Chi-Town State of Mind
Mikkey Halsted, one of the Windy City’s finest MC’s, sits down with SLAMonline to talk about music, life and basketball… From a Chicago perspective.
MH: I mean, you feel a certain type of way. Somebody would be frontin’ if they said that they didn’t. But at the end of the day, you have to just tell yourself to keep doing what you’re doing and the people that know, will know. That’s what I always say: Those that know, they know. At the end of the day you don’t want to hate on a black man that’s getting his money. I don’t. But that’s why I tell people that if you get hipped to a real lyricist, man, put other people on him and go buy that and go support that and it’s up to the fans to start supporting real music. That’s who the onus is on, man, and all we can do as lyricists is keep on keeping on and have our work ethic match our skills. Back in the day, when you heard Rakim, man, 90 percent of the people knew they couldn’t do that. When you heard Nas, you said, ‘I might rap a lil’ bit, but I’m not Nas’. You knew you couldn’t rap like Raekwon. It was something special to it. But when everything goes commercialized… To me rap is in the era like it was with Kwame and ‘nem. Kid-and-Play and ‘nem. It’s cool, but it ain’t nothing that sticks to your ribs, you know. And eventually, somebody is gonna “Biggie” them and say that stuff is played out like Kwame. And then it’ll be over, you know what I’m saying.
SLAM: Going back to basketball, do you ever think of being a coach someday?
MH: You know, I have. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, especially when I was watching the NCAA Tournament. March Madness always gets me. I saw them coaches like Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens from Butler, they’re young guys and they have that energy and I’m like that. So it just kind of gave me… Maybe one day because I’m not closing no doors to my life. I got a lot of different talents and I’m gonna keep every option open, so you never know down the line. I have a knowledge and a love for the game of basketball and if I can get a chance to be in the game of basketball in any kind of way down the line, during my rap career or after my rap career, I’m gonna take it.
SLAM: That’s what’s up. Lastly, what do you think about the Chicago Bulls? Or more specifically, what do you think about Derrick Rose for MVP? You know a lot of people ain’t feeling it, but what do you think about it?
MH: I mean, if you’re not riding with Derrick Rose for MVP, you really don’t understand the game. Period. It’s like, if you take him off of that team that’s been decimated with injuries all year long, man, they might not even make the playoffs. They’re the Milwaukee Bucks. When you really think about what he’s done every year, adding something to his game and improving every flaw. They said he couldn’t play defense, he’s playing defense now. They said he couldn’t shoot, he’s added that mid-range jumper. They said he couldn’t extend his range out to the 3-point line, he’s done that this year. He’s the only player in the League that’s averaging 25 points and 8 assists. So it’s like, you can’t take it away from him. You have to give it him and I really think the Bulls can contend for a title this year. I really thought they was hurting without a two-guard, but I really think Korver and Brewer with the way they’re playing together equals one really solid two guard. I like the way Korver stretches the floor and like the energy and change of pace that Brewer brings. I don’t understand Keith Bogans, but hey, I don’t know. Maybe that’s Thibodeau’s best friend. I don’t understand it, but it’s successful. I also want to see Boozer and Noah play start playing a little bit better together. They play better when the other one is hurt, so I want to see them play well together. But I’m happy with the Bulls progress. Luol Deng has been stepping up big time and Derrick Rose, he’s the best player in the League right now. Period. I know about all the stat guys and numbers don’t lie, but at the end of the day, you have to go by the eye test, man. What you see… He is the most dominant point guard in the NBA.