It’s not that King Mez suffers from a lack of self-confidence when it comes to his basketball skills. It’s just that, well, c’mon – it’s John Wall.
“I tried out for the team when I was in high school and John Wall took my spot,” King Mez said. “Hey, he’s pretty good, right. I mean it’s not like people don’t know the guy.”
Ah, the beauty of perspective.
“But my crossover… Ooh man; it was everything!” he said.
I caught up with King Mez, one of hip hop’s fastest rising stars, to chop-it-up about everything from his new album Long Live the King to the time he and rapper J. Cole squared off on the court to why he’s also “King” when it comes to Tekken Tag Tournament.
Jason Jordan: I know you went to Garner High (N.C.), were you a jock there?
King Mez: Nah I wanted to hoop; I tried out for the team when I was in high school and John Wall took my spot. Me and him grew up together and he’s my man, but he definitely took the point guard spot that I was trying to get.
JJ: Interesting; now did the coach make the right choice or was it a conspiracy?
KM: (Laughs) Uh, nah man, not at all! The way I look at that whole situation is that I lost my spot to an NBA All Star. I mean, hey, he’s pretty good, right? So when I tell that story it’s not like people don’t know the guy. I loved hooping though.
JJ: What was the best part of your game?
KM: Definitely my handles; that was really my thing. I didn’t get a jump shot until I got older, but my crossover, ooh man, it was everything. I’d dribble for like five minutes before I even took a shot. I’d just dribble unnecessarily. I still have the crossover, but, now that I’m older, my objective is to win not so much about the style points.
JJ: I’ve had J. Cole on before and he told me a similar story about his high school basketball experience.
KM: Yeah he can hoop! He’s like a big brother to me. We actually played one-on-one at his house and the problem with guarding him is he’s about 6-foot-5; I’m 5-foot-9. It’s a tough matchup, ya know. We actually played full-court one-on-one and you could tell that he wasn’t trying to break a sweat, but, at the same time, he definitely was not gonna let me win that game. He got me, he got me.
JJ: Hoopers earn a nickname for their ability when they play at Rucker Park in Harlem; what would your nickname be?
KM: Ooh, let’s see; I’d probably say Lightning because I’m quick and my crossover is quick.
JJ: Let’s go random; what do yellow traffic lights mean to you?
KM: (Laughs) Speed up. Hey, I mean I’ve got a V-8!
JJ: Which fast food restaurant has the best sandwiches?
KM: Chick-fil-A by a long shot. I mean they say things like, “My pleasure” after they help you. Who says that! I love it.
JJ: Both in their prime, who wins a heavyweight fight between Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali?
KM: I’ve got a lot of respect for Ali, but, I’m sorry, I’ve gotta go with Tyson. I mean; he might knock Ali out… Yeah I think he’d put him to sleep, and I’m a big time boxing fan so I’m not just saying that casually.
JJ: Everybody’s played truth or dare; what’s the craziest dare you’ve ever had to complete?
KM: Probably kissing a girl with her parents in the same house. That’s scary because they could come in and then it’d be over.
JJ: You tap a car in a parking lot and no one’s around; do you leave a note or do you move to another row?
KM: Ooh, well it depends on the severity of the tap. If you get out and it’s fine maybe not. But, you know, if it’s a little worse I’d want someone to be honest with me about it so I’d just be honest about it.
JJ: What sitcom intro song do you know every word to?
KM: Man how many do you want! Martin and Fresh Prince are probably my top two.
JJ: What random game will you dominate anyone at?
KM: Tekken Tag Tournament; it’s over for everyone. It’s a fighting game on PlayStation. I’m very much a nerd, by a long shot, and I was in a video game tournament in high school and I took third place. That’s my game.
JJ: What’s the most random fact that you know?
KM: That polar bears can swim 16 miles per hour.
JJ: What’s the most random song that you know every word to?
KM: Probably the intro to Seven Moons.
JJ: How would you use a rewind button in life?
KM: In those instances where a small amount of time makes a big change for the negative in your life. Like if I was at a show and jumped on a speaker and fell off, that’s WorldStar footage forever! That’s one of those times I’d have to hit my rewind button.
JJ: Finish this sentence: I can’t function without…
KM: A Philly cheesesteak. I love them.
JJ: What’s your favorite gadget?
KM: Ooh, I’m a tech guy too. My favorite gadget would be this Japanese watch my little brother bought me for my birthday. You tell the time with the light. It’s really crazy. The average person would look at it and would have no clue how to tell the time.
JJ: Who would you not want to meet in a dark alley?
KM: Probably Forest Whitaker; I don’t know why I’d just feel uncomfortable.
JJ: Talk or text?
KM: Talk by a longshot.
JJ: What was your best fortune cookie message ever?
KM: Recently, it was something like, “Continue with your heart’s desire and it shall come to pass.” It was real ill. It came at the right time.
JJ: What’s your dream collaboration in music?
KM: That’d have to be with Nas. I’m a big fan of his work. My birthday is actually on the same day that Illmatic came out, April 19.
JJ: Where’d the name “King Mez” come from?
KM: Well, my real name is Morris and coming up in high school my friends called me M-Easy. One day I was in the studio with a rapper/singer that I really look up to, his name is Base, and he said I should call myself “Mez” because M-Easy spelled out is M-E-Z. I thought that was really dope. The “King” part came from my perspective on life. It’s a character trait; for instance you’re a King if you take care of your family whether it’s monetary or intellectually. A lot of things make you a King or a Queen.
JJ: Give me your top five rappers of all time.
KM: Nas, Biggie, Lupe Fiasco, Andre 3000 and MF Doom.
JJ: You’ve got a classic project Long Live the King out now, talk about what fans can expect next from King Mez coming up?
KM: Yes, thank you so much! The new project is out and I’m happy about that. It’s a free project; just wanted to give the fans something to rock to. The reception from it has been love. I just sold out a show in my hometown and it was crazy! I’ll be doing a show in Toronto coming up and I have a show in New York coming up this month. Fans can keep up with everything through my Twitter (@KingMez) or at KingMez.com.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY