The Brooklyn emcee and winner of VIBE and Ourstage.com’s contest, Rox (a.k.a. Young Richie Rich) sits down to discuss the fundamentals of the industry and what lies ahead. —Derryck “Nes” Johnson
VIBE.com: What originally fueled your passion to become an emcee?
Rox: It would have to be Rakim and them, a little bit of Biggie. These artists made me feel good about the music and helped put me in that direction to become an emcee.
Brooklyn, NY has bred some of the most talented individuals in the game. Does that add any pressure on you?
Pressure? Nah, I don’t feel any pressure at all. That only goes to show you don’t have any faith in yourself, you know what I mean? So I feel no pressure. I just let the music speak for itself.
With the current state of the industry, do you feel the need to cater to the pop market to sell? Or is what you’re bringing to the table enough to make your mark as an artist?
I feel if you come original and just be yourself, the people and fans listening will accept you more. You’ll eventually find your career and yourself in a much better mind state to be creative if you approach it like that. I don’t feel you should follow in other people’s footsteps. You should just sit and watch to learn from their ups and downfalls.
You’ve managed to start your own label from the ground up with Deep Street Entertainment. What three CEO influenced you in any way in the music industry?
First off, I would have to say Puffy because he’s a great entrepreneur and creative. Second, Jay-Z, because he’s also very artistic and a great entrepreneur as well. Third would be Dr. Dre.
As an up and coming artist/businessman, what’s more important to you… the talent, the passion or the business?
You want my truthful opinion on that one? I can’t really pick individually on that topic… I personally feel it’s all three. Everything counts. You have to have your business together and your passion. With that passion you have to have the talent to do that music and put your best foot forward you know what I’m saying? If you don’t have that passion, it’s not going to sound good to anyone.
What artists are you checking for now?
I really listen to everybody. I listen to old school hip-hop, new school, blues and R&B music. I like to listen to everything. Certain people made it to a point in their careers for a reason so it’s good to listen to everybody. Plus, you really have to get to know who the competition is around you in order to outthink them.
What’s in the immediate future for you and your company?
Success. As far as what I have coming out, I have a mixtape called Flood the Street, Volume 1, which is out now at Datpiff, Volume 2 is coming in mid-July. I have an artist on Deep Street called Kemist coming with Now You Think You Know Me. K. Breeze made Ends Meet, Volume 1” and my hypeman Murda aka Poodamack coming with Boss-Like Lifestyle.