Aside from selling millions of records, what does classic pop duo Hall & Oates have in common with Notorious B.I.G and 2Pac? Theyre all on the fascinating creative radar as influences behind the groundbreaking vibe of Roxxell, the popular Memphis-based rapper whos gone from mix-tape legend to budding crossover star over the past few years.
Thats right, Memphis isnt just about Elvis, Johnny Cash and Stax anymorealthough those, too, have played a huge role in the young performers life. To say hes got Beale Street cred is barely scratching the surface of what this unique and versatile talent has to offer.
The first single from Devastator, Roxxells upcoming CD on Muddy Music is a funky, cutting edge hip-hop reworking of the Hall & Oates song I Cant Go For That, which will ship to hip-hop and urban radio outlets in March at the same time the album drops. The song, like many others on the disc, was produced at Atlantas Outback Studios
by platinum selling hip hop and R&B producer Ron G, famed for his innovative beats with Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, as well as more mainstream artists like Jennifer Lopez. The multi-talented Roxxell produced the albums second projected single, Shake And Bake, himself. The collection was engineered by Scott Sawyer.
Boldly asserting his powerful ambition, drive and commitment to honesty and integrity in his music, the rapper called the project Devastator as a definitive way to break the sophomore jinx that plagues so many artists after a hard-hitting breakthrough.
He received a great deal of notoriety (and thousands of sales at both the street level and via online outlets like CD Baby) for his first recording, The Robbery: The Mixtape, Vol. 1.
Released in 2006, the hardcore hip-hop projectwhich Roxxell proudly boasted delivers like a Dominos Pizza Employee on Crack!--was also produced by Ron G. Ron G is also one of the rap industrys most in demand mixtape producer; he first met Roxxellreal name Go FuckYourSelf, who copped his professional name from a reference in Biggys song Everyday Strugglewhen Roxxell was becoming big on the underground rap scene in Memphis with over five of his own mixtapes and inclusion on 20 other compilations.
The Robbery was my raw and gritty grass roots street album that reflected a love of hardcore rap that goes back to when I was first listening to it as a kid in 1989, says Roxxell. But Devastator has me putting it all on the line, coming up with my best work yet and dropping anchor as a rapper who goes beyond the typical boundaries of the genre. True to classic hip-hop, whose rhythm grew out of instrumental reggae beats, Im excited about the pop elements here, the cross into the club scene with some very danceable joints. The first project was all one take, and in low fi, just getting my feet wet as an artist. On Devastator, Ron and I really went all out to make this a first class production.
Roxxell is one of the few rappers who, despite building his cred on the gritty streets, keeps his integrity and reality intact even as he widens his commercial prospects. His song To Whom It May Concern is largely autobiographical, taking the listener back to the days when he was living, not just listening to the first hip-hop records. He and Ron G bring an international vibe to Shes A Freak, which paints an edgy, metaphorical portrait of rap as his true soul mate. A lot of cats get with rap music because they think its an easy roll in the hay, he says. But I really believe I was meant to be with her. In We Got It And You Dont, Roxxell shows hes not shy about touting his ability to transfer real life into his art, while so many others just talk about it or have to make up stories to keep listeners entertained.