Kendrick Lamar and Chris Paul, who appear on a cover of ESPN The Magazine's Music Issue, were interviewed as a tandem for the publication. In it, Lamar and Paul discuss Jay Z, Drake and "Control's" impact.
"When I heard [Lamar's 'Control'] verse, I immediately texted him and told him how crazy it was," Paul says. "Competition is what keeps you going. When I played against Steve Nash the first time, the night before, I couldn’t sleep. He’d just won MVP, and I couldn’t wait to compete against him. Now, it’s funny, I’m nine years into the league, and there are so many great young point guards in our league. They’re coming for me like I was going for Nash. It’s competition — it’s why we do this."
Lamar also discusses the importance of competition in the article.
"It's very important," he says regarding the competitive spirit. "It only helps the craft. If you're making good music, I want to make good music, too. I want to be right there at that level. If you always have this competitive nature, as far as upping our game, the people will always be happy. The music will live forever."
Kendrick Lamar Speaks About Jay Z & Drake & Their Roles In Sports
Music and professional athletics are connected, says Lamar, who also comments on the role rappers are taking within sports and why the two worlds are connected.
"Hip Hop and being a pro athlete go hand in hand," Lamar says. "When they come together, it's a win, not just for your business brand but also for culture. I always use the word 'culture,' because that's first -- everything else falls behind it. When they see that this guy loves rap the way he does, and this guy loves basketball like he does, the business is gonna flow behind it.
"This is the urban community," Lamar adds. "We've always been fascinated by and knowledgeable about sports. Now that you have people from this community in positions of power, like Jay Z and Drake, it's only right that they spread their knowledge and love of the game. It's passion, not just business. I mean, I've been to their houses -- they're watching each and every game."
Jay Z runs Roc Nation Sports and represents such athletes as Kevin Durant and Robinson Cano. Drake is the ambassador for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, a sports and entertainment company that owns the NBA's Toronto Raptors and the MLS' Toronto FC, among others.
But the connection between music and sports goes beyond this, Lamar says. For him, the relationship is about a greater goal.
"That's what makes the relationship between sports and music so cool," Lamar says. "At the end of the day, what's most important is that these two kids who kept on grinding super hard are coming together. And that shows the next little kid in the neighborhood, if Chris and Kendrick can do it, I can do it."
ESPN The Magazine's upcoming Music Issue also features Kobe Bryant and Nicki Minaj on one cover and Eminem and Calvin Johnson on another. To view the magazine's different covers, including the one that features Kendrick Lamar and Chris Paul, click here.
Photo By: Matthias Clamer