you don’t agree. It’s always going to be different every single time – we’re bringing new material every week.
Deuce: I thought she asked for three words?
Roughin: For me: entertaining, exciting, hilarious.
Everybody’s common theme was funny.
Deuce: Yeah, that’s the general goal.
Ri: I feel confident saying we’re funny because that’s what people always tell us.
Deuce: If you don’t laugh in the first 10 minutes you can come fight Kylo Ri.
End of interview.
If you’re not already a Pregame Podcast listener, it’s clear that you should be. The pure blend of unfiltered authenticity, humor, and genuine friendship is unmatched by any other podcast or video channel. What’s more, their ability to organically connect with those that they interview – whether big or small – reflects the group’s potential as media superstars. The likes of The Breakfast Club and Desus and Mero are being developed right at home in Indianapolis, Indiana.