Growing Up Latino With Tanboys’ West Coast Phenom Rossi Rock
West Coast rapper Rossi Rock emerged from the underside of San Diego—by the border in South Bay—a little-known MC with a charming knack of blending classic soul/R&B and hip-hop. Born Anthony Martinez, Rossi’s earlier narrative saw him a child prodigy of tennis, an act his late father dreamt would set the stage for his Chicano son to follow in the footsteps of modern American champ Agassi.
Today, the 26-year-old wordsmith celebrates his metaphorical championship run as a hip-hop wunderkind in cahoots with East Harlem’s Tanboys. “I found out about Rossi Rock from his friend named Richie Moon,” said co-frontman OHLA of the New York City crew. “He reached out with some dope music and a very humbling email. I checked it out and wanted to work with him. I thought he would fit our movement perfectly and we have a strong following on the west coast. And I knew he would represent us very well on that side. I showed it to [Bodega] Bamz and he agreed.”
Formerly known as Def Steady Rock, and a Dom Kennedy doppelgänger as some would have it, Rossi is repping hard for Suav City (the home team) and his native San Diego all summer ’16. In his latest video for “19&55?, a cut with plenty bounce for your whip, Rossi Rock & Co. take on the Bay Area, toting bottles of cerveza in hand.
Keep your eyes peeled for a new project, aptly titled Agassi, this August. ‘Til then, get further acquainted with the up-and-comer…
Unforgettable childhood memory:
Playing tennis with my dad. My pops use to always push me to play, he called me his prodigy. It was his dream more than it was mine. I remember being in tournaments as kid, trying to make him proud.
Favorite home cooked dish:
Enchiladas Suizas. It’s got that tangy green sauce that’s too fire. I can eat that everyday.
Craziest Hispanic proverb as told by mami or abuela:
Revelations (the end of times). The way it’s described in the Bible is scary when you’re a kid.
Che Guevara moment (or greatest moment of rebellion):
Listening to rap music. I grew up in a Christian home and My parents were strict. They hated the cussing and sexual references, so I would have to listen when I was home alone. I would take advantage of that and tune into 106 & Park and MTV Jams.
A photo posted by ROSSI (@rossirock) on
I first saw myself as Latino when…
I was in middle school. There has always been tension between blacks and Mexicans, but I had friends on both sides. It’s about that time the cycle breaks so we can all come together.
Chupacabra or El Cuco:
The Chupacabra. I would always hear about sightings, and seen pictures.
Favorite Poor man’s meal:
Vicks or Rubbing alcohol. My mom’s go-to.
Salsa, Bachata or Reggaeton?
Reggaeton. I never personally listened to it, but it was popular around the time I was in high school. Once the DJ threw on Don Omar or Daddy Yankee the party was jumping.
Telenovela guilty pleasure:
To be honest I never had one. When I would visit my grandma as a kid I remember her watching Laura.
Mom and dad.
Live Forever. Meaning make your mark in this life before your time is up.