HHW: You say that you’ve packed six years of work into two years of rapping professionally. How so?
Manolo Rose: I performed a lot and I put a lot of energy into my performances. If you watch rappers [on stage], what they’ll usually do is hold their money out or hold champagne in their hands and drink, or they just look at you. In reality, these artists don’t know how to perform. In this day in age, your money comes from your performances. Because you can get music for free at this point, regardless of if it’s being sold. Listeners stream and download everything. But it’s one thing you can’t replace, and that’s seeing a person live.
There’s nothing like a fan getting that experience. You can see a show on YouTube or Instagram clips, but that’s no equivalent to being present. I cater my music to my performances, so when I’m on stage, it’s even more electrifying. You get to see the energy level keep going up until it reaches its climax.
HHW: Basketball was your passion before rap. What parallels have you noticed between the two?
Manolo Rose: When I played ball, I was extremely good. That was because I practiced a lot. I was the kid who would shovel the court when it snowed. When I came home, I would dribble my ball up and down the street. When I was in my house, I had a little hoop that I would shoot on.
My work ethic in the rap game is the same way. It’s about me practicing, learning things, and listening to a range of music genres. I have to continuing practicing so I could one day reach my peak.
HHW: What was it like growing up in Marcy post-Jay Z?
Manolo Rose: It was exciting, man. Especially when Jay was beefing with Nas, and BET’s Hits From The Street came to Marcy. He had local guys rapping against Queensbridge, and sh*t like that. Those days were electrifying.
I remember Memphis Bleek shooting the “Memphis Bleek Is” video. And the “Around Here” video, when Bleek had T.I. in the projects; that was dope, too. In that Jay Z period where the Roc was everything, that sh*t meant a lot to everybody in Marcy. I sill watch the “Hard Knock Life” video and see some of my homies that are dead or locked up and are never coming home. But back then, everyone was having fun.
HHW: Were you ever in any of those videos?
Manolo Rose: Nah, but I was definitely there for Hits On the Streets. I had on an electric blue flight jacket. It was me and a close homie who passed away. You can probably look that sh*t up on YouTube.
HHW: Is Jay Z still the rubric of success in Marcy?
Manolo Rose: I think Jay Z personifies success, not just for Marcy, but rap in general. You are a fool if you’re a rapper and don’t say that your ultimate goal is to become Jay Z. He’s the person that came from hustling, started rapping, and actually turned that into being a business man. Now he’s sitting in the same room with bigwigs from Fortune 500 companies.
Despite when the brother Cornell West called Jay out about only owning a percentage of the Brooklyn Nets, that deal wouldn’t have went through without him being involved. And, his involvement allowed him see what was happening in sports and to get close enough to an organization to start an agency of his own with Roc Nation Sports.
If Hov isn’t your ultimate goal of success in this business, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. If there is, point him out.
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