Published on August 1st, 2022 | by MuzikScribe0
Chill Rob G: Elder Statesman
Let’s hop right into this single, “Thinkin Out Loud” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
“Thinkin Out Loud” was one of the most spontaneous records in my career. I basically wrote it in front of the mic, and put it on paper after recording it. That is not my usual process. It came out okay though. I usually show up to the recording session with at least two songs ready. I had a session booked, but didn’t finish writing song number 2. We finished the first one, then the engineer asked what was next. I definitely wanted to use that track, so I told him to cue it up…50 punches later, came up with a hook, and that was it. I’ll probably stick to my preferred method though, I dont like to punch in.
“Thinkin Out Loud” comes courtesy of your latest solo LP, Empires Crumble —Conceptually, what does that title represent both to and for you?
The concept is basically thoughts and ideas during a global stay-at-home order. Ya know, things to do in Jersey when you’re caught in a pandemic. Might as well talk about the slow motion collapse of American society; things was looking grim out here! I also wanted it to be entertaining, so not everything is gloom and doom. I was trying to enjoy myself, so I guess it’s what I would want to hear from me, if I wasn’t me.
How then does Empires Crumble either differ and / or compare to previous solo efforts?
I think I do a decent job of continuously updating my listening and learning experience. I’m interested in a variety of topics, so I put it in my work somewhere. Ride the Rhythm was written by a young dude 19, 20 years old. I knew a lot of facts. Today’s album comes from an adult. I’m the same person, but I’m not 20 something…
“A man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” — Muhammad Ali
…I just want the music to reflect the times I wrote it.
What particular string of events actually led to your current inking to Chuck D’s [of PE] SpitSLAM Records?
I went to perform at an Awesome 2 anniversary. Chuck D was the host. He was chopping it up with all the acts after they finished their set. He asked what I was up to, so I said I was working on a new album. I ended up bouncing early, but meant to get at Chuck, leave my number with him or somethin’. But I left the show. Some time later, I got a text message and it was Chuck saying he had a situation I might be interested in. He told me about a producer he had been working with named C-Doc, said wanted (to) work with me and suggested the SpitSLAM release. I really couldn’t see a reason not to.
Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you become interested in it? And, how did it all begin for Chill Rob G?
There was always music around when I was a kid. I was raised by my grandparents, and they went to church a lot. Meaning, I went to church a lot! I was on the youth choir, used to lead songs but not ‘cause I was a great singer. I could hold a note, but mostly my grandmother would convince whoever needed convincing to put me up front somewhere. They had some Gospel records in the house. I would get bored and start playing records by The Blind Boys of Alabama, or the Mighty Clouds of Joy…later it was Edwin Hawkins and Andraé Crouch. Then my cousins came to stay with us, so I’m listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Commodores and James Brown. I took piano lessons…this woman had a house full of cats. I mean like too many cats. Place smelled like hell. I couldn’t concentrate. I guess I showed some interest in music, so my grandmother supported it. Seemed like I was always picked to be in a play or narrate an event. In school as well. So I’ve been on stages since I was old enough to learn a poem.
Now you’re a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, correct? So growing up in ‘Chilltown,’ who all did / do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
I can definitely say the people who influenced me the most are other artists. I would listen to the radio, and really paid attention to all the popular rappers who ever was hot on the radio, or whoever was hot on the street. If people thought somebody was good, I would pay attention to them and see if I could hear what everybody else heard…sometimes yeah, but not always.
In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
I try to, “be like water” — Bruce Lee
…The beats that I choose dictate how I’m goin’ to rhyme, the mood of how I’m going to rhyme determines what I’ll say. I definitely intend to cover a wide range of topics that all seem to center around a theme. That theme is the Chill Rob mystic! It’s a secret family recipe. I won’t be predictable. I intend to write rhymes that sound like I put thought in even when I do, or if I do not, and make ‘em fun to say.
How did you manage to link up with the original Flavor Unit collective; Lakim Shabazz, The 45 King and Queen Latifah, before eventually signing to / with Stu Fine’s Wild Pitch Records?
I went to high school with Apache and Latee before they moved to Irvington New Jersey. They met The 45 King out there, and started bringing other emcees in. Latee came to the crib to get me. Apache brought Treach in, (Lord) Alibaski was their cousin. They already had a crew called the R.E. Posse. A guy named Ramsey wanted to promote parties, fashion shows, boat trips…whatever he could charge a few dollars for, and we were part of the entertainment for that. Once the demos we were making with Mark started getting airplay on KISS-FM, things took off pretty quick. 45 King already had a relationship with Red Alert when I met him, so when he said, “let’s make a demo!” I took it pretty serious.
Lyrically, when you sit down to pen your rhymes where do you draw inspiration from?
My life, my point of view. Other people’s lives, what I see them deal with. Things that happened to / with me. My imagination. Current and historical events. Other artists not necessarily rappers.
I know that it’s “old hat” as they say, but can we briefly touch on the whole Snap! “The Power” controversy — What do you remember most about this specific time in both your life and career?
I remember thinking we were gonna go to trial, and I would win easy. I remember being frustrated that something like that could be happening, and there was nothing I could legally do. Pissed at Wild Pitch for leavin’ me out there like that. I recently spoke to a man named Anthony Carter. I told this story before, I misspoke his name as Anderson. Anthony Carter told me he is the creator of the song “The Power,” said he was a member of Teddy Riley’s crew, worked on a lot of those New Jack Swing records. Carter said he was just messing around with my vocals and came up with that mix. He does not know how the song ended up in Germany to be claimed by the Snap!. So the plot thick as honey, and I’m still chasing that money.
Switching gears here…
To date, what has been your greatest highlight(s) / moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
The birth of my son. That night I could not sleep, I just kept thinking about the miracle of circumstances that brought him to life. Definitely changed my thinking overnight. (And,) hearing myself on the radio that first time. I was pretty hyped about that.
What’s an average day like for you?
I’m pretty normal I guess. I wake up ‘round midnight, grab some duct tape, trash bags and a shovel. Time to head out and seize the day! Seriously, I take the train to Manhattan, grab some coffee, 8 hours later I’m back on the train and back in the crib. Drinking water and minding my business. When I’m invited, I show up…most of the time. Sometimes without an invite.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
I probably need to work on this part of the game to be honest. It’s not that I don’t like people. People usually hit me up for features on Instagram. Mostly dudes just want me to rhyme on their songs because they’re fans and I’m dope. I’m probably NEVER gonna do a song for those reasons, but people can contact me whenever. I am on Instagram, Twitter and Meta…just search Chill Rob on any of those.
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
I like creating the songs; I walk into a room with a couple other people and create something that did not exist before. The thing that we create can be heard and felt, but not seen or touched. A kind of sorcery in that. I love performing for large crowds. There is an energy that they generate; it’s a pretty awesome feeling. I love traveling and meeting people. There are people hoping to leech off you…not only money, they want your life force. They are easy enough to spot though.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Do Not follow in my footsteps! I made too many mistakes…if anything, use those and see what not to do. Everybody’s story is different anyway, so just do your thing. Don’t listen to people when they give advice, they don’t know everything. They could be stopping you from making the best move of your life. So my advice is trust your self! It’s your life, you gotta live with the result of your choices.
Lastly, what’s next for you, Rob?
I wrote this last album as a celebration of the fact I’m alive. The celebration continues. More music, more living!
Is there anything I left out, or just plain forgot to mention?
Nah, you covered it.
Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Please check out my new album Empires Crumble: https://lnk.to/SuzIHjUa