by Maurice Bobb / @reesereport
“Texas Muthaf**ka that’s where I’m from!”
“We didn’t get paid for this show. We doin’ this for y’all,” offered the diamond-grilled rapper Paul Wall, to a packed house at La Rosa Zona on the first night of the annual SXSW Music Festival, where thousands of live-music lovers descend on Austin, Texas for a smorgasbord of performances by signed and unsigned artists.
The People’s Champ recently reunited with his former friend and group mate, Chamillionaire (check out his hilarious YouTube vid of the first time he met Michael Jordan), and performed for the first time together since their heated breakup in 2004.
“The crazy thing about performing here together tonight is that we were both here three years ago, separately, and walked by each other and didn’t even acknowledge each other,” Cham said. “And now we starting off our tour here together, it’s crazy.”
The Texas-bred duo, headliners for the “Best in Texas” showcase, publicly apologized to their fans before their hour-long set filled with anthems like, “Ridin’ Diry,” “Sittin’ Sideways,” “Hip Hop Police” and “They Don’t Know.”
Back on their new tour bus, I got a chance to catch up with the platinum-selling MCs to pick their brains on their love of basketball.
SLAM: Who’s your favorite team in the NBA?
Paul: See, this is how it go, man: I ride the bandwagon, so if the Lakers are winning right now, I ride with the Lakers. But you know what man, being that I’m from Texas and I got that Texas pride, I root for Houston first, then the other Texas teams. And if a player is from Texas, I ride for them. Like Rashard Lewis. Man, we go hard for Rashard Lewis or Kenyon Martin or Deron Williams—any player from Texas. I’m trying to see if any players on the Lakers are from Texas cuz that’ll be my number one team for sure.
Cham: I think of it differently. People be mad when I say Kobe. They hate Kobe for whatever reason or his personal life. But Tiger woods and Kobe are all just entertainment for me. I want to be entertained. I wanna feel that feeling of hope. I mean, after Kobe went through his personal drama, he came back and hit 81 points. Everybody on his nuts now. Just to see the faces of everyone that hated on him, that’s motivation for me. I love it. I’m rooting for Tiger to come back and kill ’em at the masters. They gon’ be back on the nuts again when he win.
Paul: Real easy to root for the Cavs cuz of Daniel Gibson. He’s from Houston.
SLAM: Who’s your pick for ROY?
Cham: Stephen curry is my Rookie of the Year. Yeah, he was throwing up the threes. That boy is nice.
Paul: He looks so young though, but he got heart.
Cham: If he were on TV, people would know more about him. But I think he deserve it, though.
SLAM: So University of Houston went to the NCAAs for the first time since ’92. What do you think about that?
Paul: We both went to UH.
Cham: Them boys jumping up and down. I applaud them boys but the chances? I don’t know.
Paul: My brother in law one of the asst coaches in Houston. Just to see them have that chance you gotta root for ‘em. Just because they in Houston and we went there.
Cham: I think Kentucky will get it. That boy John Wall is nice! Nice!
SLAM: Who’s your pick for MVP?
Cham: Kevin Durant over LeBron. LeBron, that’s a given right now, but to see what Durant is doing for Oklahoma? What! I mean, that boy be like crossing boys over and getting 20 plus points every game? To me that’s MVP right there.
SLAM: Who’s your pick for Defensive Player of the Year?
Cham: LeBron. He puts that ball on the rim. Every time somebody’s going up, they look back like, where’s LeBron and he come up and it’s like, BOW! Get that outta here! This boy is killing it man. Howard be doing his thing, too, but LeBron, I’ve seen him chase down a ball from the other end of the court and he chase the ball full court and then just plaster the ball on the top of the backboard. Can’t nobody mess with that man. I don’t even know how they can even have competition in that one.
SLAM: Who’s your pick for Sixth Man of the Year?
Cham: I like Jason Terry. He throws a helluva party.
Paul: I gotta go with Crawford on Atlanta. Atlanta’s a beast.
SLAM: Who do you think will be in the Finals?
Paul: Of course everybody wanna see the Lakers and the Cavs.
Cham: I think it’s gonna happen this year. If the Lakers make it to the finals and the Cavs don’t, the Lakers are gonna win. If Cleveland makes it to the finals and Lakers don’t, Cleveland will win. If they both make it, I don’t know, but it’ll be good.
SLAM: Who’s better? Kobe or LeBron?
Paul: Right now I gotta say that boy LeBron. He got so much heart, not to say Kobe don’t, but it’s just that when you see that boy go and get that ball? Man, LeBron? He’s a beast with it.
Cham: Eye of the tiger.
Paul: People always say he’s so big, how long will he last playing like that? But that boy works his ass off.
Cham: I’m so even with them, normally I pick Kobe, but LeBron been a beast this year. Carmelo is beastin’ this year too. He’s playing like a whole ‘nother person right now!