With his debut album, Dreams & Nightmares, set to hit stores next month, Philadelphia’s own hip-hop Rocky talks about connecting with fans and striving for a better life.
This feature appears in Complex's October/November 2012 Issue.
BRING THE NOISE.
When I’m not in the booth, I’m one of the most laid-back guys. But growing up, I liked DMX, Jay-Z, 50 Cent, and T.I.—dudes that went all out on the track. My first songs were energetic because I liked their energy. When I used to battle people every day, I had to go hard. If someone went harder than me, they left with the win. I haven’t lost since I was 12 years old.
Coming from the streets you’re surrounded by guns, drugs, and money. People are dying every day and I thought I was going to get killed. Philly gave me my ambition and drive to get more.
STRIVE FOR MORE.
Philly ain’t a nice place to be. A lot of things go down around here. I used to believe you couldn’t be anything coming from the streets. You’re surrounded by guns, drugs, and money. People are dying every day and I thought I was going to get killed. Philly gave me my ambition and drive to get more. It’s a reminder to stay on top of my game. That’s not a place I want to go back to.
CONNECT WITH PEOPLE.
You could be Top 5 on iTunes, but for people to buy an album, they’ve got to have a connection with an artist. Every time I bought someone’s album, it was about the connection. I was loving everything, from their raps to their style. I wanted to meet them. The last album I bought was Drake’s Take Care. I had that connection with him and he was on fire.
WORRY ABOUT YOURSELF.
I work hard. I focus on myself and putting food on my dinner table before anything else. I don’t worry about other artists. Worrying about the next person in a negative way is the wrong way to be. Why be a hater? If they’re doing major numbers, I say, “I wanna sell more albums than that. I wanna bring something new to the game and go further than that person.”