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Saturday, 11 May 2013 00:00

Rocko

Written by Deanne Deluna | Photos by Jason Rene
In today’s musical climate, rappers usually follow a simple format: hustle hard, get noticed, sign a record deal, make hit singles and then, if they’re lucky, start a label—with the cycle continuing with their newly signed artists. But for out-of-the-box thinker and businessman Rocko (born Rodney Ramone Hill, Jr.), the opposite is true.

As the owner of A1 Entertainment (formerly known as Rocky Road Records), his artistic endeavors as a rapper is a side gig to his full-time job as a music mogul, which is something that will always come first in his life. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve respect for his talent because even though Rocko has only been spitting lyrics since 2006 (with only one album under his belt, 2008’s Self Made), he’s been able to acquire a hefty fan base despite his limited discography.

“I just rap for the sport and still haven’t decided to be a rapper full-time,” he confesses. “It’s something I just like to do whenever I can. But I’m not out here trying to be in front of the camera every day. I’m not about all that.”

I just rap for the sport and still haven’t decided to be a rapper full-time.While many are fascinated with the stardom that being a hip-hop artist possesses, it was being around his cousin’s studio that intrigued Rocko. After getting a hands-on education in the recording business from his time in the studio, he created his own imprint in 2002. But discovering new talent for a couple of years, Rocko felt he needed a challenge, which is what prompted him to pick up a mic.

Rocko

“I’m young and ambitious and anything I put my mind to, I do it,” he describes. “I like to challenge myself to try different things and that’s how I started rapping. One day, I just went into the studio and started to make my own music. The tracks turned out to be hits, which is what has now allowed me to actually make a career out of it.”

With a drive that never stops, Rocko has been keeping busy these past few years not only growing his imprint and fostering new artists like ATL’s Future, but also working on new tracks for two new releases this year. While both are still pending some final touches, the first studio album that he’s dropping will be titled, Seeing Is Believing, which he describes will feature tracks that are filled with “substance.”

“I’m rapping about things from my heart straight to your ears,” he says. “This album will showcase my everyday situation, trials and tribulations and everything that makes me who I am.” After he pours his heart out for his second studio LP, he plans on releasing his next album, One of One, by the end of this year. For this effort, he’s added a few collaborations from various artists who he “highly respects” and will showcase his “skills” with an upbeat vibe.

Rocko

Being the busy bossman while juggling his rap career hasn’t always been easy, noting that he’s still trying to find a happy medium when handling both. “It’s a hard job to get the right balance because I’m the type of person to completely focus my energy into whatever I’m working on at the moment, so it feels like either one gets neglected when I’m not entirely concentrating on it,” he describes. “I have to really carve out time for both in my schedule to make sure they are both getting the attention they deserve. I’m still learning how to juggle it all and just taking it day-by-day to be the best I can be at both.” And if you ask him to choose his favorite…he’ll just laugh.

“That’s a hard question and I’m not prepared to answer that,” he adds. “I love the business side of things and when it comes to my artistry, it’s like I love challenging myself to make records. The end result of people singing my records does something to my self-esteem; it’s a feeling that can’t be explained. It’s crazy to see people tune into my music and vibe to me as a person and not just a song. I feel this is why I’m still relevant as an artist.”

According to Rocko, people buy into him because he’s not afraid to open up his personal feelings in his music, something that makes that connection more personal and allows his fans to identify with him. “I’m one of them and it shows. A lot of other rappers try to act hard and I’m the opposite of that. I’m still one of those rappers in the South that gives them substance and emotion in music.”

Rocko

Rocko is obviously an accomplished artist, and his garage definitely shows he’s one. With a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe (sitting pretty on 24-inch Forgiato Enzo Wheels wrapped in Pirelli PZero Nero rubber) and Maybach sitting all too pretty in his garage, it’s hard not to envy such a luxurious (and expensive) collection (he also has a variety of company cars that include Cadillacs and more).

The Phantom Drophead Coupe was a dream car of his, but early on in his career he thought it was a bit foolish to spend so much on a car, regardless of the money you had… But he finally gave into his inner desires and decided to finally snatch up his dream ride about a year ago. Normally opting for an all-black fleet, Rocko decided to switch things up and go for a white version, because according to him, “they hold their value more and look better.”

Another ride he boasts about is his 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass that sits on 22-inch Budnik X Series Pentacle Wheels and wrapped in Pirelli PZero Nero tires, which was done up (as well as the Phantom) by RPM Motorsports Atlanta. The old school is his choice of ride for when he’s in the mood to just cruise around the ATL.

Because of his busy schedule, he doesn’t get to indulge in his rides as much as he’d like, but always makes time to give both his Rolls and Maybach some love when he’s home. “I probably drive the Rolls-Royce about four times a month,” he confesses, adding that the Maybach gets about six special rides. And both feature Rocko’s favorite interior accents: wood grain, leather and suede. “Those things really bring out the luxury of the car,” he admits.

Fully content on his garage, right now Rocko is entirely focused on his music career at the moment and doesn’t foresee any new big automotive purchases any time soon. But what he does predict is two banging albums that his fans will love and appreciate, as well as the rest of the hip-hop world.

GALLERY

Sources

Rocko
twitter.com/Rocko4Real

RPM Motorsports Atlanta
www.rpmatl.com

Forgiato
www.forgiato.com

Pirelli
www.pirelli.com

Wilwood Brakes
www.wilwood.com

Budnik Wheels
www.budnik.com

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