Oh, man, I feel good. It’s another day of being alive, so I’m trying to take over the world as usual.
It’s been about a year since your debut album All Questions Answered dropped. How have things been going for you?
Oh, man, ever since the album dropped, things have been smooth. Every day there’s something new that comes up to the table, so I can’t even complain.
You’ve done a lot of work with Oh No recently. What’s coming up with you guys?
We’ve been doing work since the ‘90s. We have an album together and we’ve been giving everybody some sneak previews. I dropped my album to get the buzz up because we couldn’t drop the group album first. He dropped his solo album too and now it’s time for us to just mash out together.
What’s it like working with Oh No?
Oh, man, it’s not even work. That’s my brother from another mother. We get up every day and we talk every day. There are no arguments or quarrels or nothing. We just have fun with it. That’s why I think that our chemistry works so well together, because we were friends first.
You’re also working on an album with Oh No and Chino XL. How did that come about?
I went up to the Wake Up Show. Sway and Tech really hold me down. Me and Chino were up there and that’s how we did the remix for “El Capitan.” He’s like my big brother. He really looks out for me. And we have so many songs that we’ve done together that it only makes sense to link up and make it right. He just got his new label situation and me and Oh No are trying to get to that point too. It only makes sense to make that happen. Everybody at every show is always asking for “El Capitan.” Now we have a new single out with Chino XL. I have to give HipHopGame props for getting the b-side up before it even came out. Everybody’s been asking for more things. We’ve been planning stuff anyway, but we just kept it under wraps. Now we’re letting people know.
How’s the project coming so far?
Man, right now we’re working on that and we’re working on our project with Pete Rock. We’re working on my solo, Oh No’s solo and our group album. We’re working with Mr. Porter, Black Milk, Madlib, Alchemist, Evidence, Kankick, Butch Cassidy and Skyzoo and I know I’m forgetting some names. Me and Mic Geronimo are about to hook up. We could have had these albums done a year ago but we keep hooking up with cats. We’re just going to keep on making more bangers and more bangers.
How did the project with Pete Rock come about?
Pete Rock and Madlib are working on some stuff. Pete Rock had sent us a beat CD just for us to check out and for use to record a song just to see what the chemistry would be like. We recorded it and we sent the song back that night. He was tripping off the fact that we had done it that night and he loved it so much that he kept on sending us more tracks. We got about 10 tracks done now. We worked on Black Milk and Bishop Lamont’s Caltroit album and we worked on DJ Babu’s Duck Season Vol. 3. Stones Throw is family but we’re trying to different things too. We have to. We’re just looking for the right situation.
Did Stones Throw know how to market you and your debut album All Questions Answered?
In a sense, but I knew that going into the game, so it’s not like I hold that against them. We know that they don’t really have a strong position in the urban market, but I still have fans in the lane that they do. It’s like when Eminem got with Dre or when M.O.P. got with DJ Premier. It didn’t seem like it was the right marriage, but when you hear them together, it’s undeniable. That’s the approach we took. I got caught up when they weren’t taking out any magazine ads or anything and they got so many things on their plate. I wouldn’t say they didn’t know how to market me. Being on Stones Throw, they still market me and they gave me the deal that I wanted. Right now, we’re at the point where we don’t want to settle. If we wanted to settle now, Stones Throw or any other label would be the best fit. But we’re not settling. We have a clothing line, video production and I do writing for other people. We’re really trying to move up with this. I can’t be happy with where I am right now. We have to move up.
Looking back, are you happy with how No Questions Answered did?
I’m glad with the response that I got from the fans and the lane that it got for me, but as far as numbers, nah. Not at all. But that can change any day, so I’m not bitter at it. I just look at it that I have to work harder to get my voice heard. I have so much music and it’s going to hit one day. If it was so big out of the gate, it would have been so hard to top that. I’m almost glad I didn't peak out the gate.
How’s your next solo album coming?
It’s coming along beautifully. I’m real excited about it. We’re just trying to figure out what label to put it out through and how to get it the right push. Most people have the misconception that you just create music and it comes out the next day. It’s definitely not like that.
Where do you fit in on the West Coast scene?
I think as far as what I do, I don’t think there’s anybody that’s on the West Coast that does what I do. The West Coast isn’t really known for lyrics and I think that when most cats hear me, they don’t think I’m from Oxnard, California. I think I have a foot in both sides, with the underground and the major label cats. I don’t think cats look at me like I’m a gimmick either. I think I have that up on people. I’ve gotten this far without any kind of marketing, any kind or backing or any kind of push. It’s been a ten year process.
You have gotten to this point in your career without any real cosigns, which is rare. How proud are you of that?
Man, I think that’s what keeps me humble and hungry. I could have been an artist that’s like, ‘Well, I know I’m dope’ and then other artists are like, ‘Who is that? Ahh, forget this cat.’ But once you understand the game, you can’t be like that. My mentality is that every time I get on stage and every time I spit something, I make sure that somebody tells somebody else, whether it’s good or bad. Whether I’m on stage or in an interview, I’m always going to give you my all and I’m always going to give you the real. I can admit when I’m wrong and I can admit when I’m bored and I want to grow and I want my fans to grow with me. I think from everything that I’ve done and what I have now, my music is not totally different now, but I’m more mature with it. I’m definitely doing what I want to do.
What do you want from a label today?
We just want somebody to believe like we believe and give us the right push. We want to get the machine behind it. You could have the most terriblest song in the world and somebody will gravitate towards it. We’re just trying to find that right machine that’s going to maximize us and what we do. It’s not like we need a million dollars and we need this and that. We’re simple cats. We’re just trying to find somebody that will stick to their word.
That’s easier said than done.
Out of 100 people, there are probably three to five of the people that actually stick to what they’re saying. That’s why I think that our circle is so tight and why we get as far as we get. That’s why we have a 15-plus year bond and we’re all still loyal to each other. You don’t see too many groups like that. Usually the dollar separates everything. All of the bullcrap causes people to lose sight of the big picture and we haven’t done that.
What do you have to do to get the labels interested?
Man, really, you can’t spread yourself thin but you have to diversify yourself. Life goes on every day, whether I participate or not. You have to be able to do other things. That’s why I have the clothing line and we have the blunt tips and the shoes. You have to be able to do all different kinds and types of things. I think what me and Oh No did is we saved our money up and we invested in ourselves. Instead of saying, ‘We need such and such money to complete our album,’ we put our own money in the project and now all we need is for somebody to put the album out. I think we definitely put our money where our mouth is and now we have to just find somebody to do the same thing.
What’s next for Roc C?
The mixtape with me and J. Rocc. That’s called CA All Day. You know you’re going to be the first person to get that. J. Rocc is my man, the Funky President. Anybody that you hear me do collabs with, we definitely have a relationship. These are people that I deal with in my personal life. It’s nothing for me to work with cats. Me and J. Rocc did that mixtape in two days. Once you get started, it’s hard to stop. I live in Oxnard and J. Rocc lives out in Pasadena near Stones Throw. It got to the point where we were like, ‘If we’re going to make it happen, then let’s make it happen.’ He’s got so many beats it’s ridiculous. We didn’t figure out a concept or nothing. We just sat down and came out with it and it came out really hot.
Me and Oh No have a white label album that we’re dropping before the summer is over. We’re also trying to promote our group album. There’s no label behind us right now so we’re just in the trenches pushing everything ourselves.
What’s the most difficult part about being an independent artist today with no publicist or manager?
You have to have longevity and it’s for the cats that are here. Being independent and being on the grind, you have to learn the business. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. If you have somebody give you money and tell you to sit back and just make music, you get comfortable and you get complacent. When you’re doing it like we’re doing it, your business game has to be as up as everything else. When you’re putting your own money into it, you want to get it back but you don’t know if you're going to get it back. We’re building it brick by brick instead of trying to get to the mountain in one leap.
What advice would you offer to up-and-coming artists?
If this is really what you want, then you have to wake up and get it. It’s like being a basketball player. You can’t get bitter because some people aren’t feeling you and you’re not in a certain place where you want to be. You have to keep it about the music and where it’s not all about the money. You can’t just do collabos to make money or anything like that because at the end of the day, the people look at you. You have to find your niche and what’s going to separate you from the other million MCs that are out there. You have to be yourself. That’s the best advice that I can give.
What do you want to say to everybody?
I appreciate everybody that even gives me the time of day. Everybody that holds me down, best believe I’m going to hold you down and I’m not going to let you down. I respond to every letter or email that I get and I listen to every CD that I get. We’re all the same and we’re all busy, but I’m never too busy for that and for anybody that’s ever taken the time to get at me and hear what’s coming out of my mouth, I love y’all.