I wasn’t nervous, but I was very aware. Right on the other side of the door was one of the coldest rappers in the game today.
“Keep it G, Terrence. You’ve done this plenty of times before.” I told myself in my head. But in order to truly understand how I felt, you’d have to understand that since 2009, my life has damn near been narrated by the music of New Orleans native, Young Roddy. His music has served as a soundtrack to my grind. From sitting in dorm rooms, not only listening, but feeling him when he dropped lines like “frontin’ ain’t paying nobody bills, better keep your hustle goin’”. So as I began to twist the knob and open the door of the green room at Sub T in Chicago, it fell more like I was going to visit a mentor or one of my trusted homies rather than a rap artist with fans across the country.
As the door opened and I entered the room, it felt like the beginning of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” video. All eyes were on us. With me, were my four brothers and sister. I needed them there. If not for anything else than to show Roddy that just like him, I take my brothers anywhere I go.
As we made our way around the room and introduced ourselves to Roddy and the handful of people in the room, it became clear to them that we were there not only to show gratitude, but it was time for a real conversation with some real “lifers”. Sports, music, the violence in Chicago, I wanted to talk about it all and I believe Roddy could feel that. So, as I made myself comfortable on the couch next to Roddy, I took a deep breath, looked at all of my brothers who were looking right back at me, and I began the interview….
Being from the N.O., who were your teams coming up?
Roddy: Coming up, of course I was a Chicago Bulls fan. Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, they was them niggas. As far as now, I don’t really have a team. It's more about the players for me now.
So since it's more about the players for you now, who are the players you watch the most?
Roddy: KD, Steph Curry, Lebron, Kyrie…..
Roddy: Of course DRose, man. That nigga is one of the GOATs.
True, but right now the talk around town is if he will return to his MVP form. Do you think he will?
Roddy: He’ll bounce back for sure. He’s a special player. You don’t really get a chance to see too many like him. He’s a different breed. He’ll be fine.
I'm sure Chicago will love that answer. But man, being from the N.O., you got a chance to see the Saints win the Superbowl in 09. What was that like for you as well as the city of New Orleans?
Roddy: That was awesome man. Huge. Shit, looking at them now it may be my last experience. It’s looking kinda shaky for us right now. Those were good times for us though man for sure. Big for my city and its some shit I’ll never forget.
No doubt. So, I did a little homework and dug up some of your more notable lyrics that either had a Chicago reference or a sports reference. If I dropped a bar or two, you think you can guess the song that it came from?
Roddy: Shit, Let’s do it.
Alright, first one. Let’s get it. “First they love me, then they hate me, then they act like they care. So I’m back to South Beach with my luggage and swimwear or back to the Chi and place a bet on the Bears” What’s that from?
Roddy: Shit, man. Your guess is better than mine, my nigga.
That’s from “Invincible Jets” off of “Smokee Robinson”. One of your first raps.
Roddy: I’ve wrote so many raps dog, even I forget half of em. If I don’t have to perform em, you know I’m gonna forget em.
Would you still place that bet on the Bears?
Roddy: That’s a tough one. Just off of my love for the Chi and I’m a man of my word so yeah I’ll ride with em.
Alright, next one. “Shit, I was fresh from the court to the curb. People always told me that’s my gift and my curse. I use to score for 30 while my cousin flipped birds” I know you know this one…
Roddy: Ahhh, yeah man. That’s the first Good Sense right there. LM Bravehearts.
You say you were out there scoring 30 on people huh? Can you talk about your hooping career a little bit for me?
Roddy: I can do a lil something on the court. That’s just another gift that the man upstairs blessed me with. I could have went a lil further with it and focused on that but he blessed me with another path with this music shit. At the end of the day, it’s all love, but that basketball is definitely my first love.
Alright, joe. One more. “Shoutout to Spitta they wear us out like Fendi, let’s hit the Chi where the weather much windy”
Roddy: That’s off that first Pilot Talk right there man, that’s that “Roasted” right there. Those were good times right there. Me and my brother Trade(Trademark da Skydiver) and my brother Spitta.
Absolutely man. Those were GREAT times. Speaking of the Chi, what’s some of the things you have to do when you’re in the Chi?
Roddy: I was just telling my mans before you came in that we need to hit Harold’s before we get outta here man.
You GOTTA hit Harold’s. I’m damn near mad I didn’t bring a 6 wing for you.
Roddy: Yes, man. I gotta hit that. Plus I have a few homies out here. Shoutout to Mikey Rocks. I always holla at Mikey when I touch down. I know it’s a lot of hoopers in the Chi too so one of these times I’m gonna have to get out here on the court.
It's a must joe. I have homies that stay on the court so the next time you're in town we can make that happen. I wanted to get into some more general questions to find out who exactly Young Roddy is man, I’d love to know how you, Trade, and Spitta met?
Roddy: No doubt man, I actually met Spitta first. It was like some right time right place shit ya know. Spitta and Trade grew up together and I grew up off 31st. That’s like 20 minutes out from where they stayed. But I just so happen to be in the same school with Spitta and one day just rapped, not to even to him just over a beat, I dropped a few bars, like 8 of em, and he was like “You nice man. Im tryna start this lil group. I want you to fuck with it.” We exchanged numbers and we been brothers ever since.
So from that, how did the “Jet Life” name and brand originate?
Roddy: That all came from the big homie man. We wanted to make music that people could feel. JETS stands for “Just Enjoy This Shit”. We just wanted to make some feel good music.
What does your success symbolize?
Roddy: Man its a blessing. Especially coming from where I’m coming from. Not too many people do this. Not saying they don’t have the talent to, its opportunity. It’s like niggas who play ball, a lot of people are good, but only a select few get to go far with it. It’s a great feeling man. I’m blessed.
Speaking of where you’re from, we know the next project is called “The Kenner Loop”. How does it feel to be able to dedicate a whole album to your home?
Roddy: That’s big man. The Kenner Loop was our RTA and I rode it every day. And that’s the name of my city so it feels good to give back to my city. It’s not only just repping my city man, I’m actually giving back to them. I have a lot of respect for the people there.
Speaking of your city, I have a partner who couldn’t be here right now cause he's out on official #TheBIGS business, but he spent his college years in Baton Rouge at Southern University. He wants you to tell the people about the “Second Line Parade”.
Roddy: Yall probably look at that shit like “What the fuck they doin?” You already know New Orleans is a different spot, but that’s just us celebrating our own culture we have. We keep it peaceful and positive and just have fun. It’s a great feeling just to celebrate life.
As far as the new album, who are the producers and artist you worked with this time around?
Roddy: Absolutely, man. My homie Blair Norf, who produced a lot of the tracks on “Rout The Ruler” is back for this one. I have the homie Styles P on there. Of course I have Spitta on there and of course the Jet Life camp on there. I dragged my brother Trade out of retirement. Smoke DZA, just a bunch of the usual suspects. It’s a dope project man.
You know we can’t wait for that man. Looking forward to it for sure. To wrap it up, as you now, it’s a lot going on with the youth in Chicago. I know coming from a city like the N.O., yall can relate a lot. What’s something you would say to the youth here in Chicago that can help get them through some of these hard times?
Roddy: Hell yeah man. And I can speak from experience on this one. New Orleans and the Chi are real similar when it comes down to violence ya know? So man, what I would tell the kids is….fuck it man. It’s not worth it. That's why I preach this Good Sense. At the end of the day we all brothers and sisters. It’s not really worth it man, leave that shit alone. Get your money, take care of your family, take care of your real brothers, and get this money. It’s all love.
Terrence Tomlin is a writer for #TheBIGS-Follow him on Twitter @tomlindoesit