After months upon months of writing about and listening to dope tracks upon insanely dope tracks from the recently ranked top 10 Bay Area freshman Roach Gigz, Southern Hospitality finally caught up with San Francisco’s elastic vocalled emcee about his life, lifestyle and music:
Enter Planet Roach…
First of all, shout out to Southern Hospitality, the UK and every single person around the world who listens to Roach Gigz, I love it, thank you.
Can you break down the name Roach Gigz for us? What’s the story behind it?
When you’re born at home in your apartment that’s just what happens – my mom named me after the first thing she saw at the moment. Nah, I’m playing. I don’t remember exactly when, my memory likes to take days off work, but I know it was definitely the homies that started calling me Roach. I want to believe it’s because one time I was hittin’ the dubee stupid hard and I swallowed the whole thing, burnt my throat and shit, true story, but really it was from Next Friday and the character Roach. You know, the white boy who fed all the weed brownies to the dog. He was just cool as fuck, and didn’t really give a fuck, and that was me at the time. Plus I was like the only one around who wasn’t black, it just lightweight stuck. And then Gigz, I was just on that Mac Dre shit heavy, and I used to be at all the functions hittin’ it, and people knew me from that, well at least in the city they did. So somewhere along the line Gigz got added, but I don’t really dance all like that no more, so I’m thinking I should just keep it at Roach G, what you think?
Where in San Francisco did you come up? And what was life like for you growing up?
I rep for the whole seven square miles of this mothafucka man. Born and raised. I’ve stayed all around the city, so the whole San Fransisco is where I came up at, but the ‘Moe will always be where my heart’s at. At first it was just me and moms, no dad, didn’t even meet him ’til I was seven or eight. As I got older I started goin’ through and seeing all the regular bullshit, friends getting shot, police constantly fuckin’ with us, and everything else you can think of that I’m not gon’ mention. When I was a teenager I was doing a lot of the shit my moms could have never imagined or wanted for me, the stuff that kept her up at night and got her paranoid when the phone rang late. See my mom is a smart woman, and she pushed education tough and always tried to expose me to different things, so I always did good in school because I would never feel right letting her down. But after school I was right back to being a little hoodlum. I’m a product of all that.
You bring a lot of colour to the game and you’re always refreshingly animated, something that was certainly a characteristic of the late Mac Dre – do you try to keep your music as upbeat as possible?
It ain’t on purpose, like I think my mind works differently or something, I don’t know, and I guess that comes out in the music. Like my last tattoo was the whole alphabet scattered on my forearm. And when I got it I was thinking, people always ask what my tattoos say, next time they ask me, I’m going to tell them, ‘whatever the fuck you want it to’. And that’s kind of my approach to music too. I can’t choose what song gets popular, it’s the streets and internet that take it how they want it and choose the song that’s going to blow up and everybody is going to start slappin’. I mean, I got other shit too, one of my favorite songs is also my mom’s all time favorite song of mine, it’s called ‘Freezin” with Lil 4, and that’s on a complete different hype. So I got that shit too, people just gotta go on Google and search for them or whatever they do, I don’t even got a copy of all my songs anymore. But the simplest and truest answer to your question is, I don’t try anything, what people hear is just what comes out of me at that particular moment, and I’m just happy people fuck wit it.
Did Mac Dre influence you as an artist?
Is that even a question? Mac Dre was the best rapper of all time.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Aside from Dre, 2Pac of course, Lil Wayne, Andre 3000, Eminem, and um Miley Cyrus.
How would explain what it is you’re trying to bring to the industry in general and also the Bay Area scene, which has so much talent coming up right now?
I respect what everybody out here is doing. It makes me proud to be from the Bay. As far as Roach, I’m just trying to bring me. It seems like for a lot of people in the world being themselves is a challenge, for me its natural, I do this shit. I’m a must see attraction and I love when people love it. I mean really I’m just trying to bring a new story and something different to the table, and with the right support I could take it to the next level, and create opportunities for more people to follow my path and be successful. That’s what I want to do, and I’m just getting started.
The new video for ‘I’m Up (The Drug Song)’ is one of the dopest out – what’s the substance of choice in your city right now?
Yeah we didn’t even have a plan for that video, we just went outside and shot it. We did it the same weekend we shot My Bitch Look Better. Shout out to Aris Jerome, he’s stupid with the videos, check out Respect It and Magic Gas too. In my city though, everybody got their own substance of choice, I can’t speak for the whole city because some people don’t even put their substance of choice out there like that, if you feel me. Me though, I’m on straight Roach Pills and liquor, and the occasional smacker which is an e-pill if I’m feelin’ ill. Oh yeah and Roach Pills are what we call Robo Pills…Dextro baby.
Do you still pop Thizz and sip Bo?
I’ve been poppin since I was 15 or 16, that shit really catch up with you. I slowed down on it, I ain’t gone say I don’t pop no more, but I slowed down. And bo, it depends what you talking about, if we talking Promethazine Codeine, then I slowed down on that too, but I love my Dextro though, that Robo will really have you floating. I think they created that shit with me in mind, and I would like to take this time to thank them, whoever them is.
Take us through a typical day in the life of Roach Gigz on Planet Roach…
Wake up, take a shower, listen to myself for the next few hours. It really depends. If it’s up to me I wake up, get some head, then make music all day. Hit the lab, put on a beat and get it rockin’. Sometimes I get distracted by that fat dude on the Travel Channel eatin’ all them bugs and shit, then I get back right back to making music. I just try to have as much fun as possible, and sometimes that involves not doing shit. At night, if I got a show, I get my power-up vitamins and minerals, then go destroy it. I love being on stage. I love watching everybody sing the words to my songs. I was meant to do this.
Who would you say are your top 5 Bay artists at the moment?
I fuck with everybody. If you from the Bay I support you. Of course B.I.G. and the Mango Mob, the two the groups I rock with. And I’m really feeling DB Tha General and this dude SU. They dope.
And who is the greatest rapper of all time to you?
Pac is the greatest, Dre is the best.
There was a rumour last summer that you were shot and killed. Did you catch wind of them and can you confirm that the rumours were false?
Yeah, they were saying I was gone for minute. If the rumors were true you should feel real special seeing as though you are talking directly to an angel an all that, they should give you a prize or something. Really though, I even had someone call me from Minnesota who moved from out here like, “Roach are you okay, my friend heard some people on the bus talking about you were dead.” My producer called me wondering what happened. I read a blog where people were commenting about where I got shot at and all this other shit. Lets make it crystal though, I’m not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, I have been very close a few times, but I made it out of those situations. I’m good.
Tell us about Bitch I Go and Lil 4 Tay – that’s Rappin 4 Tay’s son right?
Me and Lil 4 are like family. We’re the same age, and we were born three days apart, April 22nd and April 25th. Before we rapped together we was already cool as fuck just from growing up. I started rapping in my closet in the beginning of 2006, I was using a free download Cool Edit program and a $20 Radio Shack microphone. People ended up liking the songs I was making, and if you look on Youtube there is even a video of my first performance. I was performing a couple of them songs nervous as fuck, but 4 was right there with me in the camouflage jacket. One day I was high in science class and I thought of this hook for a song, later that day I met up with 4 and we was just chillin in my car, I had a old ass green Taurus at the time, and we decided to make that hook into our first song together. We ended up making the beat and everything, our brains work crazy together, that’s why I call 4 the other half of my brain. That song ended up becoming ‘I Get It’ and that was the birth of Bitch I Go. After that we just started making hella music, and putting it out there for people to listen too. We ended up living together in my tiny ass studio apartment, and we really thought “I Get It” was about to be the biggest thing since that Soulja Boy song. We were doing shows everywhere in NorCal, opening up for Mistah Fab and shit. But life work in crazy ways you know, so shit didn’t work out as planned. Those were some of the best times of my life though, and we got hella music. We just put out our first official CD online called From Another. It’s an EP with our favorite mostly unreleased songs from those years, mostly ’07 and ’08. I got B.I.G. tatted across my stomach, Roach G and Lil 4 is for life. Believe that.
You’ve got a new project dropping called ‘Roachy Balboa’ right? Is that going to be all new material?
All original material. It’s like another commercial before the real album comes. It’s a lot of music to get mothafuckas hyped on there and show off this gas a little bit. I’m just trying to get people ready for my album, which is going to be, well let’s just say if there’s anybody not paying attention to me now, it’s going to be hard for them to keep doing that when the album drops. I think it’s going to be called ‘Therapy Sessions’. But life changes, so the title might too.
What can you tell us about your album dropping in 2010? Got a title yet? And any features planned?
I guess I talk to much. As far as features, I can’t tell you yet. I want the right people bringing out the right parts, it could be a hippie from Haight street for all I care, but for it’s mostly gone all be me. It’s about halfway done. It should be dropping a few months after I have my first baby. He’s due in June.
Which producers would you most like to work with at the moment?
The producers I got are already dope, Swerve, C-Loz, KMTB, Nobe, and some others that have sent me shit. But in terms of super duper major big time I can’t afford that fucking beat type shit. Ummmm, Kanye West, Neptune’s, Timbaland, and whoever made ‘Lemonade’ for Gucci Mane and some others, I ain’t good with names.
Download Roach’s highly anticipated mixtape ‘Roachy Balboa’ right here, right now by clicking on either cover or the link below.
We can confirm that this is one of, if not the best mixtape of 2010. DJ Racks lays back in the cut and expertly sequences and blends 15 original tracks in Roach’s finest moment yet. The album, if this is anything to go by, will be incredible.