Interview: Manolo Rose

Manolo Rose sits down with Dj RootsQueen and discusses life in Brooklyn, how he got into rapping, and his first time meeting Jay Z.

Dj RootsQueen recently sat down with Brooklyn artist and rap producer, Manolo Rose. Manolo, known for his catchy beats and lyrical flow, channels all genres of music in his palette from rap to jazz. After making a name for himself locally, and collaborating with artists such as Dave East and Keith Ape, Rose has since been linked with Memphis Bleek’s Warehouse Music Group under Roc Nation. He has made a major contribution to the New York hip-hop scene, and his presence is heavily respected.

Tell everybody who you are and where are you from?

I’m from the Marcy Projects of Brooklyn, same place as Jay Z. I’m just a well-rounded, talented young guy. 

How did you get started rapping?

I was working with my nephew, he was the one actually rapping. He came home with some beats and asked him if I would help him do what he wanted to do. I was just like “aight cool”. When he started to put the beats on, I just started to create hooks for what he was doing and from there I realized that I could do this myself. And that was it. 

Who were some of your early musical influences that contribute to this sound?

HOV, AZ, Biggie, and DMX, 

Why did you choose to use the Ojay’s sample in your “I Get Money” song?

I really went with that sample because it really just resonated with me from when I was a child watching New Jack City.

Are there any Brooklyn rappers who you grew up with or are close with now?

Me and Casanova is cool. Pretty much everybody, ya know! Maino, Maino is my guy. Uncle Murda, that’s my man. Yeah.

Who is your favorite rapper of all time?

I would have to say HOV cause I was raised on it. I got a lot of street principles from HOV. And second, I would have to say the group 8ball and MJG. Those are my favorite.

What about producer?

My favorite producer? Probably Just Blaze and Kanye. Between those two. 

How did you get your name Manolo Rose?

Well, Manolo comes from the movie Scarface. That was his partner, Manny, his name was Manolo and the rose is just a play on the life and death aspect of the rose. You give roses to someone on Valentine’s day, but at the same time you would give them when someone dies. So it symbolizes both things for me.

How did growing up in Brooklyn shape and mold you musically.

It made me everything that I am. It’s why my records are agressive or like a hustler theme to it. If I was from somewhere else, I don’t know if it would sound like that but that is the reason why it actually does. Cuz of where I am from. That’s just something that we are bred with being from Brooklyn. 

What are some of the experiences you faced as a youth that helped give you the opportunity to cultivate rap as a career?

It was just this one summer was just a bad summer for me and all my friends at that time. We went to at least 4 funerals in one week. I think those things shaped everything for me personally. It just put everything in perspective. I was only 15/16 years old at the time. 

Is there any truth to the stories in your music? If so, give an example.

Yes. Every story I tell is true. It could be something I am dealing with at the time. It’s also things that people are going through around me. So it’s all true emotions. It’s human emotions at its best. I either experienced it or someone around me did. 

When did you first meet Jay Z and how long after that did you get signed to Roc Nation??

I met HOV when I got signed actually. It was like the day after I signed the contract. It was crazy. That’s like the ultimate dream is to have HOV come to the hood and save you. It’s like a thing.

What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced since your break out as a well-known rapper?

The biggest thing that I dealt with was having the controversy  with Troy Ave over my very first record, All About the Money. I think that was the hardest thing because I was a brand new face and him, he was already in the game for maybe about 3 or 4 years by then. He already had those relationships so a lot of those things that I should’ve gotten, I didn’t get because he had those relationships and kinda blocked a lot of those things for me.

What projects do you currently have out now and how can people get them?

The project I have out now is this tape called Season 1 and another tape called Springtime Colors: Pastells. Both of them are out right now on all streaming platforms.

What upcoming projects do you have planned?

I am working on another project right now. I don’t have an official title for it yet. It’s in the works. Just trying to figure out a release date for it. Maybe August.

How can people connect with you?

 You can find me on Instagram and Twitter: @monolo_rose

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