Philly’s own, Cassidy, drops by the SLAM Dome.
by Peter Walsh / @goinginsquad
If Cassidy was to have thrown in the towel at any point over the last six years, no one would have blamed him. In ’06, following an eight-month prison term for a litany of charges, from a murder he was allegedly involved in, the Philly-bred MC was involved in a near-fatal car accident that caused temporary brain damage and amnesia. For Cassidy, it looked like he had reached the end of his rapping career and needed to pick up the pieces and move on.
But instead of giving up, the self-proclaimed Hustla did what he does best—hustled. Since that fateful night in ’06, Cassidy has released two full albums and a seemingly endless amount of mixtapes chalk-full of his patented hard bars and legendary freestyles. Earlier this summer, Cass dropped his well-received mixtape, Mayhem Music, and is working on another album, which he hopes to drop at the top of the year.
Cassidy recently dropped by the SLAM Dome to talk with us about the Sixers, AI and the current state of the music industry…
SLAM: Coming from Philly, who are your top-5 Sixers of all time?
Cassidy: [Hesitantly] AI, Dr. J, Iguodala, Barkley and Moses Malone.
SLAM: I just presumed that the Sixers were your favorite team, is that not the case?
Cassidy: Not ever since they traded AI, they haven’t really been my favorite team. But they’re getting it back together with Bynum and they was ballin’ last year. I definitely rather the Sixers win being that I’m from Philly, but I don’t really have a team. I just like basketball altogether and certain players in the League.
SLAM: Who are some of your favorite players right now?
Cassidy: Carmelo, LeBron, Kevin Durant and Rondo are some of my favorite players right now.
Cassidy: Shaq and Penny, they’re legends, they was doing they thing. Me and my boy Jag from South Central, he’s down with my family, we look at ourselves as Shaq and Penny. He’s a real tall, big dude similar to how Shaq was and I’m a smaller guy who’s gettin’ it done just like Penny was doing it back in the day, so we thought that would be a dope song.
SLAM: What about Rondo, that’s your guy?
Cassidy: Rondo, I feel as if he is one of, if not the best point guards in the League right now. He doesn’t really have to score, but he’s still such a factor because he does everything else and knows how the point guard position is supposed to be played. And last season, in the Playoffs, he started stepping his offense up so when he gets his shot down pat and starts scoring more he’s going to be pretty much unstoppable.
SLAM: Going back to Philly basketball a little bit, you guys are back on the map after last year’s successful season and now the signing of Bynum. Is there a noticeable change around the city and the way fans are approaching basketball and the Sixers?
Cassidy: Yeah, definitely. Everybody’s excited again. Every city wants to win and a city is going to support their team whether they’re winning or losers but they’d much rather be winning. So when a team starts winning and taking it further and going into the Playoffs and playing better, the city gets more and more excited.
SLAM: What do you think about the Bynum move?
Cassidy: That was a beautiful move because we needed a big man and Bynum is one of the best centers in the League and he’s young. We got the second youngest team in the League and that shows that we’re going to be more effective and we can grow with him and throw more pieces to the puzzle and make the team better in the long run.
SLAM: You were saying earlier that when Iverson left, you weren’t really messing with the Sixers. What did he mean not only to you, but the city of Philly itself?
Cassidy: He meant a lot. Ever since Dr. J left, he was the biggest thing in Philly. Plus, me and AI got a personal relationship. I know AI, that’s my man and we used to hang together, chill together, vibe out so when he left the city, I was kind of disappointed. Ever since he left everything went downhill and we started losing more.
Plus, he was like a trendsetter as far as style and going against the grain and not really listening to what everyone else was saying and doing his own thing and he was still a factor—that’s why he meant so much to Philly. That’s like 99.9 percent of the people that live in Philly mentality.
SLAM: Do you have a favorite memory of him on the Sixers?
Cassidy: I think everyone’s favorite memory was when he crossed Jordan over, that was one of the biggest moments of his career. A dude like Michael Jordan who is one of the, if not the, greatest basketball player ever and for Iverson to be getting in the League and crossing him like that and doing him dirty like that, it was like a changing moment in his career and it took him to the next level. Jordan had so much pull in the League and I think that moment was the reason why they banned the crossover that Iverson was doing at that time. Iverson was doing people too dirty! So they had to ban it and take it away from him.
Him being so little—he wasn’t 6-6 or 6-7 like the other dudes, he was a little man over there. Another reason I liked AI was he had the heart of a lion. He would always drive to the basket no matter how small he was or who was under the basket, he took a beating his whole career. Other teams were pushing him around, fouling him every play and throwing him down and he was never crying or complaining about it. He was never faking, he was never flopping to the ground, he was just taking it like a man.