Kevin “Mook” Davis, 33 years old, is a hip-hop historian and moderator of Baltimore’s stories. Every Thursday, Mook recounts an in-depth chain of events behind a specific moment in the genre on his Instagram stories while also dropping an episode of his “We Need Answers” podcast. “We Need Answers” is a honest retelling of Baltimore culture. Episodes are often conducted in a conversational interview between Mook and a guest who the episode’s topic is inspired by.
The West Baltimore native became a fan of podcasts while driving an hour to work for the nonprofit organization, Pride Youth Services, in Silver Spring every day in 2018. He cites “How I Built This,” “Drink Champs” and “The Combat Jack Show” as some of the primary inspirations for him to start his own podcast. “I just locked in with it, they started giving me ideas of what I wanted to talk about on mine. Once I get signs of the things that need to happen, I just make sure I do it cause I know it means something since I keep thinking about it,” he said.
One of his first episodes was a conversation with Ronald Barksdale, the brother of Nathan “Bodie” Barksdale, a loose inspiration for several characters in “The Wire.” The episode covered the depiction of Nathan in the series and contested its accuracy. Mook’s interview with Ronald sparked the beginning of the podcast’s “The Real Wire” series.
“Out of town people always ask us, ‘Is it really like ‘The Wire?’ so this was like my interpretation of the town from the people who really lived it,” Mook said. “I’m just giving the good, the bad and the ugly in all of it. It’s not a TV show, that’s fabricated. I call it ‘The Real Wire’ cause it’s the city of ‘The Wire,’ but this is the real deal.”
Arguably, the podcast’s preeminent episode is the heart-wrenching and sometimes-uncomfortable, “Substance Abuse.” The episode’s guests, Rodger “Heemie” Harvin and Darrin Johnson, each give candid firsthand takes on their former drug addiction and how they accomplished sobriety. “It was actually Darrin’s idea, he reached out to me after him and Heemie discussed it. I think Darrin wanted to talk about his growth cause he actually helps people with the same problem at the rehab he was a resident at.” Recounting the reception that the episode received, Mook recalled, “I was with these guys before the addiction so I know how it changed their lives and the people who checked out the episode were very happy with the progress from both of them.”
Mook has aspirations for “We Need Answers” to eventually grow into a corporate umbrella and to extend his audience far beyond just the area. “I want to show the world the real Baltimore and that we offer more than just negative news about drugs and violence,” he said. “It’s a ton of people who got interesting stories that I wanna bring to the forefront.”
“I like to give people a space to vent because people don’t often get the opportunity to say how they feel without people interrupting or stopping them cause you never know what’s going on with people,” he also said. “The confirmation that I’m doing the right thing is when these episodes help people, whether it’s just giving them a place to vent or them establishing connections with other people. You never know who going through same or similar issues.”