Thursday, February 28, 2008


RTNY: How did you land your deal with Def Jam?

Rocko: It was through the buzz I had going. Before I got the deal my record was already at 300 spins.

RTNY: You’re talking about your single, “Umma Do Me”, right?

Rocko: Yeah. I was actually in the process of closing a deal with another label when L.A. Reid contacted me and wanted to sign me.

RTNY: What are the boardroom meetings like, is the label fully behind you?

Rocko: I’m feeling all the love and support from the label. I go in and they let me know what songs they like. It’s a real good feeling. I’m feeling good about everything right now.

RTNY: The single is big down in the South, has it been crazy for you since releasing the song?

Rocko: It’s been crazy. Initially when I started rappin’ I was thinking more about the money. But once I started going to these different cities and doing shows, and getting on stage telling people what I want them to do-and they do it…I was like, wow. That really made me start taking it seriously. It’s a real good feeling.

RTNY: You’ve done production for a lot of artists with your Rocky Road Productions. Can you name some of those artists?

Rocko: Franchize Boyz, Young Dro, Pastor Troy, Lil Flip and the whole Sucker Free camp.

RTNY: In the future, is producing something you want to do more of?

Rocko: I mean…for the most part, yeah. I have a few tracks that I produced for my own album. But for the most part, I want to venture off into the film industry.

RTNY: What made you want to start doing that?

Rocko: I always have felt like I could act. My album comes out March 18 and we just finished up my movie called, Self Made. It’s an album and a movie.

RTNY: So you’re hoping your rap career will launch your film career?

Rocko: Oh, yeah, definitely.

RTNY: A lot of hip-hop heads have been calling you a Jeezy clone. What do you have to say to those people?

Rocko: I just tell em’ to do them and keep hating. I’m getting paid over here, getting $12,000 for a show. I have my own label. I got a stupid deal. And I’m cashing in right now. I could care less about what a hater has to say about me.

RTNY: Do you feel as though southern artists sometimes get unnecessary backlash from the fans and the industry?

Rocko: I think its jut the broke people.

RTNY: (Laughing).

Rocko: I think they don’t have nothing else better to do than hate, feel me?

RTNY: Yep.

Rocko: If you had something else better to do with your time, you could care less about what somebody else is doing. You would be concentrated on getting your money. Believe it or not, that’s the type of thing that keeps me motivated to do what I’m doing. And on top of that, I come with a different flow on every beat. That’s why they call me “Mr. Southern Swag”, because I adjust my flow and freak it according to the beat.

RTNY: So in other words you want other people to do them and not worry about you?

Rocko: Exactly. I could care less about what a hater is saying. I’m laughing all the way to the bank.

RTNY: Atlanta is a hotbed for Southern hip-hop, why do you think that is?

Rocko: The thing about Atlanta is that we’re hungry. We’re in control, the South is where it’s at right now.

RTNY: Is Soulja Boy a correct representation of Atlanta music?

Rocko: Yep, Soulja Boy is doing his thing. Atlanta is a dance city. There use to be bass music down here…we love to dance down here in Atlanta. Soulja Boy is doing what the kids like.

RTNY: I know you have some ties to Houston producing for Lil Flip, how did you feel about the passing of Pimp C considering he’s a legend in the South?

Rocko: That really messed with me…especially since Pimp C made all those comments about Atlanta. I just looked at it like he was lashing out at Jeezy because of that situation when Jeezy didn’t want to do that song with him. So I know he was just mad. I know he really didn’t mean that because Atlanta has supported Houston music since day one.

RTNY: Right.

Rocko: From Willie D, Geto Boys, and Scarface. It messed with because I didn’t get a chance to work with Pimp C before he passed. I really wanted to work with Pimp.

RTNY: Did you ever get a chance to meet him?

Rocko: Nah, I never got a chance to meet him. Bun B, that’s my boy. But I never got a chance to meet Pimp. Bun and I got cool after Pimp was gone.

RTNY: How do you plan on separating yourself from all the artists coming out of Atlanta and in hip-hop in general?

Rocko: I just let the fans decide. When I make music, I make it for me. When I go in the studio, I’m not thinking about what anyone is going to think. If you like it-you like it. If you don’t-you don’t. First and foremost, I’m a hustler. If this rap thing wouldn’t have worked out, I would have done something else. I ventured off into real estate, it was promising, but it wasn’t as promising as this rappin’. All I have to do is go to a club and perform for 30-45 minutes and I leave with $10-$15,000. It’s a no-brainer. And in a couple of months it’s about to be more.

RTNY: Let’s talk about the album. It’s dropping on March 18, right.

Rocko: March 18, the world is going to be a different place. It may take some longer to catch on, but once they catch on, they’re going to be in tuned to what’s going on in Atlanta. I’m really from Atlanta, born and raised. A lot of other people flew here, I grew up here. I’m going to give them a taste of the real Atlanta.

RTNY: I know we’re talking about the A, how has that shaped you as an artist?

Rocko: Well, I’ve seen them come and go. Like, I’ve seen all the movements. I watched Young Jeezy move to Atlanta and create his movement…

RTNY: So Jeezy is not originally from Atlanta?

Rocko: (Pauses) I don’t know.

RTNY: (Laughs).

Rocko: But I watched rappers like T.I. come in and do their thing. There’s a movement in Atlanta and when the streets appreciate what we do, I feel like that’s what we have to keep doing. When you have a rapper like Jeezy - a street hustler who came in the game and sold millions of records, that’s what Atlanta represents. Rather than us trying to commercialize our raps, that’s not what the real Atlanta stands for. The real Atlanta is gritty, raw, and uncut. And that’s what I represent.

RTNY: So, who are some of the artists and producers you worked with on the album?

Rocko: I worked with Drummer Boy, Jazze Pha, The Runners, The Justice League, and myself. I got Jeezy, T.I. and Jadakiss on the album. As for R&B I got Monica, Ne-yo, and Lloyd on the album.

RTNY: Is the album more on the lines of the gritty Atlanta, like we talked about earlier?

Rocko: Street music. That’s what I would classify it as.

RTNY: Do you have any artists coming out of your Rocky Road camp that we should be looking out for?

Rocko: J. Gutta and Goldie. That’s who I’m focused on right now. I have a couple of people from Houston I’m looking at too.

RTNY: Like who?

Rocko: I’m not going to disclose their name at the present time.

RTNY: Alright. Plug that album and let the fans know when it’s dropping.

Rocko: March 18. Rocko, Self-Made, “Mr. Umma Do Me”; Self-Made the album and the movie.

RTNY: Give the readers some of your websites so they can log-on and check out your music.

Rocko: Okay,

RTNY: Thanks for the interview, and good luck on your album