Cinicinnati kid Buggs tha Rocka may be an unfamiliar name to many, but his new album “Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet” reinforces his reputation as one of the most gifted hip hop lyricists to emerge from Ohio in the past few years. We catch up with him to know more about the “Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet”!
Q. How did you first get into hip-hop and what does it mean to you?
My mom gave me a harmonica at age 6. I was writing poetry after that and kinda just bumping my brother’s tapes which were hip hop of course. I fell in love with it and been rocking ever since!
Q. Who are some of your major influences?
This question is always hard for me cause I forget people, and I’m inspired by so many artists and genres. But in terms of hip hop, guys like Pharrell Williams, Nas, Q-Tip, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Outkast, Talib Kweli, Common, Ma$e and MOOD
Q. In your opinion as a lyricist, what is it that makes hip-hop lyrics “good”?
Anything that comes from the heart and soul where you can not only hear, but feel the passion.
Q. How do you feel your music has evolved since you began?
I think it’s more infused with other genres. It’s always been a melting pot as is traditional in Cincinnati, but I think now even more the lines are blurred in hip hop. The digital side of things in terms of the technology has improved when we’re speaking “sonic quality” compared to before, there’s been some huge leaps there.
Q. You’ve had the opportunity to work, collaborate and perform with some huge names in hip-hop. What are some of your personal highlights and how have they helped you further yourself as an artist?
There’s a few, but I’ll say two that come to mind off top. I went to watch Kanye West and Jay-z, and I think the Watch The Throne concert and Yeezus showed me that it was bigger than hip hop. Those live shows were epic for any genre, worth ever dollar. It was almost like a stage play or movie. The music was just the backdrop that complemented things visually, amd inspired me to try and take things to another level.
Sharing the stage with Talib Kweli at A3C and touring with him was like my dreams starting to fulfill, and helping me reach another level in my career. That dude is amazing, so rocking out with one of my idols is still surreal. It made me feel like I can do anything, everything is possible.
Q. How does it compare performing at festivals such as SXSW and A3C to your regular shows in front of your home crowd?
Home is home and always a great feeling, but the festivals are a lot of fun too.
The one thing I don’t like in this era is that everybody has their phones out, and feel they just wanna capture everything rather than experience the show in the way it should be experienced. That’s just this generation. I guess I’m saying that as if I’m a old man but I feel like that when I see things like that.
I’m not feelin that, like really, the whole show you wanna have your phone out?? That doesn’t feel natural to me, but it is what it is.
Q. Talk us through some of the major themes on your upcoming album ‘Scattered Thoughts of an American Poet’?
Honestly, the project is represented in the title, a lot of my scattered thoughts and feelings about a whole range of things. I’m also bringing my fans up to speed on what’s been up since my last project and of course reaching out to a new audience. All life is in there, something for everyone to connect with
Q. The album seems to show a lot of versatility, how would you describe your own style and approach to music?
My approach is just to come from the heart and do what feels right. I try to keep things very organic. I am inspired by a lot of different genres so I try to represent that in my music. This specific album was designed to showcase these musical influences in one shot as I gear up for separate projects next year
Q. What does the future hold for Buggs tha Rocka?
Hopefully its a successful one! I dont place limits on what I would like to achieve and how far I’d like to take it, but retaining full creative control is important to me. But I’m optimistic about the future. I have new releases lined up for 2015, more visuals and tour dates planned, so look out for those soon!
By Grant Summers