Dime Q&A: Hip-Hop Star Problem Explains Why He’s The Kobe Bryant Of Rap

04.08.13 6 years ago
Two weeks ago, XXL revealed their 2013 Freshman List. While many potential candidates lashed out against the picks, Cali’s Problem simply brushed it off. According to Problem, he has a lot of other reasons to smile. Problem has proven to be a multi-faceted artist because of his innate ability to carve hooks, develop beats from scratch, engineer records, and of course, showcase his verbose wordplay on the mic. The exuberant rapper etched himself a pretty nice lane with his team Diamond Lane as he has been featured on tracks with the likes of Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, E-40, Young Jeezy, French Montana, Snoop Dogg and more. This past year he was featured on four tracks for Wiz Khalifa‘s Cabin Fever 2 and has harvested a lot of recognition because of his poignant hooks.

After being dubbed the name Problem for his on the court abilities, he’s now being labeled a problem for delivering hits. In this interview with Dime, he talks about his relationship with Wiz Khalifa, why Kobe and the Lakers will cause havoc in the playoffs, being hybrid of Damon Stoudamire and Stephon Marbury on the courts, and why The Separation with DJ Drama will push him over the top.

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Dime: The last time you and I spoke was nearly a year ago. Since then you’ve appeared on big name tracks featuring Wiz Khalifa, Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, E-40 and more. Talk about your progression and sudden transformation within that year span.
Problem: Thanks man. I mean I’m part of great time in Diamond Lane Music Group. They keep me working. They keep me humble. They keep me confident, man. They keep me in the studio and they keep me being me. I’m just happy that they’re allowing me to represent them. I love my team because they’re really turning me up. Because of them, I’m able to do what I wanna do. That’s just what it been. I mean, I’m a studio head anyway. I’m a junkie for this music.

Dime: I hear you man. What’s funny is I remember when Cabin Fever 2 came out. I saw the tracklist and was like, “Oh man. This guy Wiz showed mad love to Problem.” He had you on four records. Talk about how that relationship with Wiz came about.
PB: Well a lot of people don’t know, Carl, that me and him been friends for a long time man. I’ve known him since like ’06-07. He was at Warner Bros and was over there with my brother Terrace (Martin). We kind of linked through him. We were always cool. And then you know he did this thing. We kind of reconnected through a mutual friend – through Bird. I work with him. Then he hit me up on the jack like, “P! What you doing? Come by the studio.” So you know how you hear the line come by the studio? Business people always say that you know? Man, I was just happy to be talking to dude again and that we were chopping it up. So he gets back, hits my line and we come up there. He was like, “Bo, let’s do this. It’s time to take it to the next level. I got something for you, man. Do this tape with me.” I was like, “What are you talking about?” He was like, “Cabin Fever 2.” I was like, “Do it with you?” He was like, “Yeah. Let’s do it together.” I was like, “Oh shittt! Aight.” So we did the tape in like six days. We cut a whole lot of records. But I didn’t know what records were going on it. I saw the tracklist like you and was like, “Oh shit! Okay!” (Laughs) Yeah man. He told me just to be ready and he told me a lot of game. And he told me to watch for this this and that. That’s the bro, man.

Dime: Despite you being on some big name songs lately and with the XXL Freshman List not having you on the cover, do you feel slighted in any degree by the absence?
PB: Shout out to everybody that did make it. I think everybody who’s on there is deserving. Do I think I should have been on it? Uhh no ‘cus if that was the case, I would have been on it. I don’t really trip off of things like that. I was just happy to be nominated. My thing is this, like who would you take off? Everybody is having a productive year. You know, I don’t really trip off something like that man. Man, my thing is to keep my head on my neck. Have a straight head, don’t swivel, and rep the Diamond Lane thing. Accolades and all that stuff will come when it comes.

Dime: I hear you. What’s funny is I remember reading your interview and I didn’t know your rap name comes from being a former hooper on the courts back in the day. (Laughs)
PB: Man, I used to hoop a little bit. (Laughs) I used to play a little bit.

Dime: So were you like a point guard? Or a shooting guard? What position were you?
PB: Man, you know I ran the point guard. When I got older, I was playing in the streets. Man, I developed that deep, deep, deep, deep, deep jumper where I would just let it go from anywhere. But you know I’m just a guard! I’m not that tall but I’m definitely not scared of anything out there. You know I’ve played with some of the best.

Dime: Who would you compare your game to?
PB: Man, I don’t know! My game right now is so poop. Man it ain’t what it was. I’m not gonna lie to you. It ain’t the same from what it was. I don’t know, man. I’m not gonna lie to you, you know? But in my prime, in my prime, I’d probably have to say Damon Stoudamire or Stephon Marbury. You remember when they were eating, man, on the crossover and the pass and the “I might just hit your ass with this J!” I was somewhere up there. That was me.

Dime: Man, you took it back to the Damon Stoudamire days.
PB: Yeah, man. I was like Damon in the Toronto days or like Stephon in the Minnesota days.

Dime: So with you being from Cali. I’m assuming you’re a Lakers fan?
PB: Man, you know I’m a Lakers fan! Why would you ask me something like that? (Laughs)

Dime: I’m asking because I heard you’re fronting and you’re going to a Clippers game tonight. Like what do you mean? (Laughs)
PB: Man. I’m going to a Clippers game tonight for business purposes (Ed. note: they hosted Phoenix last Wednesday). They definitely play like warriors all the time but I’m a Lakers fan.

Dime: So in a seven-game series, if it’s the Lakers and the Clippers, do you think the Lakers can stand a chance?
PB: Man, the Lakers would win in four. No, I mean five. Yeah they would win in five.

Dime: I don’t even know if they’re going to make it in the playoffs this year with the way it’s looking.
PB: I mean you know what? We had a rough start. Our team has yet to fully play together for a full season. Dwight has back problems. If anybody had any type of back pain, they know that you cannot play when your back hurts. I don’t know why everybody acting like this n**** supposed to be flying all over the place. If my back hurts, I don’t even wanna jump in the studio. But I know how he’s feeling. He’s playing and all these n***** are fouling him and shit. I’m not tripping. We’ll be aight. But I’m going to tell you this, if we do make the playoffs, we’re the most scariest team in there. Don’t anybody wanna see Kobe in no series.

Dime: Yeah Kobe is liable to turn it up at any given point.
PB: Yeah Kobe is gonna be Kobe. That’s all I need, man.

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