Click Full Interview At HipHopDX
In 2004, Ron Artest became the center of one of the biggest atrocities in NBA history. In the closing minutes of a regular season game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, a fight broke out between the Queens native and big man Ben Wallace. Artest, looking to stay out of the melee taking place between the teams on the court, laid down on the scorers table, when a fan threw a beer on him. The Pacers forward leaped what looked like 20 rows into the stands and went… well… Artest… all over him. He was suspended for the rest of the season. The NBA went into full damage control. The rest went infamy.
The next day, Artest appeared on the Today show. Those of us watching knew the conversation would be about the Malice In The Palace. Apparently, the artist now known as Metta World Peace was told the conversation would be about an album he was releasing through his Tru Warier imprint. It was one of the oddest interviews I’ve ever seen.
The irony is that, 12 years later, I don’t remember what Metta said about the brawl. I don’t remember what he said about David Stern. I don’t remember anything other than that he had an album dropping the following week. If marketing is what he wanted more than reconciliation, it at least resonated on an individual level.
“That was interesting,” Metta World Peace tells HipHopDX in this exclusive conversation. “That CD was Allure. That was the first artist that I signed… We had a November 23 release date… On November 19, the Malice In The Palace happened. On November 20 I was on NBC because I had this record coming out that I put a lot of money into. When I got suspended, it was over. That whole check stopped. That was some of the money that I invested in Allure—touring and marketing the project. I was in a tough spot because the season’s over for me. They cut the whole check off and I’ve gotta continue to push the girls. When I went on NBC I was like, ‘Yo, I’m not talking about the brawl.’ Matt Lauer, he’s a big time columnist, he’s definitely a scumbag. He’s asking me to his show. When you’re asking me to your show, you’ve gotta show me some respect. He’s automatically taking the sides of everybody else instead of embracing a talent on your show. He’s definitely mean and irresponsible to invite somebody to your show. Anyway, they knew the whole time I was going to promote my CD. Now I look like a hoodlum promoting a CD because NBC didn’t back me up when they knew this is why I was coming on the show. So it looked like instead of talking about the brawl, I was talking about music.”
That’s the history. But if you thought Metta World’s music ambitions were strictly side hustle, you’ve missed out on the last decade-plus of his public life. At this point, he’s been rhyming for over 17 years and has a gaggle of artists he’s helping to reach their rap dreams. He released Streets & Ball earlier this year and has another project featuring Prodigy, Havoc, Tragedy, Capone, Nature, Cormega and several other Queensbridge elites. He explains his passion for music in this exclusive conversation, reflects on the life of Big Kap, details why Murda Mook deserves to be considered as a Top 10 Greatest Rappers Of All Time, shares how he repaired his dismembered reputation, and why New York artists are “selfish and full of shit.”
Also, if you missed it, check Metta World and his artist Southside Tre kick rhymes during #DXLive.