The 2017-18 NBA season will look and feel a lot different for Victor Oladipo. In his first season playing for the Indiana Pacers, the 6'4" shooting guard will have to adjust to his season starting earlier than usual, and key elements of the always-entertaining All-Star game are being revamped. He also just released his debut EP, Songs For You. The seven-song project houses the politically-charged, 2 Chainz-assisted “Rope A Dope” and also the single, a contemporary update on a timeless Rhythm & Blues record by soul legend Donny Hathaway, “A Song For You.”
After years of going toe-to-toe with the best talent the NBA has to offer on a regular basis, it’s obvious that the two-guard has figured out how to handle pressure. This is also apparent when he isn’t on the hardwood. “There isn’t any pressure when you do a song you love,” said the 25-year old. “Obviously, I wanted to do justice to the original, which is a classic, but I was just singing a song I love.”
Victor Oladipo put his busy NBA preseason schedule on a quick pause for a conversation with REVOLT covering his debut EP, President Trump’s response to NFL players protesting the national anthem and his picks for a posse-cut featuring only NBA players.
Your EP is titled, Songs For You. Who are these songs truly for?
Victor Oladipo: Great question. These songs are truly for everyone, because both males and females of all ages, young, old - everybody can relate to them. These are songs for the world.
Aside from Donny Hathaway, what other artists influenced the music on Songs For You?
VO: All R&B. I’ve been listening to R&B since I was a kid. There wasn’t any one artist, but rather the genre as a whole.
Did you record during the NBA season? If so, what was that experience like?
VO: I recorded the project during my free time. Whenever I had downtime I used the studio to vent. Everybody has their hobby, and singing is mine.
What are his thoughts on recent mainstream popularity of Afrobeat?
VO: I think it’s awesome. Me being of Nigerian descent, I’ve been listening to Afropop all my life. Hopefully I can make a song like that myself one day too.
Why did you want 2 Chainz on a song like “Rope A Dope?”
VO: I felt like it fit with 2 Chainz. He saw the vision for the song and the point I wanted to bring across and I knew he wanted to do it. I was very excited to get him on the project.
What are you looking forward to mostly this upcoming season with the Indiana Pacers?
VO: I’m looking forward to just competing. Going out there playing with my new teammates and competing. Just playing the game I love to play.
Do you think the newly unveiled All-Star game voting system is more or less fair? Will it make the game more or less exciting?
VO: I don’t really know. We’ll just have to wait and see. I’m sure they’ll make adjustments after the first time it happens.
According to the NBA’s official rule book, “Players, coaches, and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.” The league sent a memo stating that rule is to be enforced. Do you believe that players should be able to kneel or protest how they please without penalty?
VO: I can’t really say. If the rules were there before the protest started, I can’t be mad, because that’s what the rules were. At the same time, the people who might want to kneel have the freedom of speech to fight for an important cause and you have to understand that aspect of it. So I understand where both sides are coming from.
How do you feel about President Trump calling for NFL players to be fired for kneeling during the national anthem?
VO: That’s his opinion and he’s entitled to it. Obviously, he’s the president, so he has a platform and position with which he can inform people on how he feels. Do I agree with him? Not necessarily. Me disagreeing isn’t gonna change how he feels. I just feel like the guys in the NFL feel like that’s what they need to do to impact change. I wanted to put out “Rope A Dope” to say that we as a nation need to come together seeing as how we’re going through this as a country.
If you wanted to craft a posse-cut featuring only NBA players, who either rap or sing, who would make the cut?
VO: I don’t know too many players that sing. I’d say Lance Stephenson, Damian Lillard, Iman Shumpert and Lou Williams as rappers.**