Newcomer r.O.b. isn't that new to the music scene; having already released a mixtape with Don Cannon back in 2010. The New York native has been dilligently preparing for his upcoming project, Circa XXV. I recently had the opportunity to chat with the rapper about everything from coming of age and how 90's hip hop saved his life. Get familiar with an artist who's name you'll be hearing a lot more of in 2013!
GWHH: Who are you?
r.O.b.: My government name is Robert Anthony Castano, My stage name is r.O.b (realist One breathin) Not FuturisticRO I don't know why people think that's my name. It's a cool name but not my stage name.
GWHH: Where are you from?
r.O.b.: I'm from the Bronx New York, Soundview section to be exact, but I was partially raised out in North Philly in the Badlandz section. Much love to Philly for the help grooming me.
GWHH: How did you get your start?
r.O.b.: I got my start in Hip Hop by being around my older cousins and brother who were heavily into the culture in all angles of life.The bug bit me so bad I started rapping the answers to school questions because it was that fun to me. The moment I realized I wanted to pursue music for a living had to be in the 12th grade when I battled this guy who was notoriously known for destroying opponents in battles. I was the complete underdog it was so bad that my homies from my block didn't believe I would win and they made sure I was aware of their opinion, so I stood focused and prepared and eventually won convincingly. After that moment I knew I could seriously do this music thing despite what anyone tells me because I had tough skin and determination and those were two of the biggest things anyone can have when pursuing a career in music.
GWHH: Rap has been a thriving form of music for over 40 years, What do you believe you are bringing new to the table?
r.O.b.: I wouldn't want to jump over the bridge and say I'm necessarily going to bring something brand spanking "New" to the culture because everything has been seen as well as recycled, but what I can say is that I'm going to present a Fresh element to the culture by combining different characteristics and emotions that necessarily haven't been combined in one artist before. We're so used to seeing "The ladies man" or "The poet" who only speaks about poverty and pain or "The dreamer" here I present a lot of those elements and more in one man because I represent the people and we are not only filled with one emotion or feeling. Sometimes we're passive sometimes were aggressive and I am here to vividly help the world understand us as well as why we are the way we are.
GWHH: Tell us about your most recent project? How did you link up with Don Cannon?
r.O.b.: "Higher Learning: The 90's Tape" was a project I dropped to show my admiration to the decade that help create my love for the culture that saved my life. It was compiled of 10 Tracks one from every year starting in 1990 and ending in 1999, I made sure to keep it B side records too. On the project I wanted to show my ability to rap because I'm from New York and that's what we do. I also know as I move further into my career I will delve more into the songwriting side and trying to create the correct mood of the record and when writing in those positions the focus is on the melodic aspect more so than trying to spit the best bars. When creating the project I knew I wanted Don Cannon to host it because he was the best fit for it in every department so me and my team searched tirelessly to try and find a way to get to him. After months of searching we found him pitched the idea and he was with it then we flew to Atlanta to meet and shoot some epic trailers which I still love to this day. We didn't shoot no videos for the project except the promo pieces nor did we have a single but people had their favorites "Uptown Anthem" and "Queens Bound" seem to be the standouts. Overall "Higher Learning: The 90's Tape" is a gem that people will catch onto later.
GWHH: How would you describe your brand? And how do you see it evolving over the next 5 years?
r.O.b.: I would describe my brand as a Futuristic, one because it takes the core elements of what made the Golden era special but combines with a fresh sound, look and direction. In the next 5 years I see myself and brand growing immensely because our goal has always been to evolve with every step we take whether it be visually from the videos to the Futuristic Experience (My Live show) to the sound of the music. We pride ourselves on being innovators and taking calculated risks so I feel as long as we continue to do that the appeal will increase naturally to high heights while keeping our core fans excited and proud to see us grow together as we enter the next phase of our lives.
GWHH: Tell me about Circa XXV; When can we expect a release? Any Important Artist/Producer features? What's the relevance of naming your project Circa XXV?
r.O.b.: "CircaXXV" is a beautiful project that you can expect at the end of January 2013; had to push it back to make sure everything was to beyond perfection can't cheat my believers by rushing the product. I kept it really light on the features but one standout would have to be Wara From The Neighborhood who's featured on a song titled "Sitting Back" I just feel he's one of the most unique artist hip hop has had in a very long time his ability to depict a gritty reality in such a stylish manner has only been displayed by Christopher Wallace his upcoming project is incredible. On the production side there are many standout guys but ApSuperProducer was probably the producer that gave me the one beat that made the project complete and I didn't notice it until after I finished the record. Its titled "Day | Night" it was one of the last records recorded for the project. The relevance of naming the project "CircaXXV" is... first I'm XXV years old and in this 25th year of my life I've finally come of age in all aspects from personal relationships to my confidence to me in my craft and I got here by simply doing what was right in my heart and that was chasing my dreams while taking the highs and lows to the chin and keeping it moving strong. So even if you're not XXV the project is for you.. The project is for anyone approaching that coming of age feeling. Knowing the world is yours regardless of all the emotional roller coasters you may have on the journey.
GWHH: Where can we find you?
r.O.B.: You can log onto www.IamFuturistic.com for everything r.O.b related. On the website you can find social media links.
GWHH: Final Thoughts, Catch Phrase, Anything else you think we should know about you?
r.O.b.: I definitely would like to thank the good people at GoWhereHipHop.com for the love it's highly appreciated. Be prepared for "CircaXXV" because one of your homies will be bumping it if you're dumb enough not to. One more thought fellas stop using them cheap ass NYC condoms those are baby making condoms. Catch phrase uhhhhhhhh "If you're not first you're last?". One fun fact about me is I love watching porno graphic movies but preferably ones where the girls have a huge ass. No specific race and I like my Oatmeal Lumpy.