In his 12 seasons and counting in the NBA, Stephen Jackson has seen and accomplished some pretty amazing things. In 2003, he won an NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs. A little more than a year later, as a member of the Indiana Pacers, he was suspended 30 games for his role in an infamous brawl that took place during a game against the Detroit Pistons. In 2007, he played a major part for the eighth-seeded Golden State Warriors in their upset of the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks. And in total, the former second-round pick has earned nearly $59 million in salary alone.
Last season, though, while back with the Spurs, something unusual happened that needed adding to the 34-year-old’s highlight reel.
“One game last year,” starts Jackson, who, like Bun B, comes from Port Arthur, TX, “when we was about to play the Phoenix Suns, I went to work out and they [the Suns] were bumping my mixtape. That made me feel good, to see another team jamming my tape.”
A long-time basement rapper—he recorded music for over a decade before releasing any of it to the public—Jackson finally unveiled his affinity for hitting the studio during the NBA’s prolonged lockout last fall in the form of a DJ Scream-hosted mixtape, entitled, What’s a Lockout?. Since then, the 6′ 8″ forward-turned-fledgling-rapper who uses the pen name Stak5 has released a slew of music, performed to live audiences and started a YouTube page dedicated to his craft.
With an album, Jack of All Trades, due out within the next month, Jackson phoned in to talk about his second career, the famous features on his upcoming release, and some of the good friends he’s made in hip-hop along the way.—Tzvi Twersky (@ttwersky)
XXLMag.com: So you finally started releasing some of your own records last year. Why now, after all this time, did you start letting the public hear your joints?
Stephen Jackson: Well, I got tired of having all this music and not putting it out. During the lockout I had an ample amount of time to get stuff done, so I just took that time, went in the studio and knocked out two mixtapes before the lockout was over. During that time, I had so much music done, I was able to put it out. Now, I have a lot of people begging for an album, begging for more music, I think it’s only right I give the people what they want. So Jack of All Trades will be coming out soon.
Yeah, a while ago I was talking to [Boston Celtics Player] Marquis Daniels and he said you guys were already recording back when you were teammates in Indiana.
Yeah, we’ve been rapping for a while. I mean, we know basketball is our bread and butter, is our blessing, and we take that seriously. At the same time, we have more than one talent and I think it’s time for people to see that. But he’s on my album, though.
So when did you start writing verses and when did you get serious about it?
I’ve been writing and recording for about 13 years now. The last couple of years I decided to put some stuff out, but as far as rapping I’ve been doing that.
But even when you were a kid, did you used to cut it up for fun?
Yeah. Coming up in Texas, we grew up on [DJ] Screw music, and that music is basically based off of freestyle rap. So, we all used to put our Screw music on and bust our little Screw style raps and try to see who could rhyme the longest without falling off. I think we’ve been doing that since middle school.
One of the joints from your last tape [“Cars and Clothes”] was produced by Big K.R.I.T., Trouble is in your latest music video, so I assume you’re cool with a bunch of hip-hop artists?
Yeah, I think sports and music go hand-in-hand. A lot of rappers and entertainers want to be athletes, and athletes want to be entertainers. I think, a lot of guys, we all grew up the same way and we all have different blessings to be able to live good lives and take care of our families, so I think we all see eye-to-eye in that way. But I mean, real recognize real, man. I respect them—the respect is there—and it’s just all love. It’s easy to work with guys that you respect.
So is Trouble on the album?
No, Trouble’s not on my album. But I will have some music out with him soon. Alley Boy will be on the album, but Trouble didn’t make it. Trouble’s real busy right now with his own stuff.
Who else have you worked with, or who else do you want to work with?
Well…I got Game, Jim Jones, Bun B, Alley Boy, several cats from my label. I got one of the hottest rappers out of Atlanta, Twin, on my album. I got Messiah, Pepa Spray, B-Lean, a lot of guys, Scarface, I got a song with Kevin Durant, Young Chris. I got everybody on that album. It’s going to be crazy.
Did you do most of the collaborations and features through email or did you get in the study with guys?
I got in the studio with Twin before. I’ve been in the studio with Bun before. I’ve been in the studio with Killa Kyleon a lot of times. I’ve been in the studio with Jim a couple of times, the record I did with Scarface and Chris I was in the studio with them. So a lot of guys I’ve been in the studio with to knock them out, but sometimes guys are moving around. [As] long as we get the song done, though, that’s all that’s important.
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