CEM Photography / Submitted by the artist
After working in the studio with local artists including Charod and Sergio & the Satin Dogs, producer Rosco released his own debut album, “Valentino,” Dec. 2 on iTunes.
Rosco is a name I keep hearing more and more of on the local music scene. Many first learned of this local producer through his work with hip-hop artist Charod. Later, Sergio Rangel recruited Rosco to produce Sergio & the Satin Dogs’ debut album. When local hip-hop supergroup MOB*ILL made its presence known, Rosco was once again working behind the scenes. All the while, these artists have testified to the presence of the producer’s own material.
Now, Rosco is finally stepping from behind the scenes to unveil his own album, “Valentino” (released on iTunes Dec. 2). This album’s diverse regional mix of hip-hop, spoken word and soul has been well worth the wait.
Stephen Centanni: When did you start producing?
Rosco: I started producing in middle school, actually. I was on my mom’s computer at the house.
Centanni: So, how would you describe those early days of experimentation?
Rosco: It was very small. I used what I had, and I just had a huge imagination that’s always been with me. That’s all I had, and I just went from there.
Centanni: How would you compare the music you produced back then to now?
Rosco: I think the stuff I did back then wasn’t as technical as it is now, as far as sound changing with the times that we’re in and what’s going on sonically. I think the same imagination and drive that’s always been there has gotten better. I think it’s the evolution of the sound and the versatility as well. I’m a big, big, huge stickler when it comes to versatility.
Centanni: You have been pretty versatile in the studio. You’ve done hip-hop artists like Charod, and then you’ve worked with singer-songwriters such as Sergio Rangel. As far as your role as producer, what’s the difference between producing a hip-hop artist such as Charod and a singer-songwriter like Sergio Rangel?
Rosco: Honestly, it’s the sound. The process may be different, but it’s the same concept as far as production. As a producer, you give the artist a musical environment to dwell in. You may go about different ways with different artists, because it might require different instruments and different musicians and different personnel, but it’s still the same concept. It’s about giving the artist what they want and making them feel comfortable.
Centanni: What made you want to finally focus on your own material?
Rosco: Honestly, it was pretty much my friends bugging me over the past decade [laughs]. My friends, Charod included, were like, “What are you doing? This is incredible! You need to put something out!” It was years and years of that and them threatening me if I don’t.
Centanni: What was it like producing your own material for a change?
Rosco: It’s always been great. You know, I’m a songwriter at heart, first and foremost. Coming up with songs or ideas from scratch has always been a great experience. Seeing something go from the form of an idea to full-bloom production is a musical muse.
As far as making songs for myself, it’s really the same thing but a whole other level. It’s fun, and the stuff that I write about is really a healing process. You see yourself through the songs. You can write memos to yourself through the songs. I think that’s the most important thing.
Centanni: The production is great, and a friend and I were just listening to it and talking about how the production is great. What’s also great is that the album demonstrates your skills as both a rapper and a singer. You have such a diversity of music on “Valentino.” What was it like picking the songs for the album?
Rosco: I wouldn’t say it was a selection. It was more so whatever was going on in my life I wrote about right then and there. However it came out, it came out. That’s what people connect to. People connect with feelings. People connect with situations, stories and songs where they can say, “Man, I’m going through the exact same thing, and he’s speaking just for me.” I have to keep that in mind when I write these songs. It’s a responsibility.
Centanni: I really like “Shaquita Brown.” It’s got this offbeat, old-school Dirty South vibe to it. So, I have to ask, who is Shaquita Brown, and what was it about her that inspired a song?
Rosco: [laughing] Everybody wants to know who she is! I think my close friends know who she is. Shaquita Brown is basically that one girl. She’s that one girl that a guy would date, and she has a lot of things going on and looks for other things and other people to hold onto besides the person she’s dating and tries to change them instead of changing themselves. It becomes toxic, and you have to call it out. That’s why I wrote the song. It was a dark place in my life, but I had to realize that there wasn’t anything wrong with me at the moment. It was something that she had to deal with on her own. That’s Shaquita Brown. She’s basically one of my exes.
Centanni: The other one I like was that spoken word-type track, “Questions,” where you pretty much call out anyone in the local scene who doubts your skills. How do you think this album is an answer to those questions?
Rosco: Well, honestly, when I wrote the song, that was my thought. I was like, “Hey, how will people accept this?” Keep in mind, I’m moving from the producer’s seat to the artist’s seat. It’s the same, but it’s totally different for me. It’s from a different pair of eyes. With me growing up in church and my religious background and the music that I’m making now, I thought it would be a conflict, but it really wasn’t. I did it to have fun and get it out of the way. It’s actually been easier than what I expected and what I thought.
Centanni: What’s next? Is it going to be you or another artist?
Rosco: What’s next in 2019? There will be videos and more singles and a song with Erica Grady coming out. Most people know her as Erica Washington from “American Idol.” For right now, I just want to get better at the craft and try not to suck.