Its a thin line between the music industry and entertainment. Some cross that line successfully; while others fall short. Ron Artest is attempting a Championship shot at rap. 2010 NBA Champion Ron Artest took time out of his various TV appearances to discuss his budding music career, love for 1920s music, and the fact that he had no clue who Nicki Minaj was until game 5 of the NBA series. Never loosing sight of where he came from, Ron Artest verifies that he is the entire definition of a Champion.
AllHipHop.com: First things first congrats on being this year's champion. Are you still celebrating?
Ron Artest: Thank you! Yes, its my first championship. Five years ago I thought about giving up on basketball, but God had a plan.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of "Champion," tell me about the song.
Ron Artest: I made it a year ago, and its just perfect for now since we won the championship.
AllHipHop.com: So are you looking to get signed or are you taking the Independent approach?
Ron Artest: With all the Laker fans across the world, I think its smart for a record label to get involved. Without the Lakers and without the NBA none of this would be possible first off. I did China last year without a single, so this year is gonna be crazy when I come with a single. I love music so much; Im not really doing it for the money. Any money that comes in, Ill give it to my artists.
AllHipHop.com: Do you agree theres a parallel between athletes and rappers, because athletes listen to their music to get ready for a game, and rappers watch the games in the studio?
Ron Artest: I listen to 1920s music.
AllHipHop.com: Wow really?
Ron Artest: 1900s late 1800s. A lot of Beethoven, a lot of Mozart. I dont really listen to rap like that. One of my favorite artists is Alberta Hunter. 1920s, thats the kind of music that gets me ready. Its crazy because I do rap, but its more like stories; what Ive been through, what Im going through. Sometimes I rap about fun, working out, because thats what I do, I work out a lot. I play defense crazy, I got a song about defense. Its good songs though .I just try to stay in my lane.
AllHipHop.com: So who are you listening to nowadays?
Ron Artest: I listen to a lot of Dido, shes dope. Mary J. Blige. Without Mary I dont know if I would have made it in the NBA. She kept me going when I was feeling bad, or feeling down. Old School, The Manhattans, OJays, not too much new school. I dont have the time. The first time I heard Nicki Minaj was game 5. My man Josh Howard played it for me. I kept asking Who is she? Is she a dope artist? He was like you have to listen to her, so when I listened to her is was like damn shes dope!
AllHipHop.com: Being from Queens; the home of many rap pioneers, how did growing up there influence you?
Ron Artest: I grew up with Lamar and to play ball with him and win a championship with him, and now the Lakers just signed someone else from my hood. So thats three people from Queens on the Lakers which is crazy right now.
AllHipHop.com: Certain athletes/entertainers reach a certain level of success and seem to forget where they come from. You always seem to make it a point to show love to your hood. Why?
Ron Artest: No disrespect to anyone thats arrogant, you know everyone has their own situation. Some people go back for certain reasons. Im the only athlete/entertainer to ever go back to they hood as much as I do. As a musician thats what people should want; someone thats connected to there neighborhood. I love the fact Im able ten years hard though the bad, through the good, though the street, through corporate world, I always repped my neighborhood. I think thats enough for people to stop asking me why I rap.
AllHipHop.com: Any features on the album?
Ron Artest: I dont know if this album is gonna have features. Outside of rapping I have a family and I dont have the money to waste to have a feature here and there. If I could get with a major, they could put paper up, and I could put up some paper. Only feature I would pay for is Celine Dion. As an independent I dont have money to play with the majors. The majors have billions of dollars, I only got millions!
AllHipHop.com: Whats can we expect from you in the next five years?
Ron Artest: Six rings, World Wide Warriors releasing two, maybe three albums. We have been a group for ten years; we have an album coming out in August outside of my solo ..That would be perfect for me.
Ron Artest - "Champion"