Check out the new song from Rockemical – We Da Shit
Tell us about where you are from and how you got to this position today.
Well it is a long story, but I will try and break it down quickly as possible. I was born in Amarillo, TX then moved to Olympia, WA at an early age. I stayed there for a couple years before my parents’ separation. We (my brother and I) then moved back to Texaswith my mom, while my dad stayed in Washington. We lived in Plainview, TX for a few years, then moved to Midwest City, OK and then moved back to Seattle, WA.
I remember the first night we got there, all the lights and water, as we pulled into the city. I was amazed and knew that Seattle was where I wanted to be. From there it was back and forth from Washington to Texas. Then Arizona became home after my mother decided to leave Texas and it was back and forth from Seattle to Arizona, which is where I am today (Arizona).
I remember rapping in front of the classroom in the 4th grade. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a rapper, back in the 4th grade. As I got older I wanted to take my music more seriously, it was challenging and it can still sometimes be challenging. I was knee deep in the streets and everything else came second to that. Yet I would just rap everywhere I went. From Texas, Arizona, Washington, and Oklahoma City, OK, all my friends new I could rap. I could literally rap for hours nonstop.
Eventually I found a little studio I could record at and started actually recording for the first time. I was already so seasoned that once I got to the studio it just came natural. I think I put about 7 or 8 songs together and burned them all on one disc, started making copies, and passing them out. If you knew me when I was younger, you knew I was a hustler and could rap my ass off. There were several local record labels at the time and none would pay me any attention but the streets loved me.
I ended up moving back to Arizona and linking up with a childhood friend. We put an album together called Paid Dues The Official Album. I’m talking straight classic, back to back cuts, beats production, lyrics, content, I mean everything was perfect. People swore we were signed to a label when they heard it. After that I did my solo album Grand New followed by a mixtape Grande Grindin & Gettin Money.
From the beginning I was always putting shows together and just anything I could do to help promote the album. I would book artists that had already established themselves and then list myself as the opening act, just trying to get my name out there. After a while it just became easy so here I am still independently making it happen.
Tell us more about the current song you are promoting to everyone.
Right now I’m actually promoting my new album Tha Life which will be in stores April 11th 2013. I have released two singles/videos (The Best Around and We Da Shit) and have the 3rd single/video Tha Life done as well and will be releasing that here pretty soon. The 2nd single We Da Shit is doing really well on YouTube and iTunes and the first single (The Best Around) is available for free download via my website www.rockemical.com and on Google Play. The overall quality is amazing and the content is even better. My new album Tha Life is definitely my best work yet.
Tell us about one of the hardest challenges you had to face in the industry?
One of the hardest things for me was actually accepting the fact that I’m a rapper. I grew up in poverty and in the streets and consider myself an average person. Once I started officially doing music people started looking at me different. I’m still the same dude but now people want to know your business, who is he with? Where does he go? What kind of car does he drive?
For a period of time, say if I met someone new, I wouldn’t tell them I was a rapper. I would just talk like a normal person and try to build a conversation or relationship off of that. Then when they found out that I was that dude it was like man, why you didn’t tell me? I wanted to base my relationships off of character and not my career. I’ve ran through so many so called friends that I can’t keep up. I felt like people wanted to know me not for who I am as a person but for what I do as a living.
Over the years it’s been tough and I’m finally at the point where I got all the snakes out of my lawn, I got a few good friends, my beautiful family, and I’m happy with that. I’ve accepted the fact that I’m a rapper and anybody that doesn’t like it can join the long list of others that don’t like it. Being an independent hip-hop artist is basically being an independent business man. This is a business. A lot of people don’t understand that.
What was one of the biggest set backs in your career and how did you bounce back?
One of my biggest setbacks was when the other member of the group I was in went to prison. We were enjoying the success from the first album Paid Dues The Official Album and getting ready to release the 2nd album and he was sent to prison for about 3 years, I believe. So here I am solo, sitting on an unfinished group album. All my plans where ruined at that point. I didn’t know what to do. Everyone waiting trying to see what I’m going to do and I didn’t have a clue.
I think I went into some type of depression because I didn’t want to do anything; I was basically sitting at home broke watching life pass me by. Things were falling apart at home, I mean it was horrible. I would be out in public and everywhere I went people would be asking me, hey man when is the album dropping? When is your next show?
Honestly, that is what motivated me to get back in the studio and pursue my solo career. Eventually I snapped out of it and started working on my first solo album Grand New. It was a very tough spot in my life and honestly that could’ve very easily been the end of my music career. I credit God first, my family second for sticking with me, and third my fans for staying with me when it looked like my career was over.
What are some things artists need to be careful of?
Honestly, being an independent artist there are so many things to be careful of. Having established myself as an artist I feel like the biggest thing artists need to be careful of is their egos. There have been so many artists that I’ve wanted to work with but couldn’t due to their ego. Now imagine how many other people experienced the same thing with those artist? Those are missed opportunities that possibly could’ve boosted one’s career in one way or the other.
The other thing I think we as independent artists need to be careful of is some of these promoters out here. I know we all want to perform and promote our music but at what point do you say man, I need to feed my family, I need to get paid for these shows. Nowadays artists are actually paying for the show via ticket sales and not reaping any of the financial benefits. I’ve seen artist sell 50 tickets at $25 a ticket to open up for an artist and not even get to meet the artist their opening up for.
I understand we all want to get out there and promote ourselves but at who’s expense. 50 tickets at $25 a ticket is $1,250. That’s a lot of money for a 20 minute slot. And you don’t get to meet the artist and network with him. I’m not knocking it but I think we have to make better decisions. You get three or four artists together and put up that $1,250 and do your own show. Now each one of you go sell the same 50 tickets a piece at $25 a ticket and you break even. Sell a hundred tickets a piece and you just turned your hobby into a business.
What suggestions do you have for other artists like yourself?
This game isn’t for everyone and that’s why you see so many that had real talent but chose to walk away from it. This can be a very rewarding industry but it is filled with snakes and greed. You have to be strong out here and conduct good business. In today’s world everyone and they momma rap. You have to make sure you separate yourself from those that say they rap and be that person that’s really rapping.
Secondly quit rapping over these internet beats. I know it’s very easy to do but you’re really wasting your time along with a lot of other people’s time if you have any kind of following. So many so called rappers out here actually sell burned CDs and call them an album. You don’t want to be one of those rappers; at least I hope you don’t.
What is one of your favorite ways to promote yourself and your music?
I like to do what I feel the next artist won’t do or maybe thinks he is too good to do. I’m that artist that’s actually hanging on the corner passing out flyers, hitting the clubs at 1:30 am just to put my flyers on all the cars in the parking lot. I like to use the mom and pops to promote out of and just try to stay connected with the streets. I feel like if I can sell 5,000 CDs in my own backyard then I’m most likely going to sell 10,000 to 15,000 CDs in my region. I know it’s not much but for an independent artist like myself, that’s success.
Where can people visit you?
On my official website: www.rockemical.com.