Interview with 16-year-old emcee Y-Roc
Y-Roc, what’s goin’ on? Really feeling your Livin’ Proof ‘13 EP. I have to be honest, I’m also feeling a little old right now, considering the instrumentals you’re using were dope when I was your age, before you were born. It hurts to even say that, but it’s nice to know, they still sound dope all these years later. You were inspired to rhyme over Group Home’s album after hearing something on Hot 97, right? Tell me about that.
Well I usually listen to the Hot 97 morning show when I have to get up early for school and what not, but this one day I over-slept so I missed it. Later to find out that they were doing a special DJ Premier mix on his birthday. So they ended up putting it online after the show, so I went to check it out. I was listening and then Peter Rosenberg said that if there were any artist who would rhyme over DJ Premier’s beats from that first album and was able to kill it then they would be out of here. So that’s where the idea sparked and I decided to do it. It’s really me over some of my favorite DJ Premier instrumentals because, to be honest, I’ve never really listened to Group Home like that.
I understand you draw a lot of inspiration from your father’s record collection. Who are some of your favorite artists from back then?
Yeah, that’s where I get a lot of inspiration from, music-wise. There are so many styles in the collection that I have a love for a lot of different types of music. On a hip hop tip, Jay-Z, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, WU-Tang just to name some. I also love jazz, and I found it from records by John Coltrane and Miles Davis. Also, there’s a lot of good R&B there like R. Kelly and of course MJ.
I noticed that even your flow is reminiscent to some things Jay-Z did on hisReasonable Doubt record as well as Big L, when you speed up to go double-time then slow the flow back down. Sounds like you really study the whole style from back then. What do you connect with the most from that era of Hip-Hop?
The music was all around me when I was a baby so I guess that’s where I picked a lot of it up. I connect with the soul in the music. The sense of caring for the artistry in a song. As far as flow and style, I really do study the music and see why the greats are labeled the greats and what can I bring to the table. Also, Jay-Z is my favorite of all time and biggest inspiration/idol so albums like RD inspired me to actually start making music, so its sick you brought up that feeling you got. That’s tight.
Do you have any favorite artists who are out right now?
Oh yeah, for sure. I love a lot of stuff from now. Guys like Joey Bada$$, Action Bronson, Odd Future, Chance The Rapper, Vince Staples, Jay Electronica, and plenty more from other genres but that’s all I can think of right now off the top. And of course Kanye’s new stuff. I just like a lot of the new movements coming out from all over.
I’m curious to know, you being so young, but yet so familiar with both classic and modern Hip-Hop, how do you feel the two sounds compare to each other (old vs new)? When you listen to you father’s stuff and then turn on the radio, does either sound or feel better to you than the other, or is it all Hip-Hop, just different styles?
Well, most of the stuff that plays on the radio doesn’t really appeal to me. When I think of “new artist” I think of the ones I named above. So if we’re talking new artist like the ones I named above then I feel its all good music, no matter the era it’s made in. But, if were talking hit-radio-wise, everyone wants to rap over the same trap beat and it’s kind of watered down now and no sense of artistry.
Is the full-length Resurrection Of The Livin’ Proof already out? You sending it to Hot 97, I hope? Where can people listen or buy your music?
Actually, I was going to do a full-length mixtape, but I decided to make it into an EP (Livin Proof ’13 EP) because I saw it fit just to do some than the whole thing. I’m trying to get the EP into Hot 97’s hands, I think the morning show would enjoy it. Anyone out there, help me try and get it to them!! Haha. You can find my music always at yroc.bandcamp.com . Also, my twitter which is twitter.com/thekidyroc . Download Livin’ Proof ’13 EP now!
Lastly, what are your hopes for your career as an emcee? Any future projects lined up, like rhyming over Nas’ Illmatic or Mobb Deep’s The Infamous (hint, hint, those are also some dope albums for you to rhyme over)?
For now, just trying to push the new music and gravitate a solid fan base. My next project will probably be more beats from producers I plan on working with, but I’ll probably do some songs over classics like the ones you named. And I also have my long term goals I want to accomplish…Grammys, #1 albums, be up there with the legends at the end of it all…But one step at a time of course.
Y-Roc, thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I wish you much success.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it a lot.