Why are we talking about King Mez—who?—on SLAMonline? Why are we talking about a rapper you’ve probably never heard of on a basketball/culture/sneaker website?
Well, the simple answer is, because King Mez is connected to the basketball and the sneaker game in more ways than one.
Born Morris Wayne Ricks II, in Raleigh, NC, Mez grew up a neighborhood away from John Wall, who was then just a short, braided kid who had a knack for basketball and a nose for trouble. Mez and Wall used to play ball often and went to school together until Wall transferred out in high school. They remain friendly to this day. And though Mez never got anywhere near as good as Wall, that doesn’t stop him from spitting about ball in his rhymes.
Yeah, Mez has some basketball stories to tell—and we provided him with a forum to tell them. For now, though, we’ll start with a sneaker story.
One time, while shopping at a sporting good store, Mez’s father offered him an expensive pitching machine (he was into baseball at the time) or a pair of Jordan XIIs. Ever the burgeoning sneakerhead, Mez opted for the XIIs.
Another story: Back in his early teenage years, when rhyming was still just a hobby, Mez held down his very first job on a parks and rec maintenance crew in Raleigh. When he asked his mom what he should do with the money he earned, she told him it was his to spend as he pleased. So, like the young sneakerhead he was, Mez copped 30 pairs of fresh shoes for the new school year.
A final sneaker story: A few years back, shortly before deciding that rapping was the only route for him, Mez needed a piece of recording equipment to jumpstart his career. Unfortunately, he couldn’t afford it. But, with the help of his roommate, he came up with a plan. When the Nike Air Yeezy 1s dropped, Mez copped a coveted pair…and flipped them to pay for the equipment. The rest is hip-hop history.
This past week, on the eve of the release of his new, free album My Everlasting Zeal, we had the chance to talk about ball, Wall, Jordans, sneakers and more with King Mez.
At the top of this post is the first of three videos we recorded with him. In it Mez details how he got his start in the shoe game, and tells over the great story about how the Yeezy 1s made his career possible.
Be sure to check back soon for part two of our conversation with King Mez.