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Ball 4 Real: Hoop Dreamchasers

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    Hoops and Hip-Hop go better together than chicken noodle soup with soda on the side. Whether it’s Master P never giving up his dream, or Chris Webber banging out beats for Nasir, we’ve seen the glamorous side. But on the gritty, the Ball4Real ballers and rappers are kind of the same, both speak with their talents in dangerous ways.    Whether taking ‘em to the bridge or taking ‘em to the hoop, this is the other dream job of many an urban youth – and these are our heroes. Special FX and 1/2 Man 1/2 Amazing of Ball4Real chop it up with AllHipHop.com about taking ownership of the And1 style, touring in cities, and why Billy Danz and Lil’ Fame keep the backboards shook like debters in Brownsville. AllHipHop.com:  How is Ball4Real an extension of or different than And1, which a lot of people are associating with this project?Special FX:  It’s different that it’s owned by us, and we’re just taking it in a new direction, and just starting something brand new.  Not the same old stuff it’s like….Ball4Real, like you said.AllHipHop.com: When you say, “Do something brand new,” what exactly do you mean?Special FX:  Brand new like the name says, man, Ball4Real that’s what it is, man. No tricks or anything, we just out here hooping, playing…it’s just a whole new look, man. They gotta come out and see it.AllHipHop.com:  Do you see it going to other mediums as well like after this tour, like DVDs?Special FX:  Yeah, of course, that’s what it’s all about. We got DVDs, we got other tours coming up and we throwing the music in there.  So we’re hoping to turn it into a big thing.AllHipHop.com:  How do you think your work and what you do for a living has affected Hip-Hop?Special FX:  You know basketball and Hip-Hop have always been one-in-one.  I think what I do, I know a lot of Hip-Hop artists, R&B artists hopefully, that expands my horizons and other things, like with music videos and stuff and just pure entertainment.AllHipHop.com:  So do you think it was a good thing for the sport of streetball when rappers started mentioning names in their lyrics and talking about certain things?Special FX:   It’s all about something that you love.  We love ball, they love music.  Both go hand-in-hand, when you think Hip-Hop, you think basketball; when you think basketball, you think Hip-Hop.  AllHip-Hop.com:  I don’t want to blow up your spot, but who are some of the people that you roll with?Special FX: Well, Chris Brown, met him, play basketball sometimes.  DJ Webstarr, Alec Biggus…a couple of people.AllHipHop.com:  When you’re practicing, when you’re by yourself, what kind of music gets you juiced up?Special FX:  50 [Cent] definitely. We’re both from Queens, other people would be…Jay, Biggie, any New York Hip-Hop really gets me going.AllHipHop.com:  How do you think that street ball differs form people in the west that do to the way it’s more widely none in a place like New York, how do you think that the game is different?Special FX:  What you mean? Different from what?AllHipHop.com:  Just in the little nuances in the way people play; do you notice regional little nuances like that?Special FX:  Nah, in street ball, it’s basketball.  It’s not in the NBA in an arena. It’s gritty, grimy, you gonna get the cuts and bruises playing on concrete. It’s just a way of life. Streetball,  it’s just basketball.AllHipHop.com:  What I meant, the actual way the game is played, do you see a big difference in cats that have done it in New York, from people out west and how they do it?Special FX:  Yeah, New York City is known for their guards.  New York City is known as the Mecca of Streetball. We have the best guards [as good as the NBA] – just in the streets.  Different areas have different things.  The South, you always have jumpers that come from the South.  New York City is more like the guards, talk s**t, whatever. It really does vary where you from.  AllHipHop.com:  Having grown up in New York, how do you think that just the courts, not even the game, how have the courts changed and where people are going to see great basketball, period?Special FX:  That just comes with time.  Everything changes with time, everything gets better, you get new advances and everything.  So of course you’ve gotta accept the change, everything can’t stay the same, because if it stays the same, it’s gonna get tired and boring and you not gonna want to see it anymore.AllHip-Hop.com:  Do you have a particular favorite spot to play, a favorite court?Special FX: Any tournament in New York City, EBC Tournament, Dykeman, King Dome.  The top tournaments I love playing out there, it’s just the atmosphere, you see the same faces, everybody plays.  It’s just the atmosphere.  It’s just New York City in general.  I love playing in the city, incredible.AllHipHop.com: Where can people got to get more information, buy tickets, see you guys individually, see who’s rolling with Ball4Real?Special FX:  Go to Ball4Real.com, that’s the website. Google it, man, it’s gonna pop up, ’cause it’s a big deal, its hot new thing and it’s gonna blow up.AllHipHop.com:  How do you think that your work has affected Hip-Hop?1/2 Man 1/2 Amazing:  I don’t know it’s kind of a reverberated effect. ‘Cause Hip-Hop and basketball goes hand-in-hand now a days so as Hip-Hop evolves, basketball will evolve.  We kind of affect each other in a way, it’s kind of a two-way-street.AllHipHop.com:  How did you feel in ’94 when Nas put it in his rap, “Half man, half amazing,” did that feel some kind of way for you?1/2 Man 1/2 Amazing:  Oh yeah, I was definitely geeked when I heard that.  When I first heard it, I was like, “Now I know he don’t know who I am,” so for him to just up and put that name together and  put it in one of his verses that was incredible.  And form one of the greatest lyrists of all time in Hip-Hop that’s a big compliment for me.  So I just try to carry myself on the court as he does lyrically, ‘cause like I said Hip-Hop and basketball go hand-in-hand.  You know you got your smooth Hip-Hop, you got your smooth basketball players; you got your rugged Hip-Hop, you got your rugged basketball players.  So it’s all relative.AllHipHop.com:  Tell me what you like to listen to, what gets you really juiced?1/2 Man 1/2 Amazing: Music that really gets me pumped is like M.O.P., them guys they real rowdy on the mic with they statements.  Also I listen to my own music, because I been dabble in music with a couple of my homeboys The Committee.  We got a mixtape out right now, you can check The Committee on myspace.com. Pretty much M.O.P., a little bit Jay-Z here and there, I don’t listen to a lot of it but you know just some if it; some of the new artists and a lota lota vintage, golden area Hip-Hop.  AllHipHop.com:  How do the shows vary, if you’re doing a place that might not be familiar with streetball, might not have an environment for it, does your show differ much?1/2 Man 1/2 Amazing:  In some aspects it has to differ. Because when we got to some markets that don’t really, like you said, have a streetball feel, we have to raise our game in order to get their attention. So we have to go to a whole ‘nother level with our basketball to get their attention, and maintain that level for the whole game so by the time the game is over they’ll be ask us when we’ll becoming back.  So it does vary from city to city, but we try to keep a high level in all the cities it’s just that in some smaller venues we have to raise the level higher because we have to get their attention.AllHipHop.com:  With now having that ownership, what kind of changes were able to make, or things that you weren’t able to do in the past?1/2 Man 1/2 Amazing:  Well basically the big difference is, as a player and a part owner, now I have more responsibility, which is what I want.  As I get older I’m tend to float over the business side of this thing so I have to learn early.  Putting more responsibility on our shoulders as players and part owners, that’s really the big difference, and that’s really what I was looking for and we finally got it.  So now, if it fails it’s on us, if it succeeds it’s on us. So we have to make sure it succeeds.   

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