Editor's Note: With the Blue Scholars one of the headlining acts today at the Sonics Arena Rally, we wanted to re-post this interview with Geologic of the Blue Scholars. The local hip-hop group has been one of the biggest supporters of the movement to bring the Sonics back to Seattle these last couple of years and will be performing at Occidental Park this afternoon - the Rally starts at 4pm. Give this interview a read and get ready to head downtown when you're done.
One of Seattle's biggest sports fans doubles as one of Seattle's most well-known local musical artists. Geologic of the Blue Scholars has been performing and releasing albums since 2002, but has been a local sports fan for even longer. Anyone who follows him on Twitter @promethusbrown constantly sees his jubilations and frustrations relating to the performance of the Mariners, Huskies and Seahawks.
Pick up an album by the Blue Scholars and you're bound to hear some references to the Seattle sports scene. In May 2011, the Blue Scholars released a short-film featuring Sonics-legend Slick Watts and in November Geo collaborated with three other local rappers on the song "Dawgs in the House."
SB Nation Seattle got a chance to talk to Geo about his Seattle sports fandom.
SB NATION SEATTLE: You are a huge Seattle sports fan, your twitter feed is dominated by sports-related tweets, you are constantly and consciously wearing Seattle sports apparel when you are performing and you also include references to Seattle sports in your lyrics. Where did this passion for Seattle sports begin? Were you a big fan growing up?
GEO: I was born in 1980 and spent my childhood in Hawai'i. Los Angeles sports teams were the most dominant out there on TV and in the community so I followed the Lakers, Raiders and Dodgers in the 80s, but was also marginally aware of other sports teams as a fan of the main three pro sports.
My family found out we would be relocating to Bremerton, WA a year before it happened in 1990. I remember already being familiar with names like Ken Griffey, Jr. and Shawn Kemp, and I was a fan of them as individual players, so, knowing I'd be moving out this way, I started following Seattle basketball and baseball while I still lived in Hawaii. Then, we moved here and the runs that both the Mariners and the Sonics went on in the mid 90's, while I was in junior high and high school, solidified my fandom.
So, I wasn't a Seattle sports fan until around 5th grade. I became a fan of Seattle sports before I became a fan of Seattle (and Washington state as a whole) itself. I sorely missed Hawaii and thought it was miserable here for the first few years but I grew to love the northwest and Seattle specifically, and sports helped me cope with that transition. Being from another place really different from this region, I felt alienated and different, but if we were both fans of the same teams then it helped bridge that gap.
SBN: Who was your favorite athlete to watch growing up?
GEO: Honorable mention to Shawn Kemp and Ken Griffey, Jr. albeit with some local bias. The easy answer is Michael Jordan but looking back, I'll never forget the rush of watching Mike Tyson fighting in his prime.
SBN: Have you met any local athletes as a result of your status as a public figure in Seattle?
GEO: Does being in class with a bunch of various UW athletes circa 1998-2002 count? Besides that, just a handful of former Sonics. I met Gary Payton at Oskar's one random night. Shawn Kemp came out to our most recent show at The Showbox. Nick Collison used to go to a bunch of hip hop shows when the team was still here. I met Kevin Durant at shootaround when Blue Scholars played halftime at a Sonics game in 2008. And Slick Watts of course.
SBN: How often are you able to get out to games in the region? What's your favorite environment amongst the different stadiums and fan bases in Seattle?
GEO: I frequent UW Men's Basketball and Mariners games the most - I go several times during the season and I was a UW MBB season ticket holder for the first time this past season. I'm not the most loyal Sounders or Storm fan but I've enjoyed the handful of events I've gone to. Fall is usually heavy touring season for us so I don't get to go to Seahawks and UW Football games as much as I'd like--it's usually been one or two games each of the last several seasons. But nothing beats a Seahawks game. Especially a home playoff game.
SBN: Who is your favorite team to follow right now?
GEO: At this moment, UW Men's Basketball. Even though they missed the NCAA tournament this year, they've been the most successful and exciting team to watch over the past several years. Especially since the Sonics were stolen.
SBN: Where did the inspiration for the song Slick Watts come from? Did you always want to write some kind of tribute to the Sonics? And lastly, what were the lasting impressions you took away from your experience in filming the short with Slick Watts himself?
Blue Scholars "Slick Watts" [HD Official short film] (via Sonicsgate)
GEO: The song started out as a list of shoutouts to different Seattle neighborhoods. I didn't envision it as a Sonics tribute song at first, but then as I kept writing, I began to think of how much sports, specifically the Sonics, plays a role in our city's identity. Neighborhoods may be different from one to the next, but certain things belong to all of us. In a way the Sonics and their individual players represented that idea to me.
SBN: How do you stay in tuned with games, scores, news, etc when you are on tour? Are there any instances in which you were too involved in an important game but had an obligation to perform?
GEO: Technology is my best friend on the road. When we first started touring, we'd drive around looking for sports bars to get our fix. Now I'll either keep up with a gamecast app or even a live video stream if I can find one. I've lost count of how many times I've been caught up in a game during a show. Happened many times on our most recent tour, including the time I brought the iPad onstage in Pullman and would sneak a peek at the live stream of the UW vs. Arizona game in between songs.
Dawgs in the House - Jake One, Prometheus Brown, Sol, and Preach [Official Video] (via thebigtimehype)