Q&A: NFL Star Asante Samuel Talks Record Label, Tough Receivers and Retiring A Falcon
Two-time NFL Superbowl Champion (with the New England Patriots) Asante Samuel is ready to add another stellar season to his well decorated career as he enters his second year with the Atlanta Falcons. A leader with the most postseason interceptions among active players (7) and an 11-year league veteran, Samuel has already left his mark on the NFL. Yet, despite still having a ton of desire, ability and fuel left in his tank, when retirement talk surfaces he answers the topic with a direct hit. Although the Ghana native and University of Central Florida attendee has had his share of trials and tribulations from struggling to decrease his 40-yard dash time in High School to the recent passing of his mother, Samuel still has a positive outlook on his career and most importantly his life. In a recent interview with VIBE, Samuel sat down to discuss his record label, his business demeanor, and of course, football. VIBE: What made you want to start your music label, Deep Side Entertainment? Asante: First it started off as a way to give back to the hood. You know the homies and the felons that are incarcerated. You just try to keep the neighborhood and the people I grew up with out of trouble and give them jobs. Once I got into it, it became a passion of mine. Alot of athletes try to dabble into music. What separates your venture into music from other athletes? I’m a business man in the music industry and I do a lot of other businesses. So I’m very serious and I understand business. The first thing when I meet people, I talk to them and let them know I am very serious about this and I’m really into this music thing. I have a situation with a label, Fontana/Universal. How did you link up with Fontana/Universal? You know just networking and grinding. Just grinding and going places and meeting everybody. There’s a guy named Ron Spaulding, the president at Fontana. We met and he liked the business plan I had going on so they gave me the opportunity, so I’m running with it. What does the world have to look forward to from with Deep Side Entertainment? Right now we have a single out on iTunes called “Still Do it” by Young AC and we put out a mixtape called Tipo815 and his next mixtape will be Barchetta 166. His aka name is Ferrari Young so those names of those mixtapes start from the first Ferrari to the second Ferrari and so on.
What kind of reception are you getting from the single and the mixtape? A lot of downloads, a lot of people making good comments about it. You know, once people meet him and see who he is and his charisma and star-power, they fall in love with him. He’s very talented. He can write R&B, he can write rap, he can write hood music, gutta music. He’s very versatile. I know you’re balling for most of the year…are you involved in the day-to-day operation of Deep Side or do you step back and put your trust in a business partner to run the label? Yeah, definitely. I’m in full control, but you know when I’m busy playing football and other things, my brother is the president of Deep Side. He handles the day-to-day operations. He gets into the streets, he hits the clubs with DJs. You know he have our Street Team and Promo team to make it happen in the streets. Now we’re going to make the transition to the gridiron. Being in your 11th year and second season with the Falcons, did you think it would last this long and what do you do to keep your playing intensity high and playing like you’re young? I never knew I would grow up to live a dream of playing in the NFL. I couldn’t dream this big. 11th year in the league, Pro-bowl, Superbowl so its definitely a blessing. You know God got me covered and the way I keep myself young is the off-season training. Working on the explosiveness, your quickness and your speed. So that’s what I focus on during the off-season. You’ve played in the NFC East, AFC East and now you’re in the NFC South. Which division had the toughest wide receivers to cover? I think it was when I was in Philly. You know playing against the Cowboys, the Giants and the Redskins I would say was definitely tough, but you know in Atlanta, they have some pretty good talent there too so you know the NFL is just tough period. Could you see yourself retiring as a Falcon? Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. That’s my plan and hopefully my plans go through. So hopefully, I’m signed two more years with Atlanta so we’ll see how things go. You’re 39th on the all-time interceptions list with 50. Can you see yourself perhaps cracking the top 10 list or becoming number 1? Of All-time? Yeah, before retiring. Yeah. I’m still… I’m one of the young guys. They get out there and run around and I run around with them and I’m just as fast and quick as them. I make plays everyday. I compete hard so you know in my heart, yeah I think I will. I already broke the playoff record for the most touchdowns in the playoffs, so yeah, I think I’ll be breaking more records. Do you have a game-day playlist? Yeah, but I’m a little bias. A lot of my artists have crunk songs and I listen to them. But I listen to T.I., Jeezy, Lil Wayne. You know I started off in college listening to music to get me crunked, but I was getting to wild so I kind of stopped listening to music unless they playing it loud in the locker room. – D.J. Larsen (@Lowkey_D) Photo Credit: Espn