Kevin Hart Responds to Mike Epps with Raw Honesty and Defiance (Video)

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Shade 45’s Sway in the Morning show has become the home of some of the realest interviews in media. Many of the most poignant moments in an otherwise slew of mundane conversations, have come in the midst of discussions with the iconic Sway. His 2013 exchange with Kanye West sent reverberations through the Web for weeks and “you ain’t got the answers!” remains a favorite catchphrase. More recently, Damon Dash opened up about his relationships with Jay Z, Ye and others, and even managed to turn the tables and put Sway in the hot seat. However, one of the realest conversations in recent memory took place between Sway and Mike Epps, where the veteran comedian was openly critical of Kevin Hart.

Fast forward a month later, and Kevin Hart is Sway’s latest guest to sit down and have an incredibly candid conversation. The interview starts with jokes and pleasantries, as Sway compliments Hart on his successes over the past few years and Kevin goes into detail about his ability to sell out arenas multiple times over in the span of a day. The pair also discuss racism in Hollywood and Hart, while acknowledging it exists, opts to stand on his own merits and discuss the 19 years of grind-time he put in before having his breakthrough. He chooses to define his own discourse rather than add to the conversations about racism.

At about 17 minutes in, the talks turn to some of the criticism Hart has received of late from comedian Aries. Aries has spoken negatively about the fact that Hart has writers that help him in crafting his standup routines. Hart tackles the critique head on, saying that no one–Pryor, Murphy, Rock–has made it alone, and that every comedian on his level has gotten there with similar help. Hart suggests that the criticism may, in part, be from a lesser known comic who is trying to capitalize on someone with greater name-recognition.

At that point (22:00), Sway counters by going back to some very pointed comments Mike Epps made about Kevin last month. Along with accusing Hart’s writers of stealing the jokes of other comedians for him, Epps also said a number of times that Hart’s talent was eclipsed by his marketing skills. At this point, Kevin speaks for several minutes about his making it on the merits of his talent, the ignorance of someone criticizing him for marketing his own abilities, and suggests that Epps’ comments are a result of his own insecurities. He wishes Epps well and says he’d be willing to work with him in the future, including in Epps’ upcoming Richard Pryor biopic, but it is clear that Epps’ words have left a mark with Hart.

Sway and Kevin end the conversation acknowledging the support that Kevin has gotten from other comedians, such as Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock, Will Ferrell and Steve Martin. This interview is worth the full 36 minutes that it lasts.