Since first hearing your verse and seeing his response on twitter, I wanted to know what you thought about the exchange between you and Phil Jackson after "Control"?
I still gotta speak my peace to Phil. It’s a beautiful thing, first of all. Second of all, I have to go back and say how big of a fan I was, and still am, of Phil. [I’ve been a fan of his] since the Bulls and Lakers, so for him to actually acknowledge me in the light of music was something unexpected. I thought it was dope. But I don’t want to be on Phil’s bad side, so he’s the only person I will apologize to (both laugh) about the line. Phil Jackson. I’ll tweet that tomorrow.
I mean, it did grab the NBA’s attention though because you’re the one they looked to for the league-wide anthem this year with the song “i”. How’d that connection come about and does it speak to how you’re becoming more of a global icon?
"I don’t want to be on Phil’s bad side, so he’s the only person I will apologize to [both laugh] about the line. Phil Jackson. I’ll tweet that tomorrow."
Yeah, yeah, it’s a crazy feeling. I did the record and of course the record has a universal feel. Everybody can relate to it. They just grabbed on to it, ya know. I think from their standpoint, what that record represents for them is the players giving their all and in order to do that, and be a top athlete, you have to go within yourself and love yourself in order to beat your body up physically and mentally. It’s a beautiful thing to know how time and maturity can take it to the next level.
Unfortunately, songs like “i” don’t always get that much air play. As one of hip hop’s leaders right now, are you trying to shift the culture and make positive cool?
I’ve always had more spirituality in my music than anything, from a good and bad standpoint. So I guess, with a lot of things [in hip hop] that are going on that I feel is monotonous. It’s only right to have that balance and I’m gonna bring that balance whether you like it or not because, when you’re making hip-hop and you’re creating, everybody shouldn’t sound the same. Period.
I don’t care what you’re doing. I don’t care if you’re humming on a track for eight minutes, the next person shouldn’t be humming on a track for eight minutes. So within saying that, and me going into my creative world, I do things that not only reflect myself but reflect the people that actually go through real life situations. A lot of times people don’t go through humming on a track for eight minutes in real life. So I always just like to bring that balance like I’ve always been doing.
We asked Stalley if we took a pairing of the best rapper and best ball player from different major cities around the country and let them play two-on-two who would win. With him and LeBron representing for Cleveland, who would you pick to play with: James Harden, DeMarr DeRozan or Russell Westbrook? And would you want to play or would you let Game represent for the West Side?
I’d want to play. I think I still got it. I would have to pick DeMar to play with just because he comes from the city, he’s from right down the street. I would like to still show that unity and competitiveness. We still didn't' forgot, I went to Centennial High while [DeMar] was over there on that other side [laughs
]. But we’d go ahead and make it work.
You worked with Prince recently. What other legends outside of rap do you want to work with?
I always wanted to work with Sade
. I know [Sade} is the group, but I always wanted to work with her. She has a very, very nice voice. Since day one, Anita Baker and Patti LaBelle too. Those are the only people I can think of straight off the top of the head.