With over 15 years in the rap game Crooked I has seen a lot of change. He was on Virgin Records before becoming part of Death Row roster back in the early 2000s, and today he’s a one-fourth of the rap supergroup Slaughterhouse on Shady. One thing that’s always remained the same for the Long Beach MC is his love of sports and especially L.A. based teams.
With the upcoming release of Slaughterhouse's Welcome to: Our House we caught up with Crooked I to talk about the new look of his Los Angeles Lakers, which athletes he hates and who's his pick to win the NBA Finals this year.
Interview by Ralph Warner
What were your thoughts at the beginning of the NBA season?
I was scared, dog. If you’re a real Laker fan and you wasn’t scared when Phil Jackson left, and you wasn’t scared when fucking [Lamar] Odom was gone, and you wasn’t scared that we didn’t have the triangle no more, then you’re not a real Laker fan! [Laughs.] So I was loving that they were the able to take the third-seed in the West.
Also, you’ve been known to drop a lot Lakers or Kobe references in your rhymes. If there was one ball player you could compare to yourself who would it be?
And why is that?
Because he’s just a beast man, on the court, he got that instinct. I love LeBron [James], and he will go down in history but he has to get that real killer instinct to close games.
Even if Kobe misses the shot, he doesn’t care. And I already knew he was gonna have that when he was young because he was stinking up the place when he came and he just didn’t care, he kept gunning.
What were some of your favorite sports memories growing up?
Man, just watching Magic Johnson when I was a kid. Watching Magic and the Lakers play, that was always beautiful. I’m a Raiders fan so you know I have to include being a kid and watching the L.A. Raiders when they were still in Los Angeles. I was five years old running around saying “I’m Bo Jackson! I’m Bo Jackson!" When they beat the Redskins that one time in the Super Bowl 38-9, that was a big deal for me. Also all the Laker championships.
I’ve been there, too. I’ve been sitting right there in the fucking Staples Center and The Forum. It’s just the excitement, the energy; it’s just dope man. That’s why I feel people when they get passionate about sports and you know wanna fuck somebody up for reppin' the wrong team. Like going to the Raider game and somebody got on a San Diego Chargers jersey, it’s like “OK nigga, come over here!” [Laughs.]
On the flipside of that, what are some of your worst sports memories?
I'mma tell you straight up: When Charles Woodson played for the Raiders, we’re playing the Patriots, and they did that fucking whatever that rule that they made.
The Tuck Rule.
The tuck rule. That was fucking cheating dog, we was going to the Super Bowl, you know what I’m saying? I hate that day! I fucking hate that day, somebody pulled that shit up on YouTube one day and I almost threw the fucking computer monitor out my office. I hate that day.
What are some athletes and teams that you grew up hating?
Boston Celtics, Denver Broncos, and Kansas City Chiefs.
Are there any particular players that really pissed you off?
Oh yes, for sure. [John] Elway used to piss me off all the time when I was a kid. Also any Celtic, I don’t give a fuck who it is. I used to love Kevin Garnett till he went to the Celtics. Fucking Paul Pierce too, I hate the fucking Celtics! [Laughs.]
Do you ever hit up the courts yourself?
Yeah, matter of fact me and my group play often. Outside of Em’s studio, he has a basketball court so we played H.O.R.S.E. last time we were in Detroit. Fucking Joell [Ortiz] won and shit. [Laughs.]
Who’s the nicest out of the Slaughterhouse and the Shady family?
Probably Joell. It would have been Royce but he broke his arm while arm-wrestling. It would have been out of him and Joelle, but right now since he got his bad arm, it's Joell. That nigga’s nice man, that nigga’s nice.
What are your predictions for the rest of the Playoffs?
Well, I’m going with the Lakers first and foremost, but if the Lakers get put out, it might be Thunder-Heat.
Who do you have in that series?
Probably the Heat. I hate the Heat too, I can’t stand fucking Heat.