Always a controversial figure on the Salt Lake sports landscape as a Jazzman, whether it be his playing time as a youngster fresh out of Skyline High School in Dallas, Texas in the waning moments of the NBA’s rule change that now prohibits drafting straight out of high school, his ups and downs on the court, or the days when he was the lone voice of the Utah Jazz on Twitter among it’s players, one thing has always been clear about CJ Miles: He’s a chill dude.
CJ and I have had back and forths for several seasons now on Twitter, and I miss the days he used to give me my own personal breakdowns of plays that had happened on the court in games via direct message. But we still chat, and my youngest, five years old, is still enamored with him, thinking of him as an uncle and friend. He’s still her favorite player in the NBA (although her new favorite Jazzman is Enes Kanter) because of Twitter interactions like the time when one of them fell up the stairs (I forget who started this one now) and the other responded “It’s okay. I do that too.”
Miles is having a solid year in Cleveland, the first of two of his current contract there. But we didn’t sit down to break down basketball — you’ll get plenty of that elsewhere around the internet. I wanted to know how his new life was treating him, what he missed about Utah, what plans he might have for his post-NBA life, and his passion for writing hip hop music.
Clint: Which teammate(s) do you miss most from your time here in Salt Lake City with the Utah Jazz?
CJ: I most definitely miss laughing at Jeremy [Evans] and G-Time (Gordon Hayward) argue with each other [laughs].
Also, Earl [Watson] was just a great influence on the way I approached the game. It really helped me out a lot. He’s one of the best teammates and guys I’ve ever played with.
And of course my man Paul [Millsap]. We go back all the way to the beginning. Nobody works harder and he’s a great guy. That’s my bro right there.
Clint: Are you guys going to go hang out and catch up on old times, go do anything fun?
CJ: As far as hanging out, we haven’t really talked about it. We (the Cavaliers) aren’t coming in til Friday evening so I will most likely just see guys at the arena. Guys have families and will want to get their rest as will I.
Clint: Who is the “class clown” on your new team out in Cleveland, who keeps the locker room and road trips light?
CJ: Jeremy Pargo is most definitely the “guy.” [Laughs] He’s hilarious, does a great Kevin Hart impersonation.
Clint: If you could bring one local business from Utah out to Ohio, which would it be and why? And along the same lines, what does Cleveland have that Salt Lake needs?
CJ: There is no doubt I would bring a Cafe Rio out here. And to be honest, I really don’t know if there is anything to send back. Neither place has a Whataburger [laughs].
Clint: What whip are you rocking Cleveland with?
CJ: As far as cars, I’m just driving an all black Jeep out here in Cleveland. It’s great with the snow. And I still have the Mercedes CLS I had in Utah also.
Clint: During the darkened days of the lockout you made some really incredible music as Masfresco that’s flying under the radar. Do you have any more in the works?
CJ: As far music goes, I have so much of that that hasn’t been heard by anybody but my two best friends. I write during the season on plane rides and at night in hotels. It’s therapeutic for me.
But as far as being in a studio, I only do that in the off-season. I try to keep my focus on the court because that’s something I really have a passion for, and if I’m going to do it, I want to do it right and well, so obviously I can’t give that and basketball the time they both need at the same time to be done at high level.
In the summer I create my own hours, so usually I’m just going to the gym in the morning, writing during my recovery time, back to the gym, and then go to the studio a few times a week at night.
But as far making more music, I most definitely will make more, I love to do it. I’m actually planning on taking more piano lessons and guitar lesson this summer, and who knows, maybe a Masfresco mixtape pops up…
Clint: You write your own lyrics, correct? Who writes and plays the beats and harmonies?
CJ: Everything I have let people hear, and everything you will ever hear me say in a rhyme, poem, spoken word, whatever, will be written by me and I take pride in that.
Also, I love to do it — it’s a release, it all comes from life, what I see, what I go through. It’s how I vent because the beat never says anything back, it just listens, but still manages to bring out of me everything that needs to be said at that time. And then when I play it back it’s almost like I talk myself through things, if that makes sense.
Older songs remind me that I’ve felt like this before, so there’s no reason I can’t figure it out again.
I truly make the music for me and nobody else, but I guess a couple people liked it because my topics are life and everybody goes through the same things in some way or another, which is why I think as long as I’m alive I will have some type of tie-in to music.
As far as making the beats, I don’t know how to actually produce them, but I know what I want them to sound like which is where Brisk comes in. I was introduced to him a few years ago. He is probably, besides working at it, one of the biggest influences and reasons for growth in my music. We have had this great chemistry when it comes to music, and he has just as much passion for if not more. He pushes me like a coach on the floor when I’m in there [in the studio], and his knowledge of music allows us to find unique sounds and be able to still keep that boom-bap hip flavor in some stuff too. Brisk is my man for life. He will probably make every single beat if and when I do a whole project/mixtape.
Follow CJ on Twitter at @masfresco.
Come cheer on the Jazz and welcome back a familiar face with a warm round of applause, Utah style, this Saturday evening at Energy Solutions Arena when the Utah Jazz take on CJ Miles and the Cleveland Cavaliers at 7:00 PM.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) January 17, 2013
Or get at my man Steve Nord at @NORD4TIX on Twitter, or call 801-325-7222.