Emilio Rojas Talks "Life Without Shame," Stance On Using The N-Word

Exclusive: The self-described "half cracker, half Latin" emcee shares his thoughts on Latino rappers using the n-word, reveals next musical move with Green Lantern.

DXNext alum Emilio Rojas is continuing his steady march towards stardom with the recent release of his latest mixtape, Life Without Shame   (featuring premier production from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Needlz, !llmind, Dante Ross, M-Phazes and tape host DJ Green Lantern, and appetizing appearances from Killer Mike, Mickey Factz, Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T and B.o.B.).    

On Monday, (December 6th), the rapidly-rising Rochester, New York native with the impressive rapid-fire flourished flow spoke to HipHopDX about his struggles over the last couple of years to link with a label that understands his music and can properly propel him into the national spotlight. During his discussion with DX, the bi-racial Brooklyn transplant also spoke about his struggles for acceptance, elaborating on being “All Mixed Up” before explaining his position on Latino artists using the most controversial word in the English language.    

HipHopDX: Before we get to discussing your latest Green Lantern presented mixtape, I gotta ask you about something I just read that DJ Green Lantern told DrJays: that you know “things about me I don’t want the world to know!” What secrets about your fellow Rochester native can we air-out on DX? [Laughs]       

Emilio Rojas: I mean, I don’t wanna let him know what I know either, ‘cause I think if I let that out the bag he might feel a little comfortable like, “Whew!” I don’t want him to get that [comfortable]. I gotta have something to hold over him. [Laughs] I can’t believe you just [asked] that.      

DX: [Laughs] Speaking of Green, when are you and he gonna stop saturating the streets and hit retail with one of them albums-masquerading-as-mixtapes that Green has done for dead prez, Styles P? Get you some Soundscan returns.

Emilio Rojas: We haven’t really decided on a retail plan yet. We’re kinda just entertaining offers right now. We’re in a good situation. We got a lot of interest. We generated a decent amount of buzz. So right now we’re just continuing to grow that. We started working on records for retail, like for the actual album. And it’s gonna be a step up from all the shit that we been putting out… We’re just waiting to get the right situation. You don’t wanna be one of them cats that ends up taking X, Y and Z situation and ends up being shelved. Or, you end up fuckin’ with so-and-so artist and he just has you putting out mixtape after mixtape and never going to retail. It’s a slippery slope.

DX: Speaking of, on the title-track from Life Without Shame you spit, “And I been talking with the heads of the labels, they ready and able to put a couple checks on the table / Sayin’ they could make my problems disappear / I’m wishin’ that they woulda said the shit last year.” Can you reveal which “heads of the labels” you’ve chopped it up with?

Emilio Rojas: [Laughs] Nah. That’s not a good idea. We’ve spoken with a couple people though. So…I don’t wanna…when I cross the bridge I’ll burn the rest of them.    

DX: [Laughs] Are you saying there’s been progress, or you still wanna take some more meetings?

Emilio Rojas: There’s been a lot of progress, [but] we’re taking more meetings though ‘cause you can never take too many. 

DX: I still can’t believe no label wanted to put out the M-Phazes produced, Stat Quo featured “Way She Moves” from your Recession Proof   mixtape [about] a year-and-a-half ago. That joint had radio smash written all over it.

Emilio Rojas: Yeah, you know, it was weird. Like, back [then] we had a label that wanted to actually sign – Me and M-Phazes did a whole album together, [and] we had a big major label that had hit me up like, “Yo, we wanna sign you, we wanna put that album out, we wanna have it ready to go in three months.” You get these young A&R’s who don’t really know what the fuck they’re doing. Not that they don’t know what they’re doing, but they just get too excited. They hear a record and they hear something special about it and then they get really behind it. But then, the longer they have to sit with it they start playing it for X, Y and Z, and people start picking it apart. ‘Cause you know the longer you have to sit with something the more critical you are, especially if you’re looking at it like a [strictly] money-making venture. So there was a situation where we were taking meetings with this label [and] like every week we’d go in and they’re like, “Yeah, we still wanna do this, but now you gotta change this.” So I’d change it and I’d come back and they’re like, “Okay, but now we want you to do this record too.” So we did the record. It came to a point where I just deaded the meetings like, “You guys are nuts. What happened to wanting to sign this whole album and all of a sudden the whole thing has changed and you wanna keep two records off the original 14-track album?” So it’s like, eh, sometimes you just gotta throw up your hands and be like, let the chips fall where they may, we’re gonna build this on our own and then get it to a point where they have to fuck with us or [keep] doing it ourselves. So either way, we good.       

DX: Switching gears here…I wanna ask the self-described “half cracker, half Latin” about “All Mixed Up” from your new tape. Do folks really sweat you about your race like that?

Emilio Rojas: Yeah, growing up people looked at me funny. I live in a very Spanish neighborhood [and] I’ll walk in the store sometimes and they speak Spanish and think I don’t understand. Sometimes it’s girls saying some cute shit [in Spanish], which is alright. Then I have a leg up. But, it was always an issue. My grandparents, they were old school. On my mother’s side [of the family] I think a part of them was kinda stuck in the past… They weren’t really ready to have [bi-racial grandchildren]. Me and my sister are both half Latino, and I don’t know if they were ready for that… They never came out their mouth with it, but it was always a question [of how they really felt]. Like, when you see the other grandkids getting different treatment. Stuff like that, it always was in the back of my mind, at least once I was old enough to really process it.

And in school I definitely got it. I had gotten an academic scholarship to a really good school, and a lot of people said that it was because I was…you know, spic’d out.

DX: Just out of curiosity, being half Venezuelan, do you know if you have any African ancestry?

Emilio Rojas: You know what? I honestly don’t know. It’s a possibility…

DX: I haven’t heard every verse you ever spit, but do you use the n-word in your rhymes?

Emilio Rojas: No.

DX: And is that like a conscious choice, or would you feel comfortable doing like [Big] Pun did and Fat Joe does?

Emilio Rojas: I mean, you don’t look at me like [you look at them]. [Big] Pun and Fat Joe, they look a little bit more ethnic than me… It’s not a line I’m trying to walk. [But] that’s a word that could trigger an emotional response from a lot of people. And you never know who’s gonna react in what fashion. And it’s just something that me personally, I just don’t feel like I have any right to use [that word].

DX: Ten years after Pun’s passing, what in your opinion is the state of Latinos in Hip Hop in 2010?

Emilio Rojas: I think we good. We got me. You got Joell Ortiz, who’s a fuckin’ monster. Termanology, who’s a monster. There’s a lot of really dope Latino emcees. We weren’t [ever] the frontrunners in the game. There was never like 60 of us out at once. But if you look at like when Pun and Joe came up with Terror Squad, they was rockin’ with a bunch of Spanish cats. And I think [now] is kinda similar to [that]. We just ain’t clicked up.       

31 Comments

  • lrg

    why did they ask him about african ancestry? dumb ass fucking hip hop dx who gives a fuck if he has some african in him he makes good music he could be an albino nigger and id still listen to him

  • Wheres my food

    what ever happened to emilio estevez...hahaha...fuckin niggers.. spics.. honkys..gook..chink...

  • jerry

    Got some dumb people on this site...the song where he talks about Mexican women, he is not insulting Mexicans, he is talking about immigration, telling a story, and getting a message out there. I am glad someone had the balls to do it in such a serious and meaningful way. Maybe it will help draw attention to how fucked up things are.

  • CRACKERZ NO.1

    half cracker fuckin double standard then you faggotz get mad when we call you NIGGERZ .DX IS RUN BY BUNCH OF LATINZ/NIGGERZ.no bad intentions intended .

  • El Moreno

    I am a Black man born in the Dominican Republic, but yet and still I am a Black Man. When are so called Latinos/Spanish people going to realize that Latino/Spanish is not a RACE? There are white Latinos, Brown Latinos, Red Latinos, Yellow Latinos, and Black Latinos. Latino or Latin/Spanish is a CULTURE NOT A RACE… White people committed genocide on the original people in South America and called them LATINOS or HISPANICS BTW I give him props for not using the N Word. I always correct and admonish black people when they use the N word around me. Without warning I physically harm white people when they use the N word. With Non Black-Non white so called Latinos I give them a warning and then after that I implement physical violence when they continue to use the N word. In conclusion, DO Not Use The N word. Its very disrespectful and dehumanizes Black People. Mucho Gracias

    • Yaboy

      This is pussification of america... you niggaz are too sensitive. @viva la raza....OF course if you had a bad experience you may express it by saying this stupid spanish bitch, or ugly bitch- whatever the case doesnt make you racist. Its just how you express yourself do to the situation. Like when a fat person gets in your way- you'll probably say "fat ass" or something of the sort. Doesn't mean you hate fat people. Honestly the shit was a stupid question to ask to begin with. "Do you use the N word?" Why not the S word for spic, or the C word for cracker or chink. DO they not hold any weight, its just the N word. Get the fuck out here....stop contributing to the pussification of america.

    • El Moreno

      @Xik: No im not fibbing, I used to think like a lot of ignorant Dominicans and other so called Latinos, until I came into the knowledge of my African/Black ancestry and I accepted who I am and who my people are. I am a Black Man! Do not try to erase my history with some Latino/Spanish BS. Yes I was born in that culture but that does not change the fact that I am a Black Man and thats how the world sees me and treats me. If you can not accept that then yo whole perspective is whack.

  • viva la raza

    cool that homie dont say nigga but on his new mixtape, he saying shit, calling her "anothe rmexican slut" or something like that...thats wack fool how you gonna disrespect a race of women just becuase you had a bad experience with one.. turned off his music when I heard that foul remark

    • Mexican Native

      @viva la raza Yea your such a beaner spic.. You dont mind when non Mexican women are degraded but bitch when a Mexican woman is? How stupid can you be?

    • Anonymous

      come on man, but you dont turn off anyone elses when they disrespect any woman....Its entertainment man!.....I knew you were mexican after reading...'thats wack FOOL"..hahaha yo soy mexicano tambien.

  • Anonymous

    wordd Duce Rivas -F*ck The World [Official Video] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxEtfs36qpg

  • niggaman

    dam im an japanese 12 year old....and all i want for x-mas is wake up with black skin, big lips, a long shlong and a nice set of grillz forr my blingin mouth. oh and that crazy foam hair...man id be sploogin in my panties

  • RealJIBb

    I live down in Houston Texas, this is something heard daily by every color and race. That's why you gotta love Houston, we are one of the most diverse cities in America. Other regions need to catch up, they are still stuck in the 1960's!! We even have a lesbian as our Mayor, what does that tell you about Htown! Whenever I say the word nigga, never in my MIND do I think of a black person, or even try to offend. You see, I think everyone realizes that we are now in a new reality. Like the great Tupac said Nigger is said by the KKK, and Nigga strictly means you my HOMIES, MY DOWN ASS NIGGA. I use it as an expression of love to my homeys, if anything, it express with respect! We in 2010 man, stop the bullshit. We have a black President now c'mon

  • ATC

    You cannot compare "cracker" or "honkey" with the word "nigger." there is a terrible history behind the n-word. white people were never oppressed with a certain word for decades. why is it that the n-word is STILL in 2010 the most controversial word. Cracker and honkey were never as mainstream. You cant compare it.

  • Kaleb

    I fucks with homeboys music. Glad he avoids certain language and wish more would.

  • Anonymous

    alright lets get this shit cleared up!...why is it that black people get upset when they get called nigger, but its ok for them to say honky, cracker, white boy etc. shit if you call white people that then be prepared to get called nigger. Im mexican and can give a fuck what people call me. . Like dude said he doesnt have a right to say that word, but im sure he uses it in private just like all of us do....shit, i say nigger, cracker, wetback, spick, gook...am i racist?....not one bit!!! oh yeah, another thing. stop lableing yourself as "US". youre just another human being like all of us, so start acting that way...in no way do i mean disrespect but that shit gets OLD! Shit, i'll admit it. Some of these mexicans out here(LA) are fuckin' idiots, and wish them deportation. people need to stop labling themselves as "black man", "white", "asian" etc...we're all fuckin' human. PERIOD!!!

  • cale

    m phazes is a beast. best Australian hip hop producer going around.

  • 72

    m-phazes is a beast. best Australian hip hop producer going around.

  • NwordUser

    But Mexican's in Houston,TX is it all the time while sideways trying to be white. I really pissed me off. Like they'll call you a "Nigger" but call each other Nigga. When I was in the mid-west and latino's used it, I never thought twice about it because they acted as though they were in the "struggle" and was just basically down with black folk. But as soon as I moved down to H-town, the first week one of the "across the border" mexicans called me a Nigger and I almost lost my job so when they say Nigga down here I have a huge problem with it. The majority of mexicans or really hispanics in general down here from MY experince want to be white and act "black" when its a convienece. They act like they're better than black people even though half of them don't even have a green card. If they pulled the crap they do in Texas in any OTHER southern state...esp. MS(hometown) then it would be alot ass whoopn' going on.

    • Mid-West born and raised

      Nworduser...your a fuckin idiot...im from the midwest...the mexicans where im from cant stand black folk...they call them niggers all the time...they practically fuckin hate each other...have no idea where you went...but..your full of shit..

    • YOYO

      Cosign.. I dont let none of these Spanish or Mexican F*ckers get a pass on saying the word N*gga or N*gger because they just pretenders and they really dont like yo black ass.

  • bunson

    Emilio is a dope dope emcee and this interview has made me like him a lot. Seems smart and chill

  • Anonymous

    He's a smart guy for not using the N word. But even if he did he could probably get aaat=y wit it only in NY. If he did it in the south He would need to pray to GOD.

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