A killer crossover

Still, within the LA hoops and music scenes, competition isn't a terrible thing. Kendrick, you get it -- you made some waves when you dropped that verse into Big Sean's track "Control," where you called out virtually every young MC in the game.(2) Is competition as important to you as it is to Chris' day job?
Lamar: It's very important. 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.
Paul: When I heard that verse, I immediately texted him and told him how crazy it was. [Laughs] But like he said, 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.

Today we're seeing a symbiotic relationship between music and sports, with each side using the other to sell its product -- whether we're talking about Bieber walking Floyd to the ring, or how Beats by Dre wouldn't be Beats without LeBron. Have you guys thought about what the other side can do to help sell what you're selling?
Paul: That's something me and my brother, my business manager, have been working toward. We had a great opportunity recently to talk about brand-building with O.G. Juan.(3) We've also spoken to Scooter Braun,(4) who works with Justin Bieber. That stuff is big, and we're still trying to figure it out.
Lamar: Hip-hop and being a pro athlete go hand in hand. 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.
Paul: That word "culture" is everything. For example, earlier today, you mentioned Beats by Dre -- do you remember when they first started being worn?

The 2008 Dream Team, right?
Paul: That's right -- our 2008 Olympic team. Everybody saw us walking around with those headphones on, and now everybody's got one.
Lamar: Uh-huh, that's the culture right there.
Paul: And it was brilliant. It shows you the cultural influence of basketball. But I don't care what anybody says, there's nothing like the cultural influence of hip-hop. For me, hip-hop culture is involved in everything -- it's in me, in who I am, in how I dress, how I talk. It's in my son and my wife.

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