From The Game to DJ Khaled to Waka Flocka Flame, hip hop artists have come on to the Celeb Chop-Up and made the brash claim of being the No. 1 hooper in the genre, yet, Los Angeles rapper Nipsey Hussle is adamant that they’ve had it wrong all along.
“None of them can see me,” Nipsey Hussle said. “We can line it up.”
When asked about the strongest piece of evidence to back up his claim, the west coast emcee referenced his wicked Allen Iverson-like crossover.
“It was tough!” he said.
We caught up with Nipsey Hussle to chop-it-up about everything from his skills on the court to his new album “Victory Lap” to why he wants to see another installment of the movie “ATL.”
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 played coming up?
Nipsey Hussle: Mainly basketball and football.
JJ: Which were you better at?
NH: I’d say basketball.
JJ: Everybody had a shining moment when they just had it all going; tell me about yours.
NH: Oh man! Yeah it was in middle school back when (Allen) Iverson had just done that crossover on Michael Jordan and everybody was trying to do it. I was serving dudes with that cross! It was tough! I actually met A.I. two months ago randomly and I told him that story and we ended up laughing and hanging out all night.
JJ: So you were really good!
NH: Well, I used to be one of the better players in my age group, but I’m probably not as polished as I used to be. But my IQ is still up there.
JJ: Where would you rank among rappers on the court?
NH: Man, can’t none of them see me bro! We can line it up and get on the court and test that out. The only one that may give me a run is 2 Chainz, he’s pretty good!
JJ: Love the confidence! OK, let’s take it random; what’s the first thing that pops into your head when approaching a yellow traffic light?
NH: I check the other direction to see if I run it will I get smacked. If it’s clear, I’m going.
JJ: Very responsible! What movie absolutely deserves another installment?
NH: Oh “ATL!” I’m gonna throw my girl (Lauren London) an alley-oop with that one.
JJ: Good pick. What’s the most overused slang word or phrase out currently?
NH: Brand and culture. No disrespect to The Migos because I mess with them and I like what they’re doing. Outside of them, people use those too much.
JJ: OK, 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?
NH: (Laughs) Hussle The Great! Like Alexander!
JJ: I like it. OK, if you would 100 percent get away with it which crime would you commit?
NH: (Laughs) Oh we’re robbing a bank. That’s easy.
JJ: Absolutely. Which competition-based reality show would you absolutely win?
NH: Hmm… That’s a good one, let me see. I’ll say “The Four” with Khaled and Puff.
JJ: I could see that. 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?
NH: (Laughs) You want honesty?
JJ: Yes, indeed.
NH: I’ve never left nobody a note bro, but I respect if someone hit my bumper and didn’t leave me a note. I’d just chalk that up.
JJ: What was your worst childhood punishment?
NH: Getting kicked out of the house for sure. Momma told me pack it up!
JJ: OK, what random fact can you tell me right now?
NH: The speed of light is 283 miles per second.
JJ: Impressive! If you could go back and get the truth about one past mystery which would you choose?
NH: That’s a great question; I’d want to know how they built the pyramids. They still can’t explain that.
JJ: If you could be any famous athlete for 72 hours who would you pick?
NH: Man… I would probably be MJ in ’96 playing the Utah Jazz five minutes before he hit that shot.
JJ: Good one. Tell me about the STEM Center and the programs you’re starting.
NH: Well, it’s a combination and the first element is called Vector 90 and that’s the science, technology, engineering and math of incubators, if you will. The premise is to create a pipeline from the inner city, starting with South Central, L.A., to Silicone Valley to these companies that have a stated lack of diversity and an intention to resolve that. The second part of it is called Too Big To Fail and it’s a shared space model. It’s office space in the city for young entrepreneurs who have business ideas, tech ideas, app ideas to be able to rent space that’s affordable. One element is that if you can’t afford the rent you can offer your time to rent the space. It also creates a synergy of creators. It just brings like-minded individuals together. Then when you do create something that needs funding to get to the next level my partner David Gross and I will be the round one investment if we believe in it.
JJ: Wow, very innovative! Your other big project is the new album “Victory Lap” which will be out Friday. Talk about what fans can expect?
NH: Thanks man. I appreciate that. With the album it’s a collection of narratives about the uphill battle of getting to this point. Just being able to have a venture with a major label, to be able to exist and make the progress that we made as an independent, to come out of South Central in the 1990s and 2000s when gangbanging and killing was at its peak… It’s all that. That uphill battle from an emotional standpoint, as a hustler, as a human being, as a young kid who’s first generation American since my dad is from Africa; it’s all the collection of stories in a musical form. Just people hearing the details of these stories is inspiring. Like me and my brother being able to accumulate a lot of money then burying a quarter of a million dollars in my mom’s backyard and digging it up a couple years later and seeing that over a hundred thousand of it was molded and wouldn’t be able to be spent. Just having my mom, my little sister and us being in the living room washing the money off trying to salvage it. Just giving the intimates details of stories like this; that’s what “Victory Lap” is.
JJ: Are there features on the album?
NH: Yes, there are a lot of incredible artists on the album; I’m in good company. I’m really proud of these songs more than from a level of music just how we were able to channel the stories in to these records. Not just for the sake of telling them either; there’s entertainment value, but also inspirational value too.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY