All Things Piff: Interview with R.O.Z. [Interview]
Winnipeg, MB – (Originally posted October 1, 2012) – Piff Music 1 by R.O.Z. and random leaks off Volume 2 were the soundtrack for a good part of my summer. Volume 1 dropped a while ago but I’ve been listening to it regularly ever since. The September 11th release of Piff Music 2 was a good way to welcome the fall. There’s a particular vibe in R.O.Z.’s music that I really identify with. It’s not just the fact that it speaks largely about one of my favourite pass times, but the vibe itself is incredibly smooth and captivating. The flow is always fresh and the hooks are always doing their job: being catchy. The production is top notch.
The Scarborough, Ontario-native has also done a great job selecting guest appearances that complement the overall vibe of the project. Smoke DZA and Styles P are no stranger to weed anthems and their presence on Volume 2 is a perfect fit. Another artist on Piff Music 2 is Toronto’s Big Lean, who is largely responsible for me being aware of R.O.Z. to begin with. I interiewed Lean back in 2010 and found out about R.O.Z. not long after. Big Lean and R.O.Z. collaborated on a few gems off Piff Music 1 and he’s back for the Niko EMB-produced banger “Voices” on Piff Music 2. R.O.Z. also brings out Winnipeg’s Teddy T for several songs.
Just prior to the release of Piff Music 2, I had an opportunity to interview R.O.Z. We talk about his project, weed, music, the Winnipeg scene and more. Check out the Q&A after the jump.
R.O.Z. of EMB | Photo: Khammy P (Khammy.com)
Interview conducted by Jesse Plunkett
HipHopCanada: Thanks for taking some time to speak with us R.O.Z. Let’s start with a bit of background info. When did you first get into music and what made you decide to become a recording artist?
R.O.Z.: I’ve been into music since my early days in high school. I started off battling, then trying to work on my own music, but as a hobby. But fast forward to 2010, I actually started to take it serious and I decided to start building a team around the music, EMB.
HipHopCanada: You’re based in Winnipeg but you’re originally from Scarborough, Ontario. What brought on the location change?
R.O.Z.: I moved a couple times when I was younger for mainly family reasons. But when I got older I started making my own moves and I ended up in Winnipeg, but not for music. I was just living life and I caught the bug to work on music again. So, I decided to take it serious and that’s how Piff Music came about.
HipHopCanada: What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between the Winnipeg and Toronto hip-hop scenes?
R.O.Z.: The scenes are totally different. More history in Toronto, as far hip-hop in Canada goes. But Winnipeg has a scene that’s new and developing. Lots of new young artists and people are gaining more respect for the local hip-hop scene.
HipHopCanada: Any plans to move back to Scarborough?
R.O.Z.: I’m in and out all the time, I still got fam there. But I don’t think I’ll be making an official move anytime soon. You never know where life takes you though. I do eventually want to move though, but not in that direction [Laughing].
HipHopCanada: Let’st talk about Piff Music. You’ve had great response from Volume 1. What can fans expect from Piff Music 2?
R.O.Z.: Volume 2 is a lil’ more of the same but deeper. Since it’s the second time around I was a little more comfortable with my sound in the studio so I tried out new ideas and styles that I didn’t have on Volume 1. I had a whole year in the studio with Niko trying out new things and a lot happened in my life during that year so you hear a little bit of that content. I still have the music for my people that are into the “vibe,” and I also have some cuts for the ladies too.
HipHopCanada: Who have you brought on board for production and guest appearances?
R.O.Z.: Just like Piff 1, I still have my partner in the studio Niko EMB; he’s definitely a main part of my sound. I got Roc N Mayne, Pat Preezy, Will for EMB, Talksikk and more on the production side. For appearances I got Styles P, Smoke DZA, Big Lean, and my man Teddy T.
HipHopCanada: What’s your favourite song on the project? Why?
R.O.Z.: Umm, I don’t think I’ll really have a definite favorite, it changes depending on the day. As far as significance goes, I’d say “’97” with Styles P because it represents my upbringing, where I’m from, and I got one of the best to assist me on the record.
HipHopCanada: How did you first link up with fellow-Torontonian, Big Lean? You guys have several collaborations including tracks that appear on Piff Music 1. Any chance we’ll see a collaborative release from the two of you?
R.O.Z.: Lean is my brother. He’d definitely identify with a song like “’97” because we grew up together. But around the time he came out with his first mixtape, I’m Here Now, I started working on Piff Music, I sent him a few tracks and he loved ‘em. But yes, we’re currently working on a project together for the near future. Not certain on details yet but it’ll be good, I’m sure of that.
HipHopCanada: What is EMB and who is part of the team?
R.O.Z.: Entertainment Money Business. It’s a movement, so many things tie into it but mainly it’s about the lifestyle: Carefree Lifestyle. Anybody that enjoys the music, the visuals, and even the style, is down and apart of EMB. It’s all love over here, EMB is a lifestyle not just a crew.
HipHopCanada: Drake is two albums deep into being an internationally renowned artist. Do you think there will be another Canadian rap star of that magnitude in the next few years?
R.O.Z.: There will definitely be more successful Canadian hip-hop artist. Probably not the way he did it but I think we have so much talent that once any of us gets that exposure, we’re gone. Now I think it’s just time for the people that make things happen to take chances on some of these artists because you can see the hunger.
HipHopCanada: It’s no secret that you’re a weed connoisseur. Your lyrics are laced with references to the stuff and your latest 2 mixtapes are titled Piff Music. So let’s talk piff. Favourite weed-based movie?
R.O.Z.: A couple months ago I would’ve said Half Baked because I remember how funny it was to me when I first watched it. Until I saw it recently and realized how stupid it is [Laughing]. Friday is definitely my classic smoking movie to this day, I still laugh, that movie made weed look so appealing.
HipHopCanada: Favourite weed anthem?
R.O.Z.: I can’t have a favorite, there’s too many. But off the top of my head: “Good times” – Styles P, “Blueberry YumYum” – Luda and Wayne, “Pussy Money Weed.”
HipHopCanada: Favourite strain to smoke?
R.O.Z.: Green Crack.
HipHopCanada: Wraps, papers, bong? Brand?
R.O.Z.: Mostly papers but I’m not opposed to any of the other methods though.
HipHopCanada: Best city to find high quality weed?
R.O.Z.: I haven’t been to all the “weed cities” but I realized the further West you go, the better it is. For the most part, weed in Winnipeg is better than Toronto, and I was in Regina earlier this year for a show, the weed there was fire. That’s the best weed I’ve smoked and it’s the furthest west I’ve been, so I’ll let you know when I go to BC [Laughing].
HipHopCanada: With Piff Music 2 released, what can we expect next from R.O.Z and the EMB movement?
R.O.Z.: More work man, my main focus is making good music and the business will come after. Shouts to Kris Rothstein and SureYouCan, we’re definitely working on more videos for the new tape and more updated visuals on what’s going on with EMB. But I’m working on a new tape right now that I want to be hosted by a DJ. That tape will probably have more collabs just to display the other talent in Canada. After that, if the people want it, you’ll see that EP from me and Lean.
HipHopCanada: Thanks for your time. Any last words for the HipHopCanada community or shout-outs?
R.O.Z.: Preciate all the love, especially HipHopCanada. If you want to contact me, you can hit me up on Twitter @ROZ_EMB and you can hit up firstname.lastname@example.org. Check EMBmedia on YouTube for our latest videos. Much love!
Interview conducted by Jesse “Dutchy” Plunkett for HipHopCanada