Curren$y Q + A
SLAMonline talks with Mr. Pilot Talk himself.
by Rudy Raya
Curren$y, the Rod Strickland of the rap game, is a veteran with more mixtapes than Robert Horry has championships. But after more than 10 years in the music industry and working with some of the biggest names in the rap game, past, present and future, his rings are less about diamonds and gold and more like the rings on a tree, and Curren$y knows his fair share about trees.
The New Orleans-born rapper has caught fire over the past year after being named to XXL’s Freshmen 10 of 2009. Without the help of any major label, Curren$y is flying solo but approaching new heights with his independent state of mind and of course the Jets, fool! (Sorry, it’s a lot cooler when he says it.)
In the midst of performing up and down California promoting the recent release of his first major studio album Pilot Talk, SLAMonline caught up with Curren$y at his stop in Sacramento for a quick Q + A. The certified sneakerhead and one-time SLAM collector, so generously gave back to the hoops community, but instead of Christmas Turkeys, we got an exclusive sit down with Spitta himself to talk about hip hop, his hometown Hornets, the upcoming season and everything Jordan.
SLAM: You use a lot basketball references in your music, from Rondo to Clyde Drexler, how deep is your basketball knowledge?
Curren$y: I followed basketball right up until I knew I wasn’t gonna play basketball. I was serious with collecting the cards. I did that for a long time. Iverson might have been the last time that I had sheets of some new person’s cards. But I was ****in’ serious with that. It’s funny, because the SLAM **** was crazy, because I used to get SLAM because they had the first look at the 11s, the patent leather 11s and I ran around with that **** forever.
SLAM: Growing up, what players did you style your game after?
Curren$y: It was a combination. I don’t think I emulated any one person’s game, but I definitely thought of Kenny Andersen, Tim Hardaway, Rod Strickland, you know, I thought of those people. I wanted to put my points up, but I wanted my team to do a lot of shit, but I also wanted it to look cool. If I did get 30 points, it might not be an explosive, loud, crazy 30, it might be that Rod Strickland 30. He would kick your ass on the low.
SLAM: How do you think that basketball and hip hop can relate to each other?
Curren$y: The way each player, or rapper, you know, the game is the same, the rules have been the same, but everybody brings their own style to it. It’s basketball. It’s been the same game forever, but Jordan played it different. There’s something about the way LeBron plays that makes people pay attention to that. The same way with rap, the rules are the same, “make this word rhyme with that, on this beat”. It’s the same rules, but its something to where you’ll listen to a Young Jeezy or a Fabolous. You just got to be that good. It’s the same. The way they get their **** done, score and do it with finesse. You can bring your own visual style to it to. You’ll see people know how to look like they can hoop, just because the look is tight. Just like there are people that look like they might rap.
SLAM: What do you think about some of these basketball players like Kobe, Shaq, Ron Artest, Iverson trying taking a shot at the rap game?
Curren$y: Kobe’s **** was funny! “Make me weep…something something…on my cheek,” I remember that! It was like with Brian McKnight. Me and my homies had that on tape. Shaq “You Can’t Stop The Reign,” I ****ed with that, I want that instrumental. I still want to rap over that for a tape. I don’t think I heard Artest, I know he put a single out after they won. Maybe today, I’ll check it out today. [Laughs]
SLAM: Your hometown New Orleans Hornets and Chris Paul… What do you think about that whole situation? He wants to stay, he wants to go, he wants to stay… ?
Curren$y: If he said… he said he didn’t say that. Did we ever hear him say that? But we heard him say he didn’t say that. So I just got to go with that.
SLAM: What do you think the addition of Trevor Ariza will do for the Hornets this year?
Curren$y: It’s not even about who they pick up, it’s all about how it meshes together. I’m hoping that everybody’s practicing and the chemistry is good. That’s what wins, if you play enough [NBA] Live, you know that. You can trade and build the ultimate team and still not be able to do anything because passes are going out of bounds and all kinds of dumb ****.
SLAM: You’ve come to be a sort of marijuana connoisseur and you’re not shy about it. What do you think about these NBA players like Michael Beasley, Josh Howard, practically the entire Trail Blazers team from a couple years back, getting busted for marijuana?
Curren$y: It’s a bummer that they got busted. I’m definitely not going to say, They’re athletes and I don’t think they should be smoking because of that. I’m not going to say anything like that at all. I know what I do it for, so [for them] I’m sure it’s legitimate. I just wish that nobody ever get’s busted. You gotta go through the necessary procedures. If it’s that good, stay out here (California) to keep smoking. [Laughs]
SLAM: Do you think the NBA should test for mari–?
Curren$y: (Immediately interjecting) No. No I don’t think they should, I don’t even see why it matters.
SLAM: What do you think it is about Jordans that make them the pinnacle of basketball shoes?
Curren$y: The best ones were 1-13, and I think it was because of what he was doing in them. It was like a Hulk Hogan costume. The Hulk Hogan costume was pretty wack, but it was tight to us anyway — we didn’t even know because it was ****in’ Hulk Hogan. But it just so happens that Jordans **** looks ill even at this point, years removed from when it first came out. They don’t make them as close as they did, I see differences in the shapes and lines, but it’s all good.
SLAM: Kobe or LeBron?
Curren$y: I gotta give it to Kobe. I’ve got to. I’m big on finesse and how it looks when it’s getting done too. Kobe has a more graceful way to get the job done. Regardless of what people say, I don’t get caught up in any of that. It’s definitely a more entertaining brand of basketball to watch.
SLAM: Did any moments from this past season catch your eye or really stand out to you?
Curren$y: Boston not winning. I was definitely pulling for Boston. That bummed me out. I felt like a child again, I felt like I didn’t want to talk and the next day I even thought about it. I thought like, I wonder what they’re doing?; What are they doing at home?; I hope they know it’s all good; They can just come back next year, we’re not that bummed about it. [Laughs] I definitely remember that. I felt young, I felt like the Bulls didn’t get it. It felt like one of those times.
SLAM: Who are you looking forward to seeing play this upcoming season?
Curren$y: Obviously I want to see want the “Transformers!” [Laughs] The ****in new Miami Heat, I want to see what that’s gonna look like. I want to see New York, I do. I want to see the Knicks, Portland, the Hornets obviously. We already know the Lakers are about to do their ****.
SLAM: What do you think is the greatest basketball moment that you’ve ever seen?
Curren$y: Michael Jordan. Against the Lakers. Right, left lay-up switch. I remember that. I will never, ever, ever forget it or where I was. I was one house over from the house I grew up in at my cousin’s house. His parents were having wine and cheese, and we were just supposed to be having cheese, but we had maybe two cups of some kind of wine, [laughs] and I was just twisted and young, and I just lost it when Michael Jordan did that. I ran out the house and the backyard… and I wondered if my celebration let them know that we had dipped in the wine.
SLAM: If you had to pick a player, who would be your favorite player of all time?
Curren$y: Michael Jordan. Yeah, of course. Every time they play his highlights, they ****in’ play Tina Turner, (in his best Tina Turner impression…) “Simply the best.” ****in great! You know what I’m saying, any station, any media outlet, they’re bound to play Michael Jordan highlights to Tina Turner’s “Simply the best.” If you can achieve that, man…