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Justin Durant

TheSource.com catches up with Dallas Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant

Justin Durant isn’t your typical NFL linebacker. When he’s not on the field making plays he’s writing music columns for the Detroit newspaper and MTV. On twitter he’s constantly engaging with his followers on music topics, lately about A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord and now the latest season of Sons of Anarchy.

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The season is coming up with the Dallas Cowboys what are your expectations? (interview done prior to the start of Week 1)

We expect to be a good team and compete for a Super Bowl. I think that’s what every team’s expectation is coming in to a new year. We got a lot of talent on our team, some good coaches, good people in positions to make plays so that’s our ultimate goal.

The Cowboys are the Yankees of football. You’re expected to win every year, can you explain what its like to play for a franchise like the Cowboys?

It’s a lot of history in this team. You know, it dates back to I can’t even say how long. There has always been something special about this organization. And me growing up I was a 49ers fan so I used to hate them, but there was always a respect that I had for them. For me to have the opportunity to play for them now is just a great thing for me, a great opportunity for me to continue my career.

The big thing now with the NFL is the concussions, but now they’re looking in to hits around the knees. As a defensive player if they are going to hinder you doing that how do you go out there and do your job?

It’s tough but at the end of the day we just got to go out there and play. It’s a lot of money that is being lost but I understand that safety is the number one thing and we are all for safety. Everybody that I talked to about it they all feel the same way. It’s tough because some things are just going to happen, it’s football and some things you just can’t really control. When a player moves and they change their position, you’re targeting a certain area and when it changes, in a split second it’s hard for you to adjust. So yea it’s tough but these are the rules of the game and we have to abide by them.

Looking at your twitter timeline you’re very engaged with your twitter followers. Athletes tend to get in trouble with their tweets. How do you separate the nonsense and just be an engaging person on social media?

You just have to be smart about how you go about it. There are a lot of things that you can get in to; you can say the wrong things. You have to realize that people are sensitive to certain subjects. You just have to be smart about it that’s all. I try to stay away from certain topics, a lot of topics I want to say something about but I hold back on it. I understand the position that I’m in and people will look at me a certain way if I say something, so I just keep it to myself. Some people have a problem doing that, but that’s not a problem for me. I just try to engage with them as far as on a personable level just to let them know I’m a regular person like them. I don’t like to be viewed as just a football player.

You have written stuff in the Detroit paper and some stuff for MTV. What made you want to pursue that outside of football?

Actually man it just kind of came with my publicist. I just told him things I like to do and a lot of the stuff I do involves music. We just had the idea to write a little column, I wrote an original one for them and they loved it. I was always a solid writer in school, in college and stuff like that. It just kind of came naturally.

You say that you got a good ear for music, who are some of the people that you think are up next?

Well I’ve successfully predicted the last couple of people so I feel good about that. I put my people on to J. Cole a while ago, I put them on to Drake, I put them on to Kendrick Lamar, the guys, the younger guys who are on top of the game right now. I put them on to them years ago, I told them that these are the guys who are gonna be running it, so I feel good about that.

As far as now, I like A$AP Mob, Ferg just put out an album and it’s pretty good. They have their own little sound that they have and they know how to cater to their fans. I like what they got going. I like Chance The Rapper; I think he’s nice. He is kind of different in what he does but his flows are crazy and he has good subject matter that he talks about. He’s nice with it. There is a couple more but I don’t know who is going to be like the next main guy who is doing something like Kendrick is doing right now.

Acid Rap was definitely a dope project.

Yea I think he is going to be good (Chance). I like Danny Brown; I guess I’m in a different kind of vibe right now. There is a lot of people putting out the same kind of stuff right now and it all sounds the same. I’m looking for somebody with something different, not like the norm. Those are two of the guys that I’m definitely liking right now. Oh ScHoolboy Q is about to put something out, I like ScHoolboy Q. Ab-Soul is nice too.

Jay Rock is nice too he is just kind of the forgotten one.

Yea, yea. He probably had one of the best verses on the Good Kid, m.A.A.d city joint.

Speaking of TDE, I assume you heard Big Sean’s “Control” what are your thoughts on Kendrick’s verse?

I liked it. I definitely like the fact that he is trying to get people to really rap again. Like I said, everyone is just comfortable and he kind of shook things up especially by naming names. Drake says a lot that he’s the best in his raps but he does subtly a little bit. Kendrick going out telling people, “I’m talking about you, I’m talking about you.” I think it’s cool. There were a couple of response records I thought were cool. Joell Ortiz’s was cool. Joe Budden’s was cool. I was kind of disappointed in Joey Bada$$; I think he can spit. He is one of the, for a lack of a better word “original hip-hop guy,” just bars. I just thought he was going to come with something a little tougher, but I definitely like his (Joey Bada$$) music too.

I like what he’s (Kendrick) is doing. He’s pushing the bar and there is nothing wrong with competition.

I’m not going to ask you to put them in order but who are your top 5 favorite rappers?

Jay, Nas, B.I.G., Andre 3000, and Busta Rhymes. No, no, no let’s go Snoop. Wait old Ice Cube (laughs).

– John McAuliffe (@John_Mac310)