Shaun Alexander: Protect Your Neck

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t’s hard to find someone who thinks Shaq Diesel is the greatest rap album of all time. Even though the album went Platinum and Shaq is one of the NBA’s most popular players, his respect on the ball court never transferred over to the heart of most rap fans. NFL MVP Shaun Alexander is well aware of these bloopers and he hopes to avoid having one of his own by doing something Shaq and Kobe never did—keep his mouth shut. He’s decided to leave the rapping to his boy, Draze, and is the brains behind his latest venture, mixtapemovies.com.

The duo takes Hip-Hop storylines and splices them within scenes of films like Scarface and Trading Places. Their idea premiered at the 40/40 Club, so it was only fitting that the NFL’s 62 million Dollar Man confronted the possibility that this is a greedy effort to make money at the club’s Hall of Fame Lounge. The Seahawks Running Back had a stellar 2005, but before he can outdo himself on the field in 2006, he wants to see mixtapemovies.com and Draze evolve into something big—on their own. Time will tell if he can get what he wants.

AllHipHop.com: How do you and Draze know each other?

Shaun Alexander: We’re actually friends. From the first day I landed in Seattle, I knew his people. We’ve always been tight. One of my other boys was playing some music for me one day and it was tight. I was like, “Who is that?” It was Draze. I then went to Draze like, “You could rap?” The rest is history. Artists are different from us. We just ball and see things in terms of playing football. But he sees rapping as a craft. I want to help him perfect his craft. That’s how mixtapemovies.com jumped off.

Draze: Honestly, with the content of the mixtape movie being based around Jay-Z, to have it debut at the 40/40 Club was off the hook. It truly was a real honor.

AllHipHop.com: We really don’t see many Seattle rappers in the game. Draze, do you know that you will have to be a pioneer to get people to accept you in cities like New York?

Shaun Alexander: He already is a pioneer. He doesn’t want to say it, but he is. He’s the baddest thing I’ve ever seen, Seattle or otherwise. When it comes to battling, he destroys people. Competition don’t even show up to face him anymore. He’s that good.

Draze: To be honest with you, I’m not afraid of New York at all. No offense, I’m not impressed. Just because you’re from New York, I gotta fear you? What’s New York doing? Nothing. Who’s hot right now? Name it.

AllHipHop.com: Some would say Papoose. He’s on the rise and could be the hottest thing in New York right now. What do you think about his talents as a rapper?

Draze: He’s nice. Game recognize game. If I see somebody who’s nice, I don’t disrespect you because you’re from New York, but what am I supposed to do? I don’t got beef with dudes, because beef is played out.

AllHipHop.com: Speaking of beef, T.O. [Terrell Owens] came out with a rap song dissing the Philadelphia Eagles, his former team. What was your reaction to the track when you first heard it?

Shaun Alexander: T.O. is funny, man. He likes to make raps about people. I wish he was on Seattle with me. He gets in the field and he puts in work. I love talent. At the same time though, he felt that Philadelphia left him out to dry and never let him say what he had to say. He’s a ballplayer and he should just wait until he gets to the playing field to get them back that way. He shouldn’t be rapping though. [laughs] Don’t send a dentist to do heart surgery.

AllHipHop.com: By the same token, however, you’re a football player yourself. Should you be a record label executive?

Shaun Alexander: For me, it’s business. I find talent and get the right people around them. Then I step out the way. I know where I’m supposed to be. I don’t try and step on people’s shoes. After a while, I’ll just fade to the back. I’m a connecter to people who are going to help themselves [succeed]. I’m just a front man. I believe that if I give money or time to help build something, I don’t have to get it back right then and there. I’m kingdom-minded. If I bless this part of [Draze’s] kingdom now, it will come back to me in a time where I need it, my kids need it, or my kid’s kids need it. I’m like that with everybody. That’s how I feel with this mixtape movies thing.

Draze: He’s being modest. He gave me two things. Number one was his [business] relationships. Number two was money. It was taken in, and it was all love. [Shaun’s] concept of my success is not based on whether I blow up in the world’s eyes. If God tells him to do something, he’s going to do it. If I never blow, his obedience is [solely] being judged between him and God. There’s no pressure for me to do anything. I’m not making him give me the money.

AllHipHop.com: But, now that you have this opportunity, do you feel you need to show and prove?

Draze: For sure, but not just for [Shaun]; I gotta show and prove for my daughter. It’s not just about this being an investment.

Shaun Alexander: I don’t know any champion that don’t feel pressure that they have to be the best. Draze probably feels the same pressure that Tiger Woods feels when he’s on the golf course. You have to be the best. That’s the same way I feel when I step onto the football field. I’m not going in there trying to have a good game. I’m trying to score three or four touchdowns, and do stuff that folks can’t even match. But does [Draze] feel like he owes somebody? If I don’t score three or four touchdowns, I’m not feeling like I did somebody wrong. I am feeling, though, that I am the best and I will push forward.

AllHipHop.com: Speaking of being the best, you set the record in 2005 for most touchdowns scored in a single season. With that under your belt, how do you feel about the upcoming season?

Shaun Alexander: I’m gonna go have to break the record again. 2005 Shaun was good. 2006 Shaun is going to have to be better, and that’s real good. It’s a lot of pressure, but that’s how I want it. That’s how it is. If you don’t live, going on the field like that, then it’s time to retire.

AllHipHop.com: How did you get into Hip-Hop? Being from Kentucky, was Hip-Hop a big part of your environment?

Shaun Alexander: I’m from right on the border of Cincinnati and most of my family is from there. When I was a kid, they had music festivals where one night would be Jazz, the next night would be [Soul] and the last night would be Hip-Hop. You would start seeing the hottest [rappers] in the world coming to Downtown Cincinnati to perform. From then on, I was hooked.

AllHipHop.com: Do you think athletes have the credibility to get into Hip-Hop? You mentioned how T.O. shouldn’t be rapping before…

Shaun Alexander: I think it all depends on what you’re trying to do. If T.O. and I tried to come out with a Hip-Hop record, as rappers, we have no credibility. But if everybody says, “Hey, this guy over here has talent” and Shaun gets involved with him, then Shaun has credibility. How far I take it is going to depend on how much on what I want to do. But, do I have the credibility to find talent? Yeah, I do. Am I gonna work as an A & R for somebody? No [laughs].

AllHipHop.com: What I want to do now is bug out and play a little game for all of my football/Hip-Hop fans. I’m going to name you two rappers and I want you to tell me their NFL equivalent. For example, I would say, Biggie is most like Lawrence Taylor.

Shaun Alexander: [Laughs] Okay.

AllHipHop.com: 50 Cent.

Shaun Alexander. LeVar Arrington. [laughs].

AllHipHop.com: Flava Flav.

Shaun Alexander: Wow. Who’s the little dude on the Kansas City Chiefs…Dante Hall? This is because Flava Flav is so wild but he’s a part of something that’s great; that’s Public Enemy. Dante Hall is someone that you don’t think of as being the front man of the Chiefs. That would be Priest Holmes, or Larry Johnson, or [Coach] Vermeil, who be crying all the time [Laughs]. But he’s that little dude who’s making it special. That’s Dante Hall. That’s what Flava Flav does. He’s not the whole show, but he makes it special.

AllHipHop.com: You just signed the largest contract in NFL history for a running back worth $62 million, with a signing bonus reported to be at least $15 million. I know you’re involved with charities and non-profits, but is mixtape movies a for-profit venture?

Shaun Alexander: It definitely is something to make money.

AllHipHop.com: Since it is for-profit, some would say you’re being greedy, given the size of the contract you signed. How would you respond to that?

Shaun Alexander: That’s like somebody saying, “You should have asked for $50 million instead of $63 million.” It’s a business. If they see a value and there’s a cost to this value, then there’s a choice. Yes or No. The music industry is a business. People hear something and a value is placed on it. If they want it, they’ll buy it. It’s another yes or no.

AllHipHop.com: So, if it’s a business and it’s not profitable, would you have to cut artists?

Shaun Alexander: Definitely. It’s just a part of it. I don’t see how you can keep someone who doesn’t make any good music.

AllHipHop.com: Draze, how do you feel about that?

Draze: I was rapping before I met him. My job is to eat, with or without him, off of this music. I told him that once. But it’s a lot easier to eat with him. Nobody wants to be cut. But, at the same time, I have to persevere. I’m a man. If I got cut off, I would be pissed. But I would understand because it’s just a business.

Shaun Alexander: I wouldn’t want somebody who thought that the only way they could make it is if I teamed up with them. I wouldn’t even want you on my team if you were like that. It reminds me of the talk that came up when I was [negotiating] my contract with The Seahawks. People [would speculate] that, without me, the team would lose. I’d knock you out for saying that [if you were my teammate]. You better think that you are the reason that we’re gonna win. Now, of course, it might be me [who is responsible for our success]. But I want you to have that attitude that it’s you who’s going to turn the tables. Because with that, we have a whole bunch of hungry dudes ready to go do something. We have a whole bunch of winners. That’s how you become champions. That’s how you get to the top of the game.

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