While Carmelo Anthony is best known as a professional basketball player, there are many dimensions to the star. In recent years, Carmelo has been hard at work launching his STAYME7O clothing brand, which culminated with the release of the label’s first collection in December.
But in addition to being a legendary hooper and fashion entrepreneur, he can now add playlist curator to his accomplishments. As part of our Black History Month celebration, we tapped Carmelo to create a Spotify playlist of the songs that inspire him every day.
Drawing from a blend of hip-hop, Afropop, and R&B from the likes of Future, Lil Baby, Tems, Wizkid, H.E.R., and more, the STAYME7O playlist strikes the perfect balance between high-energy bangers and mellow jams.
For the Record talked to Carmelo about his approach to the playlist, the role music plays in various aspects of his life, and the importance of supporting Black creatives.
Can you tell us a little bit about your playlist?
The mood that I tried to create with this playlist revolved around the question, what do I want the STAYME7O tribe to vibe to? So I give you songs that bounce, and I give you the trap music, and the songs with the big, big drums. But I also mellow it out for listeners and take them on a spiritual journey a little. I’ve sat and really listened to the playlist a few times now, and it’s just a vibe. I also tried it out in different environments, too, like when I was watching the game last weekend with people. I like to look and listen to see who’s nodding their head and who’s not. So I took all of that into consideration.
What is it about music that inspires you?
I just love the art of music, and the craft that goes into it. I love the way that music can make a person—or a group of people—feel. And I love to see artists and creatives in their element. I love how they take their worlds, their feelings, their stories, and shape them into a rhythmic flow.
What role does music play in reflecting your own identity and place in culture?
Well, music is a way of actually telling the story. I think everybody can identify with different genres of music or different artists or different sounds and different ways of digesting music. For me, it’s a way of telling my story. I find music that I can relate to. I find music that uplifts me. I find music that I enjoy. But also I get a chance to learn about the artist, go through their journey, and understand what they’re actually feeling. So if I can connect with artists on that level, that’s a plus.
How does music factor into the message and mission of your brand, STAYME7O?
STAYME7O is a mindset. Everything is based off of a mindset. The mantra of the STAYME7O community is “When in doubt, stay mellow.” And music ties into that because music feeds the soul. It is food for the soul. It’s a mix of vibrations and sounds that have the power to change our mood, whether it uplifts us or makes us feel sad. And ultimately, that’s what the STAYME7O community is also about . . . vibrations and sounds coming from people in real time. So you get a chance to get into that mindset and put this rhythmic sound together, and you have a community there. You get a chance to survive, you get a chance to tell your story, you get a chance to be confident in what you’re speaking about. And so it offers some of the same things that music does and what music creates.
How did music fit into your life growing up?
So much of what I’ve done, and what my family has done, and what we’ve witnessed was soundtracked by music. Music was always there in the background, whether it was cleaning up on the weekends, having breakfast together, or playing cards together.
Back in the ’80s, there was a lot of rhythmic music, like Teddy Pendergrass, James Brown, and Marvin Gaye playing in my house. At the time, I didn’t yet know what my mom was playing, but that’s the cadence and bounce that I picked up.
In what ways do you feel like music and basketball are similar?
Basketball shares a lot in common with jazz. To some people that may seem unorthodox, but I always used to have Miles Davis playing during my workout. And some people would come in and be like, “What is he doing listening to Miles?”
But listening to the notes of Miles Davis is my way of catching that cadence as I’m on the court. When you listen to Miles, you don’t quite know what he’s going to do, but you know he’s going to do something special. I think playing with that rhythm in my head gives me an edge because nobody knows if I’m going to drive to the basket or when I’m going to shoot the ball.
Like what you heard on the STAYME7O playlist? Check out more of the hottest rap hits featured on RapCaviar.