ROCA DOLLA (February 2009) | Interview By:
Outkast once said that the South had something to say. Well, the Southwest
has something to say as well. Phoenix, AZ is building momentum and they will
not stop until the Hip Hop nation takes notice. Javon recently sat down with
Producer/Emcee extraordinaire Roca Dolla to discuss his new project Roca Is
A Classic which features Stat Quo, Big Mike and Willy Northpole to name a
The Arizona legend lets it be known that he is a true emcee and it is
evident on his recent release. Roca tells us that while AZ is starting to
really grow as a Hip Hop community that he had to endure some dark days in
order to get to this point.
The entrepreneur also talks about how the relationships he has nurtured have
helped him build successful businesses that further lay the foundation for
Hip Hop in the Valley of the Sun aka Phoenix, AZ.
Read on to put yourself up on game and find out why Roca Is A Classic.
As ever, you can read this exclusive interview below and we urge you to leave
feedback on our forums or email them to
Interview was done in October 2008
Roca Dolla Interview Audio:
Roca Dolla Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout:
Dubcnn: Roca Dolla welcome to Dubcnn. How are you doing?
Iím chilling and itís my pleasure.
Dubcnn: Before I get into it, let the people know where you are
Iím from Phoenix, AZ. Born and raised.
Dubcnn: Roca Is A Classsic is the name of the album. Itís a
double CD. Thatís quite ambitious so was the intention to make a
It just started outÖI was doing more producing and sometimes I was
frustrated about situations and decided to write songs. Once youíre an
emcee you are always an emcee. Even if you are producing you are still
an emcee at heart. Iím not talking about rappers, Iím talking about
emcees. The true emcees know what Iím talking about. Iím talking about
the cats that grew up on Rakim. Emcees are always going to want to write
and pick that pen up. I would pick the pen and pad up and over time it
became a body of work.
Dubcnn: You put together a documentary that is very good. Let
people know where they can go to check that out.
It just talks about the plight of Arizona. It talks about how we were
set back due to some politicians and some prejudice. I believe there was
a lot of prejudice because Arizona didnít want to honor the Martin
Luther King Jr Holiday. It set Hip Hop back in a major way because we
were interacting with NWA and acts like that back in the day. There was
a cat named Phillip Jefferson that used to bring NWA out here before
they were big. We had a lot of L.A. groups coming in like DJ Quik, MC
EihtÖwe were interacting with a lot of West Coast groups and we could
have pulled into that whole movement but there was a stigma attached to
Arizona because the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday was basically
railroaded by certain politicians. I talk about that in the documentary
and I talk about my plight in Hip Hop. I also talking about how there
are a lot of people that donít want to claim ArizonaÖI donít blame
people for not wanting to claim it because it was viewed as a racist
For me it was where I was from so I decided to claim it even though I
didnít agree with what they were doing. I was still going to say that I
was from AZ. That was my decision to make back in the days and it took
until now for Arizona to really start getting a music scene. We have a
lot of cats coming up out here.
Dubcnn: Where can they check it out?
You can go to YouTube
and search Mr. Iroc. Thatís my OG name. Itís a three part series.
Dubcnn: I thought it was real cool the way you chronicled what
you have done over your career. Itís one thing to say that you went to
do an in-store in Tucson, AZ and that it was poppiní but you had the
footage to back it up.
The funny thing about that is that I didnít realize that I had the
footage until I started going through tapes. I thought that it would
document a lot of history. I happened to have some of the footage to
document what I was saying.
Dubcnn: You mentioned earlier that you are a producer and a very
talented one. That begs the questionÖon your project you hold down
almost all of the production.
I definitely held down most of it. Some tracks I collaborated with other
producers on and had other producers do tracks for me. I probably did at
least 80% of the album. The other 20% I added to the production in some
Dubcnn: There are forty tracks, right?
Dubcnn: So with my college math that comes to about 32. *laughs*
Yup, you pretty fast. *laughs*
Dubcnn: You had some radio success most recently with the song
ďSwellĒ. In the Phoenix area it wasÖ
It was on Power 98.3
Dubcnn: It was number 49 in the year end recap. So do you feel
radio is necessary for you to be successful?
Well, this is the first time that Iím looking at radio as an avenue.
Iíve always been on the independent tip and on the real underground tip.
I have a following from the Bay Area, Cali, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Las
Vegas and Colorado. Those are some of my stronger places. San Diego,
Japan and France as wellÖI never looked at the radio but now I think the
climate is right for Arizona. If the radio comes then fine but if it
doesnít then I still have to hustle from a street level or grassroots
perspective. I think that the radio is finally ready to embrace AZ Hip
Dubcnn: On your documentary you talk about the relationships you
have built over the years and how those have paid off. My question is
have you ever had a situation where you thought someone was acting
genuinely and they turned around and burned you? If so how do you deal
with that in the industry?
I think that type of stuff happens in any industry. You could be working
at a Burger King and your manager could be shady. That type of stuff
happens and it is so prevalent that I really donít deal with the
negative aspects of that. Iíd rather talk about the positive stuff.
Thatís so prevalentÖI own a recording studio, an office and Clear Image
Media Group. We do music videos and we might have someone that doesnít
pay a bill or pays half of a bill and you never see them again. Iím
starting this thing called Grown Man Music Movement and Iím on some
grown man stuff. I really donít have time for the kids stuff.
Dubcnn: You touched on a couple of the businesses that you have.
Being a business man do you ever encounter a negative perception and
feel that you have to prove yourself with all the ventures that you
I feel like Iím successful with what I have done. Weíre sitting in my
studio and I have a state of the art set up. I have studio next door and
one at the crib. I have a lot of people use my studio. I have had The
Outlawz, Glasses Malone, Young Buck, Sha Money XL, Layzie Bone, C-Bo,
West Coast Mafia and many others. Iíve had a lot of cats use my services
and that in itself is successful to me. The fact that when people come
in town and they need a studio they come to my spot is success. Iím
happy with where I am at in life.
Dubcnn: 5th Coast Records is your label. In terms of going back
to Roca Is A Classic I know that this isnít your first go round. The
industry has changed over the years with the digital side of things.
What are your expectations for this project?
With this project, I wouldnít call it my baby but it is a project that I
just dropped recently. I dropped it for Phoenix and on the local tip. I
just wanted to put an album about there because I hadnít released an
album in a long time. The project is kind a growing legs and itís
running like Flo Jo. I wanted to drop something to see what it was going
to do and everyone is approaching me. I just met with the radio station
recently and I think they are going to pick up my single. I have a
station in Vegas that is getting ready to pick it up as well. For me the
project is taking on a life of itís own.
The project that I am really working on is a cat named Tray Gutta. Heís
from Alabama and has been living out here for a few years. Iím working
on his project right now on a commercial level. Thatís the project that
I am really focusing on. My project is doing itís thing and it doing
Dubcnn: Do you like being behind the scenes more where you can
create and mould or do you like being out in front of the crowd?
Thatís like a Pandoraís Box because I like making music. But with making
music and pushing your music comes being in front. I donít like
performing and being in front, I like being behind the scenes but in
order to put your music out you have to perform and be in the spotlight
a little bit. Itís like a double edged sword. If I could just put out
music and just be a hermit in the studio thatís what I would do. But you
have to serve both masters.
Dubcnn: Once again, tell people about what they can expect from
Roca Is A Classic. I know you have some features on itÖfrom listening to
your flow and production you can carry a project by yourself but what
can they expect from it?
I took it back to the essence. Itís good music and itís live music. If I
was hearing a violin then I got an actual violinist. If I was hearing a
live bass then I put one in. Almost all of the tracks have live
instrumentation in them. We got Stat Quo on it. We have Big Mike from
the Geto Boys. We have Willy Northpole and a lot of the local rappers
that I respect like Cinque, Tray Gutta, S. Black, Ocean. I call I gumbo
because I grabbed from the East, West, MidwestÖthatís really the
movement that I am pushing with 5ifth Coast. It means you have the West
Coast, Midwest, Dirty South, East and the Southwest. We have a lot of
influence from the West Coast from early on but the Southwest is a new
movement on the horizon.
Major props to dubcnn for shedding light on the music from this side of
the map. There are a lot of emcees that are really doing their thing.
Check for Arizona. Go to
RocaDolla or iTunes.
Roca Dolla Interview Audio:
Roca Dolla Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout: