Rotimi is best known as either “Dre” the infamous understudy of James “Ghost” St. Patrick on Starz’s hit series Power or as an R&B crooner with the new album Jeep Music.
What you probably don’t know is that before he was playing every side against each other on Power and teaming up with T.I. and 50 Cent to drop hot singles, Rotimi was a “Jason Kidd-like” point guard running the show for Columbia High School (Maplewood, N.J.).
“I was the man!” Rotimi said. “I was actually captain. I could play. I had two D-III offers.”
We caught up with Rotimi to chop-it-up about everything from his balling skills to why everyone loves to hate his character Dre on Power to his new album Jeep Music to what everyone can expect from Sunday’s season finale.
Jason Jordan: We’re a sports entity first, so I always like to gauge the sports backgrounds and experiences of all of my guests on the Celeb Chop-Up; I’m curious about what sports you tried growing up?
Rotimi: Basketball, football, baseball and soccer.
JJ: What was your best sport?
R: I was actually captain of the basketball team.
JJ: OK! So how good is good?
R: (Laughs) Oh now I was the man! That was my team. I could play for real. I had two D-III offers.
JJ: What position did you play?
R: Point guard.
JJ: OK, so everyone had that moment when everything was going right for them in their particular sport. Talk to me about that day for you.
R: Oh yeah! It was my senior year against East Orange and our best player got injured and I took over with the scoring. Usually I’m more a Jason Kidd-like player, but I had 24 points, all on threes.
JJ: That’ll get it done! OK, let’s take it random; what’s the first thing that pops into your head when approaching a yellow traffic light?
R: Keep going!
JJ: What movie absolutely deserves another installment?
JJ: Good call. I’m just curious, what would the storyline be?
R: He’d be training a new Hitch to takeover for him and that new Hitch would be me.
JJ: Well played sir, very well played. What’s the most overused slang word or phrase out currently?
JJ: President Obama’s Secret Service code name was Renegade, President Trump’s is Mogul; if you were President what would you pick your code name to be?
R: (Laughs) Chosen One.
JJ: I like it. OK, if you would 100 percent get away with it which crime would you commit?
R: (Laughs) I’d rob a bank.
JJ: Which competition-based reality show would you absolutely win?
R: I’m a businessman so I’ll say Shark Tank.
JJ: Here’s the scenario: You tap a car in a parking lot and no one’s around, do you move to a different row or do you leave a note?
R: Leave a note.
JJ: Gotcha, so you’re running the red light, but you’ll leave that note.
R: (Laughs) I know, I know.
JJ: What was your worst childhood punishment?
R: (Laughs) Not being able to go outside for a week.
JJ: What sitcom intro song do you know every word to?
R: Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
JJ: OK, unfortunately, you’ve found yourself in the Witness Protection Program, what’s your new name going to be?
R: (Laughs) Daddy.
JJ: Ooook, well, Rotimi, let me help you so the mob doesn’t find you in this rural town you’ve been relocated to; the goal is to remain off the radar.
R: (Laughs) OK, OK, I’ll go with Ishmael.
JJ: Ishmael is gonna live longer than Daddy for sure.
R: (Laughs) Very true!
JJ: What random fact can you tell me right now?
R: When I was 13 years old I was one of the best soccer players in the state in my age group.
JJ: Impressive. Blindfolded can you tell the difference between Pepsi and Coke?
R: (Laughs) Oh no!
JJ: On The Walking Dead you have to be the ultimate survivor to live; which character on Power would have the best chance in that world?
R: Ooh, I’d have to say Ghost. He’s very smart and meticulous and he knows how to talk his way out of things and in to things that benefit him. Tommy would die out there trying to do too much and Kanan would get killed getting in to the wrong thing with the wrong people. I think Ghost and Dre would do well in that world.
JJ: If you could go back and get the truth about one past mystery which would you choose?
R: The whole truth about the Twin Towers.
JJ: Good one. OK, let’s talk about the new album Jeep Music. First, congrats on reaching 3 million streams; that’s big. I heard the single Nobody and loved that; talk about what fans can expect from the album.
R: Thanks so much for that Jason. Jeep Music is a true story about my ex-girlfriend and me going in to becoming a new celebrity. It’s a story about two kids trying to figure it out. It was a lot for us. She actually drives a white Jeep. It’s a time capsule of a love story that goes in order of what happened starting from my new single Want More that tells the story of how we met up until the last record. It’s a good vibe and a good, easy listen and it’s a good story.
JJ: Very cool. Now let’s talk about Power and your character Dre. Why does everyone want you dead?
R: (Laughs) You know what, I think Tariq (Michael Rainey Jr.) said it best when he said if you’re able to affect people to have such a big reaction to you as a character then you’re doing an amazing job.
JJ: Agree 100 percent. Do you think Dre is misunderstood?
R: Yes. People love to hate Dre, but he’s a Baby Ghost. People forget that Ghost did the same thing that Dre is doing. Ghost actually put his mentor and friend, Kanan, in prison. People forget that Julio was Dre’s enemy, he wasn’t his friend, so Dre got rid of him. Dre is just a Baby Ghost.
JJ: I think Tariq solidified himself as the most hated character slot with last week’s episode.
R: Oh definitely.
JJ: Sell us on the finale; is it going to be as epic as we all are anticipating it to be?
R: Definitely! You’re gonna love it. This will be the No. 1 episode of the whole series so make sure you guys tune in.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY