Since tbt* last chatted with Flo Rida four months ago, the rapper has toured Europe with his sophomore album, R.O.O.T.S. (Route of Overcoming the Struggle).
Not bad for a guy who grew up in a South Florida housing project.
But living out of a suitcase makes it tough for the sports fan, whose real name is Tramar Dillard, to keep up with his favorite teams. To stay in the loop, Flo checks scores on his iPhone and talks sports with the guys in his entourage.
For Flo, sports aren't just entertainment. They're his first love. As a boy he dreamed of being not an international star but a basketball player. And long before he gave us hits like Low and Sugar, he was a 12-year-old baseball player with the Carol City Chiefs.
Flo's passions for music and sports will collide this weekend when he performs after the Rays game as part of Tropicana Field's summer concert series. He called tbt* from a publicity stop in New York City to chat about both.
What position were you on the Chiefs, and what do you think your position says about your personality?
I played second base. I definitely enjoyed it. I was very athletic, so most of the time there's a position that you have to be very skillful (to play).
I understand, too, that you had aspirations of being a professional basketball player at one point.
Yes, I definitely love basketball. I grew up with it in the back of my projects. That was definitely my first dream.
Now that you've conquered your second dream, are you going to go after the first one?
I'll just leave that for a hobby.
Where do you play now? I'm sure you've upgraded your court since then.
Oh yeah, I have a basketball court at a couple of my houses.
A couple of your houses. Where are your houses?
I live out west, in Miami, then I have a place that's about 10 minutes away (from Miami).
What are some of your favorite stadiums?
I definitely like the stadium down in Miami, Pro Player (now Land Shark Stadium), and the Orange Bowl down in Miami when it was up and going (it was demolished in 2008), 'cause that was one of the first stadiums I'd ever been to.
How old were you when you first got to go to a game?
Probably about 11.
Why do you think music and sports are so integrated? When you go to the ballpark today, it's like they go hand in hand.
Yeah, for the fact that a lot of the ball players, they like to listen to music to rally them up. At the same time, most of the artists, our first love was playing sports.
Has your experience in sports helped you at all in your musical career?
Oh yeah, most definitely, for the fact that a lot of times I play sports just to build up my energy for when I'm going on stage.
Is there anything else as far crowd interaction that you've found helpful?
When I'm performing one of my records called Sugar, (there's) a sound that it makes in the song that I take off my shirt and I act like I'm up to bat, and I hit the shirt and make it go out in the crowd.
If you were a baseball player, what would your at-bat music be?
Definitely I'd have to use my record Jump. "Everybody, jump up!" You know, I'm up to bat.
What would your number be?
Definitely, I love No. 1.