You just landed in Houston as one of the newest members of the Houston Rockets. How do you like your new surroundings so far?
Houston is cool. I’m out here for the first time as a Rocket. The city has the potential to be one of the biggest cities in America and one of the best cities in the world. There’s a lot of nice houses and a lot of good living if people can afford it. Hopefully the economy is changing so everybody’s able to have it nice. I’m looking forward to that. The good thing about being in Houston is that I’m coming in as a Houston Rocket, which I’m definitely happy about.
On the Rockets website they already got you wearing No. 96. Is that going to be your new number?
Yeah. 96 means “QB.” The “9” is the “q” and the “6” is the “b.”
Do all of your previous numbers hold significance for you?
The 93 was “QB” also but it was a lowercase “q” and an uppercase “B.” But now it’s better because it’s two lowercase letters. Lowercase and uppercase don’t really make sense. I always tell my son to begin with the uppercase and end with the lowercase. 15 is my real number. It’s my father’s high school number backwards. 23 I wear for Michael Jordan. 91 I wore for Dennis Rodman and 93 is “qB” and 96 is “qb.”
Have you spoken to Yao Ming since he apologized for making comments about your fight in Detroit?
I knew Yao Ming. I’ve talked to him a couple of times from playing and I made jokes to him and he made jokes. I was making fun of Yao Ming when I tell him I’m from the ghetto and he’s making jokes about how he hopes I don’t run into the stands. It got blown out of proportion and it’s all good. Everybody on the team says that Yao Ming is a clown and that he likes to make a lot of jokes.
You’ve got Yao, Shane Battier, Dikembe Mutombo and Luis Scola down low. You have to be happy with how deep the talent is on the Rockets.
Yeah. They want to win a ring and I want to help them win a ring.
When you were with Sacramento you said you wanted to win a ring but from looking at the team last year, it was obvious there wasn’t enough talent there to seriously contend. Do you feel like you have a legitimate chance to reach the Finals this year?
If we have Yao Ming there’s definitely a good chance. We have Tracy McGrady and everybody else and when you throw Ron Artest in the mix with that you have a hell of a team.
You’ve proven you can score in the league but scoring isn’t really a need in Houston. What do you see your role being in Houston?
I’ll probably come off the bench and come in for Tracy and keep the lead up. I’m playing with some of the best players in the lead.
Would coming off the bench bother you?
I don’t care. Whatever the team wants. As a team, you have to win together and lose together. We have to stay together so we can win as a unit. It don’t even matter. That’s why my position is to sacrifice.
Have you had a chance to speak with Tracy McGrady and other guys on the team yet?
I got a chance to speak to Tracy a couple of times and Tracy’s real cool peoples. He reached out and I’m just so happy to be a part of this team. Playing with a player like Tracy McGrady is like playing with a Kobe Bryant or a Lebron James. He’s one of the best scorers in the league. I’m happy I get to play with a Michael Jordan-type player.
Are you happy to be reunited with former Kings coach Rick Adelman?
Yeah. He’s a good coach. When I came to Sacramento from Indiana, we reached the playoffs and everybody doubted us. Everybody thought we couldn’t handle that combination and to put that duo back together and to throw it in the mix with Scola and Shane Battier and everybody else, it’s going to be tough for these other teams to try to handle us.
There’s some raw talent on the Rockets like Patrick Ewing, Jr. and Joey Dorsey. Do you think you can help them progress with your experience and defensive skills?
Definitely. I’m always looking to help people stop who they’re guarding and everything. I think I can help out.
What are you going to miss most about being a King?
I’ll miss the players and the city. You know, the city has been really good to me. The fans were great to me. They loved me and they wanted me there. So I’m definitely going to miss them and that friendship that I made in Sacramento with the city and the organization and with being a King.
What have you been working on musically?
I’ve actually been grinding. I’ve actually been grinding. It’s hard to release music all of the time. It’s hard to make noise all of the time so I’ve been behind the scenes. I’m about to drop a mixtape with DJ Drama and I got the World Wide Wariers. We’re about to do a mixtape with DJ Drama as a part 2 and then you got my man Clue who’s about to help us out a little bit. And then we got my man Kay Slay about to help us out. Everybody look out for the mixtape and go download it. It’s definitely an album but we want the people to listen to the music. All my artists are featured on the project and we’re called The World Wide Wariers. We’re the best group in Queens.
When are you going to be dropping your Gangsta Grillz mixtape?
It’s going to be coming out ASAP. We’re going to be putting out new music and we definitely want to come in the game with the music. We want to have fun but we want to make it real competitive and I know that in the rap game, there’s good times and there’s bad times and my team is pretty much ready to take over all aspects of the game.
Do you feel like hip-hop fans are accepting you more as a rapper?
I feel that people really respecting me as a person goes way further than them liking me as a basketball player. I got people who respect me and what I’m about and who have a genuine care for me. I like that and I listen to that and not “Ron shouldn’t rap.” Some people can’t rap and they sell records so if Ron Artest can rap, why can’t he? If I could sell a million records then why not do it?
And I’m getting better though. You can’t start something and not have room to improve. That’s with anything somebody’s doing. When Jay-Z started Rocawear clothing line, it was always getting better. 50 Cent is always marketing himself and he’s gotten better with marketing himself. He’s a marketing monster now and it took him years and years. I’m only 28 years-old so I got a lot of room for improving and I got a lot of room and I got a lot of room to help my artists and help the people who really need it. I got a lot of people that I can help because my artists are starving. My artists aren’t shining like everybody thinks they’re shining. My artists have to do what they do to get to where they want to be.
It seems like you’ve gotten a lot more strategic with the moves you’re making in the hip-hop game where before you were just throwing money around and not necessarily getting results.
Yeah. You know, when I first started I wanted to be on top so bad and I was spending money and all my artists wanted to get it popping so bad that every idea we thought was a good idea and in reality not every idea was a good idea. I got a much more professional and strategic team around me and they’re not going to let me do anything that’s not good for me and my family. I’ve been doing a lot of good things for my artists to get them out the ‘hood. I can’t get them out the ‘hood. They have to get themselves out the ‘hood but I’m putting them in a good position to better their lives. It’s definitely strategic and at the end of the day we have to definitely make sure that we’re making the best moves with the budget.
When are you dropping your Gangsta Grillz mixtape?
The Gangsta Grillz mixtape is coming out soon. It’s going to be avialble for download on HipHopGame and I’m putting out my own mixtape ASAP. Look out for the World Wide Wariers and my mixtape coming out with Drama. That’s coming out pretty soon, within the next month or so. We’re going to be dropping an album hopefully by January. We just want everybody’s support. All the fans that have been supporting us has been great. We’re still going to put this music together and we’re going to try and build on that and hopefully we’ll make new fans with the people that are reading this article.
What’s your focus going to be until the season opens in a couple of months?
I want to do an album with all of the Houston rappers. In a perfect world God could make that happen. I want to do an album just with only Houston rappers and nobody else. I want to work with artists like Big Pokey and Scarface and all the rest of them. And hopefully I can get that done. I think it’s going to be a good project. I want to get Bun-B even though he’s not from Houston.
And look out for my artists, definitely. We got the next journal coming soon. Stay tuned and definitely God bless.