Los Angeles rapper/producer Problem has started a new interview show called "Morning Walks" where he speaks with various figures across the entertainment, sport and business worlds. Problem executive produced the series under his 50 Million Media company and provides the soundtrack for each episode.
His first guest on "Morning Walks" is fellow Compton native and NBA star DeMar DeRozan where they share insight about coming out of the city and battling the temptations that come with fame and fortune.
"This 'Morning Walk' segment for me is more important on some Black man shit than on some rap/hoop shit," Problem says to introduce the conversation, which was released in two parts. "I feel like a lot of n*ggas don't talk about just other stuff."
The two chat about things that help them keep perspective in the midst of society trying to tear down their foundation. Problem points out how he admires DeRozan's emphasis on fatherhood and asks him to explain why that's important.
"For me, it keeps me authentic and keeps me sane," the four-time All-Star says, "and lets me know the reality of life and not get caught up in all the material shit and all the shit that fame bring, just all the bullshit that don't matter."
Problem continues by reflecting on the importance of work ethic. He asks DeRozan how he feels coming out of a generation of hoopers at Compton High School and being selected 9th overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2009 draft when there could have been any other kid to take that spot. The artist knows that hard work plays a major part in making the difference.
"To see that you're going to work and I'm going to work, you see why people are still where they're at," he explains. "And it's hard to explain to a bunch of motherfuckers that don't wanna do the work and wanna have everything you got."
"The shit trips me out to even to this day," DeRozan responds. "You see so many people want everything they see everybody else got, but they put in half the work to get nothing"
Problem observes that "pocket watching's at an all-time high and it's a disease that's bigger than anything you've ever seen." He questions how people can expect to receive notoriety, wealth and fame when they aren't willing to make the same sacrifices to live the same life.
"It makes me hate social media because people play this whole perception of they perfect," DeRozan adds. "Let me put my phone down, I'm really miserable because I don't wanna put in the work to make it look like how I'm really looking. The whole reality of the shit is crazy. That's what leads me back to, man, I'm with my kids. I'm about to show them what's real and what's fake."
The two express worry for the younger generation that no longer seems to live by the same code of ethics that they knew growing up. Even though there are negative stereotypes of gang culture, they say the intention was good and that the foundation of community has been lost. They now worry for their kids growing up around their peers.
"We can never detach our selves from that [culture,]" DeRozan says. "We've got too many friends, homies, everything that's still in it. It's like where does the structure of law get lost at with street code? It's all about taking care and protecting each other. That's what it was always about. But all of a sudden, everybody's so quick to flip and not really understanding what the fuck are you doing? You're making it worse, you're ruining a generation of shit that stood on something."
"I hate to say this, but the reality of it is gangbanging is Black-owned and its intentions was something else," Problem adds. "I don't even agree with all the principles, but there's a rule book and principles. Like anything you do. If you work at Ralph's, there's a rule book and there's principles. You sign up for it, there's certain ethics that have to be carried out. If I understand 'em, if I agree with 'em, that's something else. But that shit seems like it's lost."
Watch both parts of Problem's "Morning Walks" show with DeMar DeRozan above.