By: Nova Slim
Ron Artest dropped a rap album this year. That’s right. The same dude that brought it to the fans in the stands back in ’04 in the “Detroit Melee” has something to say.
With My World, and his TruWarier imprint, Ron Artest has a big challenge on his hands. Not only does he now have to balance careers as a baller and a label boss, he has to emerge from the preconceived notions the general public has about athletes that rap. (Deion Sanders, anyone?)
Did you purposely decide to drop the album just as the season was starting?
ARTEST: No, as a matter of fact, dropping the album while the season was just starting has been difficult, because I have commitments to the Kings with games and practices and everything, and then I have to do everything I need to do to promote the album. So it’s definitely a challenge juggling everything right now. I’m grateful that I have the support of my coach and my team.
There’s a stigma associated with athletes entering hip-hop. What separates your approach to music from people like Shaq,
ARTEST: I’m not really worried about the stigma. People know me as a basketball player, not as a music artist, so I know I’m going to have to work hard and prove myself as any other up-and-coming artist has to. As for Shaq, his album went platinum so no one can hate on that.
The music industry is pretty cut-throat right now and it’s hard for established stars to sell music these days. Did you have any fears going into this aside from the fact that you’re an athlete?
ARTEST: Yeah, the music industry is very competitive, and being an artist is a lot harder than being a ball player. I have a lot of respect for all the artists out there who have made a name for themselves, as I’ve personally discovered just how hard the music business is. At the same time, I’ve always loved music. It’s always been a passion of mine. I’m thankful that I’m in a position where I can do both– play basketball AND do music. I put 110% into both of them.
How did you approach the
ARTEST: I have a song on my album called "Haterz" where I discuss the
What else will we learn about you from this album?
ARTEST: I hope that people will be able to understand me more a person. I am really just a regular dude at the end of the day, human just like everyone else. I hope people check out the album and enjoy the music.
Did you reach out to any of the Queens-bred rappers for blessings or for guestspots?
ARTEST: Ya know, I got so much support from artists from other areas of the country – Mike Jones, Fat Joe, Diddy, Juvenile, and so many offers for help from other artists, which I am really thankful for. But I didn’t get much support from the rappers in my own hood - go figure.
You opened for Young Jeezy and Fat Joe. How did the crowds receive you?
ARTEST: It was amazing. Young Jeezy and Fat Joe are both professionals, so it was an honor to see how they do their thing and how they got the crowds motivated. During the Fat Joe tour, we opened for a crowd of 30,000 people at one show, the crowd was jumping. It was bananas.
How do you plan to balance both careers this season?
ARTEST: It’s been hard but I’ve been managing it. The most important thing is to get enough rest and not stretch myself too thin. I pace myself and when I’m getting tired I take the time to rest. Otherwise, I’m just on my grind, making sure I’m playing ball to the best of my abilities, and working on promoting the album as much as possible.
What are you playing on your ipod?
ARTEST: Jay Z’s [In My Lifetime] Volume 1, Mobb Deep’s The Infamous, 50 Cent’s first album, Slick Rick, Eminem’s first two albums, Nas’ Illmatic, Keisha Cole and Dido.