Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has accomplished a lot in just two years in the NFL. The former no. 1 overall draft pick and 2011 NFL Rookie of the Year set numerous rookie QB records, was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2012, and is already one of the best players in Panthers history.
But he's also one of the most sought-after spokesmen in the NFL, dedicated to charity, and easily one of the most stylish athletes on the planet. Cam spoke to VIBE's Evan Schwartz about his new campaign for Gatorade, Beat The Heat, plus his wide-ranging taste in music, and his acute fashion sense.
In part one of the interview, Cam explains why he'll stick to football over rocking the mic.
VIBE: Tell me about Beat The Heat and the work you are doing with Gatorade.
Cam: Beat the Heat is about bringing awareness to coaches, players, and parents to keep their athletes hydrated throughout summer sports. It’s very important for everyone’s health to stay hydrated during, and also before and after sports. We just want to bring awareness to every athlete, every coach, every parent that has a student or has anything to do with sports. Professionals do a great job because we have on-hand trainers – that’s their job, that’s what they do, they make sure everyone is aware of their health on the field. But I think the challenge is for high schools, that age range, as well as college. For coaches, don’t tell kids to be a hero, and know the difference between challenging and pushing their players in a positive way, or being obnoxious and doing a particular activity that is challenging a person’s health.
VIBE: It seems like every time I see you, you've got on giant headphones.
Cam: Partnering with Beats By Dre has been an unbelievable source for me, because I am a person that believes in different emotions with music. Music can bring about different vibes on the field, off the field, urban life, going to church, leaving church. Everything the world may bring, there’s a song for it to put you in the right frame of mind.
VIBE: What kind of music do you listen to?
Cam: Artists from Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker, Donnie McClurkin, to The Fray, to Explosions In The Sky. I listen to Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Drake, Young Jeezy, Gucci Mane, 2 Chainz, Flo Rida, Future, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Maxwell. I can go to Kenny Chesney if I want to go country - sheesh, man! There’s a lot of them. I don’t just listen to one particular style of music, especially in my locker room you have to be somewhat of a hybrid for music because we have different days when different music is played.
VIBE: How did you get such an appreciation for different kinds of music?
Cam: It started at a young age, especially being in the church. My father always wanted me to play a musical instrument and I never had that type of skill. My oldest brother, Cecil, plays the drums, and I always admired him playing and practicing. I was a fan of his, but never could make the sound he could make on the drum set. It was that, and being in church, especially being in Baptist or Pentacostal church where music can have a person on the floor catchin’ Holy Ghost! Then going to high school, being in Atlanta – you look at the top ten hottest artists right now, outside of Drake and Lil Wayne, we probably have the most artists in the country right now from Atlanta. You think of Jeezy, Gucci Mane, Future, T.I., Ludacris.
VIBE: Do you have a set playlist before games?
Cam: I know when it’s getting close to game time, I create a different playlist for each and every game. Before the game, to gametime, to warmups, going to the stadium, I have a different playlist that puts me in a different mode.
VIBE: Do you have a few songs from your playlist you can share?
Cam: Being that this is VIBE Magazine, I know people will be very familiar with the songs, but they’re very… explicit. There’s no similarity between football and ballet, so this ain’t ballet music being played on the field. I’m pumping something that’s going to put me in a frame of mind to go to war, and something that’s very high tempo and high beat.
VIBE: Have you ever tried rapping?
Cam: A lil’ something here and there, but strictly joking, nothing serious. I have a couple [rapper] friends that I talk to, and I’m aware of their work schedule. Being a successful rapper and the schedule you have to have, I don’t think my brain can form different song after song after song, and hit after hit. Especially now with mixtapes being very key, and people putting out mixtapes more than they put out albums, and coming up with different styles and different forms of music.
VIBE: You can't exactly squeeze a rap career into the NFL offseason.
Cam: Absolutely not! I’ll stick to buying their CDs and going to Best Buy to listen and find new music.
On Thursday, Part Two of the interview in which Cam discusses his clothing line and how he honed his personal style.