Indeed, Roscoe is set to be a star, one whose stock will rise even higher upon the release of his astonishing musical masterpiece Young Roscoe Philaphornia. With Roscoe's polished rhymes and long-time friends Rico Wade and Organized Noize (OutKast, TLC, Dungeon Family, Goodie Mob) handling the bulk of the production, Young Roscoe Philaphornia possesses a revolutionary sound. Indeed, the impeccable collection will raise the musical bar for hip-hop releases.
Cognizant that fans need to embrace an artist, Roscoe decided to go with a straight-forward album title that would draw attention to his name. "I want to blow up Roscoe and my whole situation," he says. "In order to do that, I've got to get my face, my name out there. My whole album is about me and everything that I do. From Philly to L.A. It's all about me and where I came from, what I'm about."
Throughout each Young Roscoe Philaphornia track, the listener gets transported to a mystical world where East Coast lyricism, West Coast G-funk and Dirty South chaos combine for an irresistible mix. "When you get my album, you'll get every perspective of where I'm coming from instead of just one side of me," Roscoe explains. "Being in the rap industry, we tend to have a one-sidedness to ourselves when we make our music and get comfortable. When we get a record that's hot, we start making a gang of similar records. What Rico did, he made my album versatile. The things that were missing, he filled those gaps and those voids."
"Head Ta Toe" demonstrates this perfection. Teamed with Sleepy Brown, Roscoe flows with controlled fury over the slinky, soulful groove from Rico and Organized Noize. It's the type of song that will work well in the clubs as well as the streets, as its deft blend of funk and grit will appeal to a variety of fans.
In fact, that excitement carried over to the recording session. "We had a ball doing it," Roscoe recalls. "I put a lot of time into it. I laid a melody down playing around. I laid it down at 4 o'clock in the morning. Sleepy woke me up the next day. He liked the melody so he went home, wrote something and then sang to it. We just relaxed, listened to it and vibed on it. Naturally, with our three heads coming together, we were going to make a hit."
Roscoe takes a more aggressive approach on the crisp "What I Look Like." Flipping a common catchphrase, Roscoe makes an artistic statement directed at the streets.
"It's a lyrical song," he says. "I'm taking an everyday slang terminology, 'What I Look Like,' something that you hear everyday and making it into a song. I'm putting the pen to work and I'm selling it. That should be inspirational. Don't just create the slang. Why not get paid off it?"
Roscoe then gets personal on the title track. Reflecting on his formative years, his introduction to the rap game and loyalty to his emerging Young Assassin rhyme crew, Roscoe gives fans an intimate look into his life. "It's all about me and what I do, growing up in Philly and being with his YA riders," he says. "YA is a wild crew. We're young and we come from having no money. We all share everything, clothes and everything. That's what the song is about, growing up with my crew, hitting the party, chopping off rapper's heads in MC battles and street life. It's what I went through before I got in the game."
Before completing Young Roscoe Philaphornia, one of Roscoe's most potent performances was on "I Call Shots' (Part II)," a song featured on Kurupt's second album, 1999's Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha. Roscoe loved his performances on the song so much that he wanted to rerecord it, a task made easier since Organized Noize produced the original.
The new version, featuring new lyrics from Roscoe and Kurupt as well as a slightly tweaked beat, hits with magnum force. "When I first did 'I Call Shots' (part II)' with my brother, I was amped, on fire in the microphone booth," Roscoe says. "Every artist has their favorite verse and song. That's my favorite, the original. I wanted to redo it."
Roscoe's West Cost influence shines through on "It's That Time Again" and "Get Ready," the latter of which features singer-rapper Mr. Kane (formerly known as Kokane), who appeared on several songs from Snoop Dogg's "Tha Last Meal."
>Although "It's That Time Again" is more relaxed than "Get Ready," both contain the classic California feel that has made stars out of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and others.
"That's my sound. It's laid-back, something where you can have a ball," he says. "It's that California sound with the gangsterism. That's what I grew up to. Snoop Dogg brought that to the game, that laid-back, G'd up, pimping vibe."
Life wasn't always so sanguine for Roscoe. He grew up poor in Philadelphia and rarely saw his older brother. At 10, Roscoe made his first trip to California to visit Kurupt, who by this time was an integral member of Death Row Records and working with the then Snoop Doggy Dogg on his "Doggystyle" and "Murder Was The Case" projects.
Roscoe promptly started honing his rap craft. When Kurupt came to Philadelphia for a visit, he was floored by how accomplished his younger brother had become on the microphone. Roscoe proved he was dedicated to the craft and was soon traveling to Los Angeles, Atlanta and other cities with his brother, who was now a bonafied star on his own as one-half of Tha Dogg Pound.
In short order, Kurupt featured Roscoe on his "Kuruption!," "Tha Streetz Iz A Mutha" and "Space Boogie: Smoke Oddessey" albums. Roscoe then parlayed his impressive skills into spots on the soundtracks for "Pootie Tang," "O" and "Training Day," as well as the well-received "Nuthin' But A Gangsta Party" compilation, which also featured songs by such hip-hop heavyweights as 2Pac, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Xzibit and Mack 10.
Interested in more than being an artist, Roscoe started his own Rose of Sharon Entertainment company with Kurupt and their mother. The company will release "Young Roscoe" in conjunction with Priority/Capitol Records and plans to release albums from Youth Authority and gospel recording artists.
"I'm blessed," Roscoe says. "I write my own lyrics and I taught myself how to rap, but Kurupt taught me how to make a song. Kurupt and Rico taught me how to make an album. My whole family was instrumental in making my album and I'm blessed for that."