Growing up in Providence, Rhode Island, euro had to be fearless. At any given moment, his older brother Yago would toss him into tough situations, forcing him into flight or fight mode. Little did they know it would affect euro in a way that was beyond their wildest dreams.
“[Yago] would always have me do stuff like fight the older kids on the block to show that I wasn’t afraid of anything,” euro tells VIBE VIVA. Some tests were extreme with euro, born Eufradis Rodriguez, had to stand in front of a fence with baseballs thrown at him at full speed. The practice was pretty unconventional, but it helped entice euro’s drive. “I was a little kid standing in front of Yago, a grown man, throwing a baseball at me hard as hell just to take that fear out of me,” he said. “Let’s just say it takes a lot to scare me.”
That fearlessness euro is something that the 26-year-old rapper attributes to his Dominican heritage. Born in the Dominican Republic and later migrating to Providence at three years old, euro had a tough time dealing with the issues many Latinx people face when coming into the United States. “There are a lot of Dominicans in Providence, young and old, dealing with the struggles of being an immigrant,” he says. Fortunately, the large Dominican population in Providence offered euro a place of solace. “That’s one thing about Dominicans. Wherever we go we can find a spot, bring our culture, and make it feel like home.”
euro’s name may ring bells for a few reasons. The artist was ushered into the rap game as the newest member of Young Money on Lil Wayne’s Dedication 5 mixtape in 2013. He had an impressive showing on the mixtape locking in four features, the most out of anyone on the project. He followed that up a year later with three more features on the Young Money compilation album Young Money: Rise of an Empire and a 7-track solo mixtape titled July.
He was poised to lead the next generation of Young Money but everything came to a screeching halt when internal issues between Wayne and Birdman put a damper on the plans for euro’s debut album Don’t Expect Nothing. “I was going through a lot during that time. I was in the middle of it all,” euro says. “The climate changed and certain label services that we were accustomed to before were no longer available.” He could’ve easily crumbled under the problems within his crew but like the fourth track on Don’t Expect Nothing explains, he never folded.
Similar to the little kid in Providence that showed his fearlessness time and time again, euro tapped into that courage to help him overcome yet another obstacle in his life. Through years of trial and error, euro along with his brother Yago—who’s also his manager—found their way out of rock bottom. Don’t Expect Nothing is the culmination of all that hard work, time and effort.
VIBE VIVA spoke with euro about his long-awaited debut, his Dominican heritage, the aftermath of Wayne and Birdman’s issues, and more.
How was it introducing Wayne and Birdman to your world?
Just being Dominican and coming in with that culture I’m bringing in a different type of energy. I think they learned a lot from the things I did and how I said things like speaking about my country to them. Certain aspects of my culture that I brought to Wayne and Young Money is like the way we carry ourselves and the vibes and energy we give off. We have a certain sound that you could hear in the way I talk and the way I rap. I throw Spanish words in there.
You and your family didn’t settle in Providence until you were about five years old. What was that transition like for you going back and forth?
When you’re the new kid and you’re by yourself, it’s tough. Especially when you’re new to an environment. It was crazy. As far as getting adjusted or things like that I learned to do it quickly and fearlessly. When you’re young and you move around a lot you learn to adapt quickly. It was kind of helpful bouncing back and forth.
Do you identify with the Dominican culture in Providence more than you do with the Dominican Republic?
Even though I was raised in Providence and a lot of my culture comes from that place I’ve always kept an ear for the Dominican Republic because I still have family out there. I know where my family comes from. I know my mothers’ side where I can go down the line and follow it down specifically to Guinea, Africa. There are certain places and things that we all come from. I know where my family and my culture comes from. The Dominican Republic is a mixture of Spain and Africa so I know where I’m from. Me being Dominican I made sure the way I was raised I learned my history. I think it’s all about knowledge and information. Everybody should know where their culture is from and where their people come from.
That's one thing about Dominicans. Wherever we go we can find a spot, bring our culture, and make it feel like home.
Speaking of that fearlessness, you can sense that and hunger within your rhymes on this album specifically on tracks like “What I’ll Start With” and “Never Fold.” Where would you say that drive comes from for you?
“What I’ll Start With” comes from the perspective of making it clear that this whole thing is bigger than me and that I have big dreams. That’s why I started it out with “To God, the glory/I die enormous.” I don’t want to live dormant. That came from me being in the basement in Providence as a kid and writing raps. That fearlessness and ambition boil over to where I say ‘A young n**** gotta make it out of where he came from.’ That comes from a very ambitious place where that little Dominican kid was scraping together raps with a dream. That’s where that energy came from–being an immigrant, living in the hood with something to prove and knowing what I’m capable of. I’m doing this my way and I’m not following anybody.
The album went through so many delays. What happened and how did you work through all that mess?
Man, it was a lot. It was mostly the clearances and just getting the situation right because with this music business you have to have your paperwork straight. You can’t just make a song and put it out there and think you’re going to make money off of it. There’s no way. But what happened these last few years was just trying figuring everything out. Everyone knows about Lil Wayne and Birdman situation. I had to take a step back and figure out my situation. [My brother and I] figured it out though. I got my own company, we figured out distribution, and all these clearances. I was doing this with no funding. I didn’t have a big label backing me. It took us a minute but we got our paper and our business straight and that’s the important thing. Young Money is still family. Whether or not it’s together or broken, that’s my team and my family. I have my own company but that’s the family for life. Period.
Why just have Wayne as the sole feature on the album and what was it like working with him?
I only had him on the album because I felt it was only right. With this being the first project I had to have my mentor on there. Somebody that walked me into this game and been with me every step of the way. I thought it would be a dope moment and working with him is always surreal. I’m just a kid from Providence who’s in the studio with Lil Wayne, it’s insane. I’m always trying to prove myself to him so that energy is always crazy every time we get in the lab. It’s dope.
The recurring theme on this album seems to be resiliency and sticking the course that’s laid out for you despite how hard things get. How’d you stick to your course and not give up on what you set out to do?
It comes from my humble beginnings. Even without rap, I can go back home and I’m going to do what I do. A lot of people make it easy to give up and I don’t know if that’s because they put all their eggs in one basket and once an obstacle pops up that’s it they’re done. Just for me to even speak English was an accomplishment. Myself, my people, my culture, and my city we don’t give up. I know that things take time and nothing great comes overnight. That’s why I’m still here. There’s very little that phases me. Anything with this music industry is not that serious to me because I deal with real life. I can’t go crazy over things like my project not coming out. Sure it bothers me a lot and it hurts because I’m an artist and this is a dream and passion of mine. But at the same time, this is real life and I need to deal with that. I’m not one of these artists that will throw tantrums or start tweeting or spazzing on my label.
When looking back at the wins and losses in your life, what do these new accomplishments mean for you?
It means a lot. It’s crazy because it’s like if I can see myself back in the day I’d be like damn that’s crazy. I was in Providence hopping fences, breaking rules, and acting up. That same snotty-nosed kid that didn’t seem like he had much of a future ended up doing good things for himself. It just means a lot and it’s special because I really do love the Dominican Republic and Providence with all my heart. As much pain as I’ve experienced in both places I have great memories too. It’s just special.
Stream Don’t Expect Nothing below.