Tuesday, July 5, 2005
Hip-Hop and Hoops: Interview With Streetlife
By Seth Berkman
Streetlife, former associate of the groundbreaking hip-hop conglomerate, the Wu-Tang Clan, recently released his solo album, Street Education on X-Ray Records. He has appeared on platinum albums such as The W, BlackOut!, and Tical 2000 and worked with esteemed artists such as Method Man, Redman, the RZA, and Ghostface. He took a few minutes out of his promoting schedule to talk basketball, hip-hop, and his take on the NBA Finals with Sports Central.
Do you think basketball has gotten as big worldwide because of a hip-hop influence on the sport?
Streetlife: "I'd say hip-hop and basketball is geared to the younger people and it's a voice, sports and hip-hop, so it's a way for younger people to exercise their voices."
What do you think of basketball players who want to be rappers or vice-versa?
Streetlife: Basketball people are people, too. Just because their first love or profession is basketball, doesn't mean they never loved music.
Were you yourself involved in a lot of athletics growing up?
Streetlife: My first love was basketball, it was from about 7-years-old. I had a scholarship and everything to go to college, to play Division I, but I got hit by a car and I couldn't walk for like a year and a half and I messed my knee up, so I couldn't play to the same level that I was used to playing.
So who was your favorite team growing up?
Streetlife: The Houston Rockets. They had the Twin Towers — Hakeem Olajuwon, Ralph Sampson — [and] Kenny Smith. [Then players like] Sam Cassell, Robert Horry. But really Ralph Sampson, when he came out of college and went there, I became a diehard fan.
Who are your favorite players in the game right now?
Streetlife: Right now, my favorite player is Kevin Garnett. And then I would go down to ... right now as we speak, [Manu] Ginobili is my best guard. I love his intensity, I love his drive. I like his whole approach to the game. And I like Steve Nash, too, I like where he came from, he reminds me of John Stockton.
Be honest, the NBA finals, were they boring?
Streetlife: I wouldn't say it was boring, there were good games, but as far as the Spurs and Detroit ... I guess for me, it wasn't really my interest because basically anybody that got a ring on Detroit got it last year except [Antonio] McDyess and everybody on the Spurs basically got a ring except for [Nazr] Mohammed and [Brent] Barry. I like to see people that never got the ring and fight hard to get it, so basically, except for those individual people, it was boring because everybody already seen a ring already. I alwats root for the underdog.
What are you doing to promote your album?
Right now, we doing a lot of streetwork, posters, cards, doing shows just to get people aware that it's put. Plus, I tour with Meth [Method Man] all over, promoting at the shows. We're setting up dates now, for a tour sometime in late July-August
Where did you get the name for the album, Street Education?
Streetlife: Well, I just basically wanted to educate you about me. You gotta know about me first, on who I am and where I'm coming from.
Are you content with the state of hip-hop right now? Is there anything you'd like to see change in the game?
Streetlife: I'd like to see a little more consciousness come back and a little more discipline. Music is like education — it's relaxin', too, but it's also a form of education and the young people are the future. And I feel that the music right now is not givin them any education.
Any last words?
Streetlife: Keep logging in, this is my first official interview, so this is where you need to be on, they're not goin' just for the big-name people, they goin' for the people that are workin’ hard to get to the top. That's basically what I'm all about, keep on just doin' what you doin', whatever you believe in. You may not get the reward that you expected, but you'll get something.
That's a good interview, I guess. I never knew Street got hit by a car. And why do these people keep saying "formerly" when they're talking about the Wu?