Hot Rod has played basketball practically his whole life. But for him, the game is secondary to music, as the 50 Cent-signed artist has his new album set for release this fall. With his single “Dance With Me” going viral, I had the chance to speak with Hot Rod on the latest in basketball and his music.
*** *** ***
Dime: How long have you been a basketball fan?
Hot Rod: I’m a die-hard fan of Michael Jordan. And I kind of transferred my love to Kobe Bryant.
Dime: So are you a Laker fan or just a Kobe fan?
Hot Rod: Yeah I’m a Laker fan. Through Kobe. So you can call me a Laker fan.
Dime: Did you ever play basketball?
Hot Rod: I played in high school. I played all four years. I still play every once in a while.
Dime: Is there a memory that stands out in your mind from your playing days?
Hot Rod: Me and a couple of my buddies, I was a junior or senior in high school and we won Hoop It Up, 3-on-3, the tournament. It was held in Sacramento, California. That was probably the one moment that I do remember of my basketball days.
Dime: What are your thoughts on this past season, including LeBron and the Big Three?
Hot Rod: I’m kind of like everyone else. Kind of lost a little bit of utter respect for LeBron, for him not staying with Cleveland. That was his team. He just jumped ship and went to Miami just to try to win the championship. I think it was a bad look, the fact that they weren’t able to complete the mission. I know there’s a lot of heat on them, no pun intended. But you can tell that it’s Dwyane Wade‘s team. You see the intensity, you see the courage that Wade has and it’s like LeBron just kind of falls back, you know, when it came to crunch time. I think he’s gonna win a couple championships before he retires. But his legacy just really took a hit when he left Cleveland. I said when he actually went over there to the Heat he became Scottie Pippen, when he was Jordan of the Cavaliers. He kind of got demoted, you know, when he made that move.
Dime: What are your thoughts on the lockout?
Hot Rod: I’m just trying to keep up on it. It’s kind of frustrating, of course, with the whole lockout situation. I’m not really sure where they’re at in negotiations. But it is kind of frustrating with that lockout, with the NFL lockout. It’s like all these millionaires and billionaires arguing over money. It’s just crazy. I know a lot of fans are gonna be real sad. I’m definitely one of them, because basketball season is a big part of my life as far as entertainment, you know, just hanging out with my boys and chilling and things like that so it is real frustrating. Hopefully they do get the season rolling.
Dime: You’re on 50 Cent’s label. How did that come about?
Hot Rod: I’ve been signed to him since 2006. How I got signed was, I sent him the demo. I had got a demo to someone from Arizona who was working with G-Unit. His name’s Taurus Scott. So he pretty much got me lined up. He got my CD in 50’s hand and as soon as 50 heard the CD, he was on a flight from L.A. to New York, as soon as he landed he called me and pretty much he just offered me a position on his label. It was just crazy cause usually you don’t get signed off a demo like that. But that was in 2006, and you know, I came out with my first single, didn’t do too well, bringing it up to date, now I got moved over to his new label, G-Note Records, which is geared more for R&B, pop, anything other than the aggressive hip-hop material that G-Unit will represent. That’s my current situation. I’m on G-Note Records and I’m the flagship artist of that. I got a lot of pressure on my back, and it’s really good though.
Dime: What’s it like working with 50 Cent?
Hot Rod: It’s cool because he’s like a big brother. He passes on a lot of knowledge. You know, of course there’s a lot of pressure too because he’s such a megastar. He’s like the hardest-working man in the game. He’s the guy that will get up at six in the morning and go work out, go to the studio all day, have meetings, go to sleep at one in the morning and then wake up again at six in the morning and do the same thing all over again. So that puts the pressure on me to work that hard as well just so I can impress him. He’s definitely a good role model to look up to and a great businessman. He has a lot of knowledge. He’s educated me a lot in the game. Definitely appreciative of him.
Dime: What made you change your style to dance-type music?
Hot Rod: When you travel the world, there’s different experiences, you’re influenced by different types of music, different cultures, and that’s pretty much what happened. I was touring for three-and-a-half years straight. I went to over 20, 25 countries. Asia, Europe, UK, UAE. So you gotta think, I was hearing different styles of music, and going to the clubs, I just did so many shows, so many things, met so many people. That just opened my ears. And I compare it to soccer. Soccer in the States, it’s not the biggest sport in the USA. But soccer is the biggest sport in the world. So house music and dance music, that’s the biggest type of music in the world. That’s all you hear. You don’t go overseas, and you don’t hear like a Rick Ross all day. You don’t hear Lil Wayne. You’d hear like David Guetta. You hear like all the house DJs and different types of interest. I just really got deep into the music and I started to create more on that level. And it’s fun, it’s a great vibe. And I just like to party, have a good time. So that type of music really fits within my personality as well so that’s kind of how I got into that.
Dime: How did your video with Keenan Cahill come about?
Hot Rod: We reached out. Keenan’s real cool. Keenan and 50 did the “Down On Me” video. So the relationship was already there between the camp and Keenan and his people. So we just kind of made it happen. We were in Vegas at the same time. So we went down, talked, had a good time. And we just took the video. We’re all cool, pretty much like family, just following the 50 Cent-Keenan video which is at like 35 million views right now. Big shout out to Keenan, hope he gets well real soon. He just had surgery so wishes go out to him.
Dime: What are your future plans with the album coming out this fall?
Hot Rod: My plans are to tour, for the album to be successful, of course. Just looking forward to seeing how everyone receives the music. Cause I’m really excited. I have a lot of good music on the album. And it gives you a look into my lifestyle as far as having a good time, partying, you know, just living free, no regrets. Just every night is a Friday night. And that’s pretty much what the album represents. All up-tempo, dance, fun, high energy. So I’m just real excited for it to come out. For everybody, just to hear the feedback. Just to see everybody enjoy what I’ve been creating for the past year in the studio.
Dime: Are you working on another album right now?
Hot Rod: I’m still recording. I have a lot of music. So when it comes down to it I’m gonna have to choose all the final records for this first album which I pretty much have, but you never stop recording until you actually turn the album in. I literally had maybe three albums done already but I had to take the right songs for this first album. So I guess you could say I’m working on a lot of albums right now at this point.
You can follow Hot Rod on Twitter at @OfficialHotRod.
Follow Rachel on Twitter at @racmar.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.