Monday, December 19, 2011

Emcee of the Month: Rocky Rivera

Sorry I'm late everyone.

I've searched and searched for decent video interview of Rocky, but I couldn't find anything to my liking.  Fortunately, a fellow blogger (Hanalei Somar from the little I know) has been able to track Rocky down during a recent visit to NYC.

Here's an excerpt from their conversation.  It's a really good read.

During her recent visit to NYC, I was able to catch up with the extraordinary hustler/emcee, Rocky Rivera, for a quick talk about trick habits, community support, and her new life as the Gangster of Love. This is a full transcript of the interview intended for the upcoming ACV Cinevue blog article “Quality In the Age of Viral Video: Time with Rocky Rivera.”

h!: What are you up to in NYC? Any special projects going on right now?

Rocky Rivera: I have a mixtape coming out, June 7th. We haven’t even announced it yet. It’s called the Popkiller Mixtape; it’s basically a collection of beats furnished by the artists or producers themselves. The concept behind Popkiller is really a critique of the mainstream, but at the same time, it’s a way for me to utilize the same tools to get my message across. Whether it’s guerrilla advertising; basically trying to get my main message across using the same methods that a pop artist would use while simultaneously trying to keep the underground true. So, that’s really what Popkiller is about. It’s about utilizing those same methods to getting a really substantial message across, something that should actually be shared with the masses. 

 h!: What is “La Madrina” a part of? 

Rocky Rivera: It’s the first leak off the Popkiller Mixtape. It was a free download, and we’ll be doing more in the following months. But “La Madrina” is from Popkiller. I’m doing one last video for the Rocky Rivera LP, “Girl Like Me,” which is coming out in a couple weeks. We’re really transitioning into the next project. The video will be coming out in May, which is the final single from my Rocky Rivera LP.

h!: Aside from Jessica Hagedorn, there are other nods to sheroes that come across in your music. Dolores Huerta in “Heart” and even some Angela Davis peppered through some of your work. Is it important for you as a woman artist to pay homage to these revolutionaries? 

Rocky Rivera: “Heart” was such an exceptional beat for me, because as a female artist, I always have to keep my own personal life at a distance. There’s this whole double standard of being a woman in a male dominated industry. I know the challenges of that. For me to be able to channel that kind of inspiration from these different women on such an emotional beat was such a way for me to get in touch with my emotions and my own history, without really revealing too much of myself and my private life. It was a way for me to put myself in their shoes, and really think about their struggles. The things that made it possible for me to do what I have to do today. 

Whether it’s Dolores Huerta, whether it’s Angela Davis, whether it’s Gabriela Silang, or whether it’s cocaine QueenPin, Griselda Blanco. These are women’s stories that need to be told. These are important stories. I feel like I’m a storyteller. As a journalist, I’m a storyteller. I am the vessel in which their stories come back to life. I would take that role, but at the same time, it’s not the only thing that I do.

For the full interview, have a look here.

For good measure, here's Rocky track "Heart".  Like I've said before, I'm a sucker for those four-bar soul samples.


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