John Henson plays center for the Milwaukee Bucks. On the court he can be found, blocking shots, posting up, or shooting that perfect left hook. Afterwards he usually breaks down the game, talks strategy, or how they played during the game. We wanted to know about John off the court. Really, we just wanted to talk to him about music. So that’s what we did.
Justin Barney talks to John Henson.
Listen to the full conversation here
JB: What is the first song you ever remember hearing?
JH: You know what, Imma tell you the first music memory I have. My parents wouldn’t let me watch, like, music videos. So the first song I really watched the music video on, and actually remember, was: Nelly, Country Grammar. And I remember I snuck into my parents’ room ‘cause you know, they had the TV. I shut the door, I snuck in there, turned on the TV, and I watched the video. And that was like my first memory of really like, listening to some music. And that was like my first album I really bought, the Nelly album when he first came out. So that was like when I first got into music. So it’s cool.
JB: Oh man, my second question was: what was the first album you ever bought?
JH: Yep. Nelly, Country Grammar was my first album. And also my first album that really kinda got me into music was Jay-Z the black album. You know, that was a Christmas present, and that kinda got me into the music thing.
JB: Why did you get Jay-Z’s Black Album?
JH: Um, I can’t remember why, but I remember that’s like, my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I remember just tellin’ them, that’s all I want. You know, and they got it for me and it was cool, so… Edited, but it was cool though. (Laughs)
JB: What kind of music do your parents listen to?
JH: Older Music, you know, Temptations. They listen to The Temptations. That actually, I actually enjoy listening to the Temptations. You know, I had that in my car actually when I was in college. My dad tries to listen to rap music. It’s just funny man. He tries to, you know, act cool. I can’t remember the name of the song but it was one song he really, really liked. Um, and I can’t remember. I wish I could tell you, but it was just funny. It was one of those songs, like last summer. I think it was like future or somebody. And I was like, Dad… chill.
JB: What was the first concert you went to?
JH: It’s probably college man, I ain’t gon lie. I was dating a girl, and we went to the Trey Songs concert. That’s my first time actually really goin’ to a concert that I can remember man. That was my first experience: Trey Songs concert.
JB: How was it?
JH: Uh, It was a lot, because you know you’re stuck in between singin’ a song you know but then you know, you’re bein’ manly, and don’t wanna be singin’ R&B songs, but it was a good show though man, I enjoyed it. And actually me goin’ to that concert got me into like, I got tickets to the J. Cole concert already, Summerfest is gonna be fun, Kendrick Lamar, I mean, I went to the Travis Scott concert at the Rave, so you know, I kinda like that stuff.
JB: I’m 6’2, and I don’t think that I’m tall until I go to a concert. I cannot imagine-
JH: Yeah, that, that tells me a lot, when I’m around my friends and stuff, I don’t realize how tall I am until I go to the mall or a concert or a crowd or another place, and I’m just taller than everybody else.
JB: What was the last concert you went to?
JH: Travis Scott and Young Thug were here actually, last week, or a couple weeks ago and I went to that concert, it was fun.
JB: Do you listen to music as you get ready for the game?
JH: Um, I used to man, not really anymore. But songs that I listen to on the bus, going to the game, riding around in my headphones, the Kendrick Lamar album that just came out, ah man, wonderful album, and J. Cole. I’m a bias J. Cole fan that’s my guy and everything, but that Kendrick album is special.
JB: Why do you like J. Cole, what got you into J. Cole?
JH: Well, when I was actually a freshman in college, he was really, no one really knew who he was, and he came to campus, and people were like, “anyone wanna take a picture with J. Cole?” and I was like, kinda star struck, because I had been listening to him for a long time, and just to see him, in that scenario, and then he just kinda took off, so I had always been a fan. But my friends back home, I actually told them about J. Cole, and they liked him, so I started at the grass roots level with him.
JB: What was the first J. Cole track you got into?
JH: Uh, Lights Please, that was the first song I ever heard of him, Lights Please and that’s the one that I was like “let me go download this, this mixtape,” and um, I think it’s called The Come Up, man it’s way back in the day, and I kind of took my enjoyment of his music from there?
JB: What drew you to that song in particular?
JH: Lights Please? It’s just a story man, I’m a big guy and stories and you know uh, people talking about real life situations that he might have dealt with, or experienced, and I think he does a good job of relating to the common man, which is hard to do some days. You know Drake, I love Drake but no one is flying around on private jets and popping bottles every night, so it’s just kind of hard to relate to that.
JB: What is that song about?
JH: Um, Lights Please- it’s about a girl, he’s trying to essentially, talk to a her, and trying to get her to do the right thing in life, and she’s just like no turn off the lights, I don’t wanna hear that, you know, let’s do this. And you know he’s like, trying to tell the story of a girl, who he’s trying to tell do the right thing, do this, work hard, do this and she’s like nah, I don’t wanna hear it, turn off the lights, that’s what it’s about.
JB: I’m at the game, and there’s music going on throughout the game, are you conscious of that?
JH: Not in the game, you never hear it in the game, but when you’re out of the game, you do hear some songs sometimes that you kinda, bob your head to.
JB: Do you ever get a song stuck in your head in the game?
JH: Um, Chris Middleton’s slogan, “money money money money,” that gets stuck in my head and then, when Mike Carter scores he plays the, “I got 5 on it” hook that “I got 5 on it” so that’s kinda cool, I like that one too
JB: The final question is the big question, what’s one song you can’t stop listening to?
JH: Ah man, Kendrick Lamar “How Much a Dollar Cost?” It’s a deep song, I was listening to it before I got in here, and I looked up the lyrics, it’s just a deep song man, and I love the message he’s trying to get, and I keep trying to figure out the message he’s trying to do, and I keep listening to it, I mean you’ve heard it, it’s just a great song.
JB: Is there anything else you like about that Kendrick album?
JH: Uh, you know what, I enjoy Kendrick as a rapper and artist, but I do think he um, I don’t wanna say doing too much on the album, but he’s doing a lot, and he’s trying to get a message across, which is awesome, but we wanna listen to the music as well, and um. That’s another reason I like J. Cole, he sends a message but also gives you some good music to listen to. I think Kendrick’s album, if you’re not in the mood to be holdin’ up signs, and yellin’ about society, and what’s going on, you’ll flip through a few songs.
JB: Were you a fan of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (Kendrick Lamar’s previous album)?
JH: Yes I was. Big fan, and you know, it’s funny because Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City came out my rookie year, and you know um, rookie year is tough just because I was young, and that album is a memory of kind of like, the struggle I had to go through my rookie year, so I just remember always listening to it on the bus, trying to ease my mind, so it’s cool.
JB: That album is like, a lot more latent with hooks-
JH: And life experiences, and it’s catchier, and he’s like riding around in the van with his guys you know, and this one is like night and day from that one, you know all of a sudden like, the white house is in the picture, it’s a good album though.
JB: Finally, I was a Badger and you were a Tarheel. Who is gonna win this Saturday (interview recorded before Wisconsin won)?
JH: Man, gotta go with my Tarheels.