interview ROCA DOLLA  (February 2009) | Interview By: Javon Adams

   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 few.

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
Javon Adams.

Interview was done in October 2008

Questions Asked By: Javon Adams

Roca Dolla Interview Audio: Listen Here

Roca Dolla Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout: Listen Here

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 from.

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 statement?

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 state.

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 way.

Dubcnn: There are forty tracks, right?

About 42

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 Hop.

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 have?

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 really good.

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: Listen Here

Roca Dolla Gave Dubcnn A Shoutout: Listen Here

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