Before suffering a devastating knee injury during last year's first round series vs. the Miami Heat, Iman Shumpert established himself as one of the game's best perimeter defenders. Since then, he's been busy growing a hi-top fade that would rival Kid from Kid-N-Play and recording his new mixtape, "Th3 #post90s" under the rapper alias 2wo 1ne. And unlike most NBA players turned rappers, Shump can actually get down on the mic, making our list of the 20 best sports rap references of 2012. We caught up with the New York Knicks guard to talk about his music, his return, Stephen Jackson and more.
You have a new mixtape dropping. Are you excited about it?
I’m actually extremely excited about it. It’s been done for a little while now and we’re just waiting on a date to release it, so I’m happy we finally have a date.
Is this rap thing for fun or are you going to take it serious?
I take it serious, but it’s not like I’m trying to have a career. It’s just something I’m going to continue to do throughout my basketball career. I’ve always done it. It’s for me, it’s not like I’m going to try and actually sell records.
I was going to ask you if your career is going to be more like Kobe or more like Shaq’s?
[Laughs] I wouldn’t compare myself to either of them. I think they both did their thing and my thing is my thing.
You’re just doing it as a hobby?
Is the mixtape all original songs?
I think there are some beats on there that aren’t original, but for the most part everything on there is original.
Explain the name of the mixtape and your rapper alias.
The 2wo 1ne thing is a spin on my No. 21 jersey and also 2wo 1ne represents two people in one. The mixtape is called Th3 #post90s because I was born in ‘90 and I actually miss the ‘90s. I wish I was in my 20s during the ‘90s to really fully live it. I feel like that was a pretty exciting time being from Chicago, seeing Jordan win six rings. That was a time I would love to be older in and now I see myself as a collection of the ‘90s. I sort of got trapped in the ‘90s. The post ‘90s is about somebody who lives a ‘90s lifestyle today.
The 2wo 1ne thing is a spin on my No. 21 jersey and also 2wo 1ne represents two people in one.
That’s how we can explain the hi-top fade then?
Yeah definitely. It’s my dedication to all my favorite players that had it. Most of the ‘90s Knicks wore it at one time or another. I grew mine like Skywalker. A little higher than everyone elses, but I’m just having fun with it. It’s something I wanted to do. It was a hairstyle I’ve never had before. This and dreads, but I don’t think I’m going to have dreads. I’m sticking with the hi-top.
How do you feel about some of these cats biting your hair style?
It’s cool. I like it. I want people to wear it because they like it. If you just wear it just to wear it, it’s pretty shitty, but if you like the fade go and rock it. Make it look good, don’t just have one.