Rob G Interview
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Determined to show a different side of Houston, Texas, Latino rapper Rob G is on a mission. The Chicago-born, Houston bred MC knows that the lyrical content of down south hip-hop has a tendency to be labeled as “heard that already.” Telling a story in a way that only he could explain, Rob G’s first chance to do away with the candy painted cars and sippin’ of purple drank will come this summer; his Latium Entertainment/Universal Republic debut album “Inauguration” hits stores in August. During an interview with DJBooth.net’s DJ “Z,” Rob G talks about his decision to sell drugs to help support a wife and child when he was only nineteen years-old, and the ramifications of his decisions. Rob also discusses his thoughts on the current “state of the streets,” who will accompany him as the next generation of hip-hop talent and what needs to take place for artists’ albums sales to once again become profitable.
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Rob G Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doing it real big and joining me inside the DJ Booth is an upstart Latin rapper from Houston, Texas, who looks to be inaugurated by the end of this summer. Rob G., What’s good?
Rob G: Hey, what’s good “Z”? I’m glad to be here. It’s your boy Rob G, the next Latin Legend. Voice to the people—voice to the street—what’s goin’ down man?
DJ Booth: Born in my hometown of Chicago, you moved to Houston when you were three years old. What do you think would be different had you stayed in the Midwest and never moved down South?
Rob G: Honestly, I don’t think anything would have been too different. I’m a pretty independent minded guy. A lot of the struggles that I went through in life could have happened anywhere. A lot of the things that I went through happened in the streets, and I went there. That’s what I gravitated to. I feel I would have found that environment anywhere. You know what I mean? I might have dressed a little different. I might have talked a little different, but that’s about it.
DJ Booth: You mentioned the street life. Do you regret having to hustle and sell drugs in order to eventually make moves in the music scene? Could you have worked harder at your craft to expedite the process and get your money from a legal source?
Rob G: I don’t regret it; because that was something I did before the rap thing. It was something I never would have done, if it wasn’t an opportunity to provide for my family, being a young father, with a lot of responsibility on my back. I was only 19, holdin’ down a crib, my wife, my son, and my family.
DJ Booth: That’s a lot.
Rob G: I mean that was something that I did to get by. It was there. It was available. I ended up getting into it a little bit deeper that I wanted to, but I did learn from it. I made a lot of mistakes, but I learned from [them.] It was never somethin’ where I wanted to be a career criminal. I wanted to be a rapper, and at the time, that was the only thing I could to, in order to perfect my craft. Before that I was workin’ 80 plus hours a week, and that didn’t leave me any time to work on my craft. It was just something I did in pursuit of my craft, to live out my dream.
DJ Booth: It made you realize what is more important in life, and that is good. In a drug deal gone wrong you almost lost your life. With all the desensitization that takes place based on violence and gun use being common place on TV and in movies, compare your real life situation to the fictional works of the entertainment world?
Rob G: That’s somethin’ I really disagree with in the entertainment business; artists to a certain extent glorify that lifestyle. You know we talk about the fast money, the women, the ease of doin’ what you’re doin’, the credibility in the streets, but in all due reality, that’s not what’s up. I couldn’t look no kid in the face and tell them, if you sell drugs, you’ll be okay. I would be lying to them. I was blessed to meet the old school cats, and they would tell me, this is NOT the kind of life you want to live. “You do end up in jail, dead, or in some serious trouble.” And that’s one thing as well; people look in America, and across the world as a person that sells drugs, as being a horrible-horrible person. That’s somethin’ I also disagree with, because I know guys that have done it; seriously, they did it to provide for their families. You know its different paths of life for different situations. I’ve met those same people tellin’ me if they could do it over in life—tellin’ me that’s not what’s up. I am an advocate though of doing what needs to be done so that my family doesn’t starve. A lot of those guys that schooled me didn’t have dreams, a gift, or a career that they could go by— that’s why they always tried to push me away.
DJ Booth: Well you’re here now, and let’s focus on the future instead of retorting back to the past, because you’ve come a long way. Houston artists continuously get criticized for their content, or lack there of, and often exclaim that there is more than meets the eye. Most of the listening public however has yet to hear anything different. What will you bring to your music that helps to shed a different light on a city that primarily is only known for sippin’ drank and candy paint?
Rob G: Basically just by being myself, you know what I mean? I’ve always took pride in being myself, my own person. The whole me-being-different-thing, I love my city. It’s just; I have to be me. I can’t sit here and talk about the things that I am not going through. Artists, particularly from my city, but not just my city, but all over in hip-hop are just too one-sided, and that’s not what I wanna do. I wanna make people laugh, cry, love, hate, smile; that’s reflective in my music by the way I do it. I’m a very personal writer, and I think that’s what ultimately helps me, stand out from the pack, as my own person, my own artist. Today, real people respect that, and with the pride that I have for Houston alone, I don’t want anyone to look us as artists who cannot bring a message across or be lyrical. Both as a person and a Houstonian, I gotta hold it down.
DJ Booth: Now in February you dropped “State Of The Streets Vol. 1.” Characteristically describe for me the current state of the streets?
Rob G: Rap just aint’ what it used to be, and that’s all across the board. We used to have singles out there like “187 On An Undercover Cop.” You know what I mean? And now it’s just so commercial and oversaturated. It’s just so label driven. They’ve gotta make money, with these records. It’s taken away from an artistic standpoint. In my opinion, that’s why records are not sellin’ the way they used to. There are artists that are not puttin’ out records; they’re just putting out songs. I think people are now going to buy more into the artist, rather than the single. You know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Definitely.
Rob G: Why buy an entire album when there is only one hot song from the club or that you heard on the radio while you’re driving. You could just download it for a dollar. Artists are not being themselves, people are looking for a breath of fresh air and that’s what the streets are saying…
DJ Booth: To me you’re either a ring tone artist or you aren’t. Either you’re an artist who wants to get all of your money through ring tone sales, or out of a really dope album. Speaking of albums, your debut the “Inauguration” drops this summer. What position within hip-hop will you essentially be inaugurated for?
Rob G: “Inauguration” just means that I’ve gotten to the point where I’m being accepted. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve been given an opportunity, and given a chance to come through and say what I have to say about the revolution in hip-hop right now. That’s what inauguration means to me.
DJ Booth: On your website you’re quoted as stating that “its time for the voice of the next generation of hip-hop to be heard.” Who else, besides yourself, do you feel is apart of that wave of representation?
Rob G: Well, there are a lot of people. On a national level there’s definitely Joell Ortiz in New York. He’s kind of just steppin’ out the box. Papoose definitely. DG Yola. You know, hip-hop is not just dependent on guys like me, and not just the people that are in the lime light right now, but even the guys at home with just simple instrumentals, writin’ on pieces of paper—you know what I mean?
DJ Booth: Exactly!
Rob G: These are the people that are writin’ music you can depend on, but right now it’s not really lookin’ that good, not like it used to be—the dominating’ force that Hip-Hop was.
DJ Booth: Rob, obviously if your new album does well you’ll be in position to help others get on. If that does happen, what are you going to do, in your career, to make sure you can help upcoming artists?
Rob G: I definitely want to lead by example. I’m just going to make sure to make the right kind of music, just giving back to the community, and just making sure to give opportunities to others like I was given by Charles Chaves and Laitum Entertainment. I want to open doors for more Latin rappers, with talent. They just doin’ what they gotta do. They love this music thing as much as I do.
DJ Booth: Well as far as Latino talent, you sure stand up. I wish you nothin’ but the best. “Inauguration” is out now in all stores.
Rob G: Thank you.
DJ Booth: Go ahead and give everybody your MySpace address so they can find out more about this album and what you have going on…
Rob G: Cool “Z”! You can find me at www.myspace.com/RobGCampaign and at www.robgmusic.com . You can get all of my pictures, and all of my mixtapes. I also got a brand new mixtape called “Reppin My Block: The Mixtape.” Comin’ out in May, with features from all the hot Houston artists!
DJ Booth: I wish you nothin’ but the best of luck.
Rob G: Yeah, all I got to say is—I know I’m a dope rapper, and I know I’m a dope artist, but I’m nothin’ without you “Z,” and I’m nothin’ without the people—and the fans out there that really make it happen. Thank you man!
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