I’m good, man. I’m real blessed. I just celebrated a birthday. I had a surprise party the other day. I feel wonderful, man.
Your single “Cold World” is officially being released. What does that song mean to you?
It means a lot to me. First of all, it’s a basketball-driven song but it can relate to anything in life. If you’ve ever overcome poverty, overcome something or are going through something now, if you need that adrenaline rush, this song is called for you. I wrote it for a soundtrack for a movie about Quentin Richardson, who was making the jump from high school for the NBA. You have to make a decision where you have to decide if you’re doing it because your family needs support or if you’re doing it for the love.
You stress hard work and perseverance in the song. Not looking at the basketball perspective of “Cold World,” how much of the song can you relate to your career up to now?
Honestly, 100% of it. That’s why I think the song means so much to so many different people. I came out in 2001 with the ESPN “The Life” joint. Now we’re in 2007 and I’m still talking to you. Most artists then that did anything are probably struggling now in a 9 -5. I’ve been fortunate that I have the talent to produce, write songs and work with other artists. I’m still functioning. I don’t have a 9 – 5 and I haven’t worked a 9 – 5 since I got my record deal. It’s just a thing where I sat down and told myself, ‘This is a dream that I’m living. I have to stick at if I want to get any bigger and travel anymore. I have to stick at it.’ So here I am.
What are your goals for “Cold World”?
Besides the song getting everywhere and the video taking off, I want to know what Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett think about the record because it was about them too. They all made the jump from high school to the NBA. Those are all successful dudes. I don’t even know where Darius Miles is now but Quentin Richardson is still in it. This record is a tribute to them. I just want to know their honest opinions about the record and how they feel about that. I want “Cold World” to be No. 1 on the charts, inspire people and get the interest of distribution companies or a big producer who can help me with my career. I hope they can see my talent from this song.
Have you ever heard from athletes about your previous songs like “The Life” or “Charlie Hustle”?
When I did “The Life,” I did a Super Bowl party for ESPN. That was one of the good things that came out of that situation. There were a lot of football players there and they loved it, but I don’t think they could relate to it directly. They liked them music and congratulated me on it. I know a couple of dudes who played Rucker and they love “Cold World.” A lot of athletes who are doing it hit me on the MySpace. There’s a team out in Connecticut and “Cold World” is their theme song. That’s a good look.
Are those the fans you’re doing this for?
Absolutely. How many artists can say that? No disrespect to artists, but how many artists out there can say that they actually inspire people? That’s dope. That’s fresh. Right now, there’s no money in it for me but it’s my blood, sweat and tears. I wrote it, I produced it and I mixed it. That’s 100% me.
“Aroma Therapy” is your b-side. How did you come up with that?
That has a real acoustic feel. My man played it and I chopped it up. It has a smooth vibe to it. It has a nice bounce to it and you haven’t heard that from me for a long time. Although “Cold World,” can’t play in the club, “Aroma Therapy” can.
Your biggest songs have all been sports-related. Why is that?
I just ran with the whole Major League theme. They used to do these funky covers with Reggie Jackson and a Cash Brown record had OJ Simpson and “Double Homicide” on the cover. It was just a situation where there were sports and hip-hop and nobody else was doing that. I had done the theme song for ESPN. My first single, “Home Run Kings,” first jumped off on Fox Sports. When the Yankees went against the Red Sox, I had done a short promo. I’m just trying to keep that angle. “Pony Express” came about when Pony was doing a whole campaign with Pete Rose. When they started the campaign, they just wanted a song to add to it. When opportunity knocks, you have to open the door.
Throughout all your trials and tribulations on the industry side of things, has there ever been a time when you got so frustrated with the hip-hop game that you considered leaving it?
I’ve definitely second-guessed this music business. I sold my first beats to Camp Lo and I was making money. It was definitely discouraging when Major League shut down. I didn’t know if I should continue doing it, go full-steam with the production or what I should do. I traveled all over the world and that part I miss, but I kept on rocking.
Why have you stayed with Major League this whole time?
It’s been frustrating. Anytime you’re dealing with a label…I’m not going to lie, we branded a name. Cats really knew about Major League. Places we went, I didn’t really think cats would know but they did. It’s frustrating that Major League didn’t keep things going. People out there knew what was going on with Major League. There’s definitely a resurgence now, so I’m just trying to keep that going and keep that consistent from here on out.
How is your production going?
It’s going well. I don’t shop beats anymore. I keep everything in-house. I have a young dude I’m working with named Xpo. He’s real fly and a real lyrical cat. I’m just going to try to help artists now. I’m in a situation where I can help artists. Just look for that. I’m not really shopping to artists unless they come to me. I have a team that I’m working with to put my production on display.
What’s going on with the Tribeca album?
The new album is untitled. WAR, my first album, is still waiting to come out. I have a new album and I’m not sure of the title yet. I was working with the title One Man Band because I write and produce, but Swizz has the title The One Man Band and that’s too close for comfort.
How’s the album coming?
It’s dope. Right now, I have one more track to record and then I’m mixing it and I’m through. “Cold World” is on this album. I’ll see how “Cold World” does and then go from there. I can either release it digitally or get it in stores.
Is WAR ever going to come out?
I hope so. That was me fresh and untrained. I was just spitting. There’s definitely a form of me that I don’t sound like today. I consider that dope, but WAR was just me untainted. I was a beast. I was a warrior there. I had a marksman-type vibe at that point.
How’s the children’s series Hey Young World been going?
That is going dope. There’s a book that’s about to come out that couples with the Volume 1 CD. The sales for Volume 1 have been wonderful. If you don’t have it, please get it. You can get that online at CDBaby. Volume 2 is coming out and we’re also working on an extracurricular CD. If you’ve heard Volume 1, there’s a song about gym class. This CD is going to have songs that kids can exercise to. We need that in America. I need it too.
How’s your former hypeman Kobaine doing?
He’s out in Michigan. He’s a guidance counselor at a school out in Michigan and he’s doing that. That’s dope. He came to me and asked me what he should do and I told him to go teach. He’s teaching, doing that bread and doing something great, helping things in the world, hopefully.
What are your plans for the summer?
Well, the next few months, once this album is done I’m going to mix it down and master it. We’re going to see what “Cold World” does. I’m looking to tour and I’m looking to start working with other artists and just go from there. Hopefully “Cold World” does what it has to do. We have a basketball-oriented video for “Cold World” too. Once we get these edits done, we’ll be straight.
What do you want to say to everybody?
Stick with me. I need that support. Thank you. Stick with the music and if you want to be inspired and if you have ambitions to do anything in the world and you need something to inspire you, check out “Cold World.” It’s on my MySpace. Listen to it, leave me a comment, add me as a friend, don’t stalk me too much and we’ll be straight.