Yet Cleveland has managed to find several diamonds through the muck. Kyrie Irving was drafted No. 1 in the 2011 Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and was honored as Rookie of the Year last season. Musically, Kid Cudi and Machine Gun Kelly have elevated on the rap scene.
Next up to catapult himself is King Chip, formerly known as Chip the Ripper.
Known for gracing tracks with the likes of Kid Cudi, Hi-Tek, Kidz in the Hall, Freddie Gibbs, and more recently Travis $cott, Chip is gaining momentum and making noise. He sat down with Dime to talk about Cleveland’s worse moment in sports, his relationship with LeBron James, his favorites Jordans, and his thoughts on which were the worse sneakers ever made by the man.
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Dime: When did you fall in love with the game of basketball?
King Chip: Man! Man, I fell in love with the game of basketball when I first saw a dunk. (Laughs) I would just see people hoop in the ghetto because that’s when I first really saw it. Then when I started seeing it on TV, I was like, “Oh man. That’s the same thing they were doing outside!” I must have been like four or five. All my friends wanted to be hooping at the parks. That’s how I got introduced to it â€“ in the ghetto.
Dime: I know you’re from Cleveland, Ohio. A lot of people have associated Cleveland as a place with bad luck in sports, ranging from losing the Browns, to Jordan’s shot over Ehlo, to LeBron’s decision. Which was more of a painful experience for you?
KC: Man! (Laughs) I think the first taste of pain I got in sports was when the Browns got taken from Art Modell to the Ravens. I was in elementary school when that happened. But that was my introduction to Cleveland sports. Ever since that Ravens incident, I always began paying attention to how the sports section has been in Cleveland.
Dime: I’m not a Cleveland fan but I know you guys were hurting when LeBron made the decision to leave.
KC: You know ‘Bron, that’s my homie. I already knew before. I was one of the very few. It was probably no more than six people that knew but I was telling people. When the TV program came on and everybody found out, I already knew what was going on. It was like I was just watching people’s reactions to what I already knew were going on. I wasn’t even looking at the TV. I was looking at people’s faces to see the impact. It was at my house and I had a whole bunch of people there. You see, it wasn’t that bad for me. I mean ‘Bron, that’s my homie for real. That’s still my dog. He pushed me and held me down. He respects my music. He’s been a fan of mine.
Dime: How did that friendship with LeBron come about?
KC: Well man, we both have a mutual friend. His new agent that he just signed with named Rich Paul is actually from my area. He’s from the east side of Cleveland from where I came up. He basically was the guy who introduced me and had a label back in the day. When I was like 18-19 years old, they actually had a little record label that I kind of joined forces with. They really just focused on sports and wasn’t full-time with music. But they’re my guys.
Dime: You know, a lot of basketball players have been trying to take your job man. (Laughs)
KC: Yeah man. (Laughs)
Dime: How you do feel when you see basketball players trying to do what you do best and that’s hit the booth and make music?
KC: Well what I think with sports and music is that there’s an interlock vibe. We have artists who make the music so we call ball. That’s what we call it. You know when a player wants to adapt swag because they’re already balling on the courts, they do rap and join the rap factory so they could ball with the swag. They go hand in hand. In order to swag, you gotta ball. In order to ball, you gotta swag. It’s the same thing with ‘Bron. ‘Bron came to my show as my hype man. Like after the game, he came and swagged out. It’s all hand and hand.