So if you could step through a time portal and talk to Sonic Sum-era Rob one-on-one… what would you say?
“Shut up. I’ll smack the shit out of you.” That’s my word I would. I would tell him and he wouldn’t listen.
Being young’s a motherfucker. You were how old at that time?
Nineteen or twenty. I wasn’t even that young, I just had that can’t nobody teach me shit thing going on.
That is young though, real young. I mean in my eyes. I’m only 28 and I can’t talk to a fucking 19-year-old right now.
Ah yeah, it’s out of control now though, I feel like if I came up now? Man I’d be even worse. The net went and made everyone and everything accessible from the comfort of your own home.
Did you ever struggle to sound like your influences or were you trying hard to sound different?
Nah, I think the only time I can really ever recall going outside of myself was for a two-year period when I was 16 or so, trying to sound as much like Rakim as humanly possible.
You can’t forget The R.
Man you don’t know, I loved that shit like nothing else. I was beyond a Rakim fan. I went overboard with it like I AM HIM, haha. It was Crayola, bro. That’s all I’ll say.
So when did you finally grip YOUR style like, “Yeah, this is me.”
I’m probably more inclined to say it’s all me, just in different phases. I mean I’m kind of a weird guy with that. I don’t stay the same (I do to other people) but as for music, I have such a broad pallet. Pretentious game on lock. But for real I really don’t rule anything or any one kind out. I can respect Polka enough to not tell someone playing it to stop. And it’s pretty much the same by rule. You know? Like Polka has to be one way, and man that can be a tough few hours. But I’ll go with it. Just ‘cause I can’t shut down people’s theories on music anymore. Kind of.
In both producing and rapping: what’s to love most and hate most?
That’s easy. I hate that I’m not better at both. I love that I am trying to get better at both, always.
Good answer. Favorite beat ever? And what’s the favorite beat YOU’VE made?
Asking the tough questions.
Ever might be “It’s My Thing” by EPMD or “One for All” by Brand Nubian. “Hand on the Pump” is up there for me. That’s too hard ‘cause it’s always updating. There’s this beat on the Stepbrother’s album that starts with “Suddenly I hear a banging song.” I don’t know what called but that shit is incredible. My favorite beat I made might be “Freezer Food” off Alice or “Winners Take All” that I did for Aes. That’s tough too. I like beats that I do like, in a relationship way. Like they do wack shit to me and piss me off sometimes but I still love them all.
Speaking of working with Aes, speak on Hail Mary Mallon a bit. You guys have fun. It’s a bit different, a little less serious than your solo work.
Oh yeah, Mallon is two friends doing what they love to do, hanging out, making jam for your breakfast toast. My solo stuff is a little more rigid of a process. That might show through in the music. But both have their places to me. I think it would be kind of not good if you got a solo Rob album and then a solo Rob and Aes album.
Anything in particular you want to say about your two new joints?
I guess the thing I always say is the records might not be for you, but they also might be. So give ‘em a try. And I hope you enjoy.
Beautiful. One last question: SUP WITH THE HEADBANDS, BRO?
They keep my hair out of my eyes and make me look like John McEnroe, which is sort of a tell for if your girl steps up what I might do. How many points do I get for the House of Pain reference?
So many points.