Rob49 is more focused than he’s ever been.
Following the release of his debut album Vulture Island last April, the buzzing New Orleans rapper has quietly appeared on two of this year’s biggest releases so far: Trippie Redd’s Mansion Musik and French Montana’s Coke Boys 6. All the while, he’s been hard at work chipping away at his next album 4GOD II, as well as three other projects he plans to drop this year, all simply “because you never know.”
“You never know man, you gotta go,” Rob told me. “You gotta go man. Life too short to be holding that shit.”
Back in January, the 25-year-old was among 10 people shot during a gathering with French Montana in Miami, Florida. According to reports, the shooting took place outside The Licking restaurant in Miami Gardens, where Rob and French were celebrating the release of their single “Igloo.” Early reports suggested it was a music video shoot, but Rob corrected that news and said they were just celebrating their newfound partnership.
“We were just chilling and we just wanted to perform the song and shit and celebrate because it was dropping that night,” Rob said. “So we just went to turn up with him. I saw [reports] that it was a music video and I was like alright I’m not even about to clear that up.”
Rob49 was shot in the arm, but said he’s doing just fine, and as a result, has a newfound motivation to get back on the grind and start flooding fans with new music.
So first off, how are you feeling?
I’m feeling good. Ready to come back outside and drop new music.
Tell me about your new album 4GOD II.
I think I’m gonna call it 4GOD II. I’m saying that cause I don’t know if I’m gonna change it or not, but I wanted that same vibe as the last 4God. I’ve been feeling that vibe a lot lately.
How do you think creatively you’ve changed since the original 4GOD?
I think by just slowing down. I was on a lot of fast uptempo beats and it was hard for [fans] to learn the lyrics because I’m just rapping my ass off. I’ve learned to slow it down and just make songs to chill. Make it a vibe. That’s what I’m going into with this project, I don’t wanna be the best rapper in the world. That’s not what I’m going for with this. I just want to make a couple of vibes for people to listen to at the parties and in their cars by themselves and stuff like that.
What inspired you to take that direction?
I’m just looking at the way music is shifting in the world right now and that’s what everybody’s really looking for. They’re looking for this one sound and we’re in it for business purposes so if you see the music shifting that way, just see what you can do with it. I ain’t gonna lie I put my own touch on it and it’s been working for me.
How did that approach influence “Ball N Chill?”
I didn’t really have no expectations for what I wanted it [to sound like.] There was this rapper Soulja Slim that passed away in the early 2000’s, he like a big legend in New Orleans, and he had that song “Ball N Chill” so I was on it heavy. I used to listen to it all day. So I was in the studio making the song and I just said his hook, “Ball and chill you know how the game go” and I just leave it on there. That was paying homage and at the same time coming with a recycled sound I know they’re gonna feel.
You’ve said in interviews that you don’t like speaking on real-life experiences in your music, but on “Ball N Chill” you briefly rap about swiping cars with your friend Zay, only to correct yourself and rap “Can’t believe I brought this up.” Why are you so adamant about keeping these experiences out of your music?
I’m still on the edge about that, but I feel like I’ve been getting out of my body with it a bit more and being like “It is what it is.” I was listening to my next song I’m about to drop and I heard myself going there, and I tried not to, but at the end of the day this is my life and I don’t want to hide it. So I’ll just put it on the beat. I haven’t seen Zay in probably two years, but I’m like man it is what it is, they gotta know this is real life. That was my right hand man. I know he looking at it like it is what it is. I still love him, man, I really do.
You’ve also previously spoken about not feeling like you’re where you want to be in terms of success. How are you feeling at this current moment before this project drops?
I ain’t gonna lie, I feel like I’m one of the best up-and-coming rappers. Coming from having 1,000 views, I got to a point where I had to stop letting myself think like that. Just go, you’re doing better than you were doing when you first started, so why are you holding yourself back? That’s where I’m at with it. My music’s hard, I know it’s hard because people are telling me, and I’m feeling good when I get in the studio.
Were there any vulnerable moments you had while making this project that were challenging to navigate?
I got a song called “I Love You” I feel like a lot of people gonna love that song because I ain’t gonna lie I was really going through everything on that song in the moment. When I was making that song it was making my palms sweat because I didn’t even wanna say this, but it is what it is! It was about events, my fuck-ups. I ain’t gonna lie, my stomach was hurting.
What were you dealing with?
I was dealing with something I couldn’t really talk about, so it was the only way to get it off my chest because I can’t talk to anybody about this. I even said on the song “If I do I’m done.” It did a lot of justice for me. It helped a lot I ain’t gonna lie.
How did you originally connect with French Montana?
My producer, my day one who believed in me he was in the studio with French and he was like ‘Yo French wanna do a record with you.’
Did it surprise you when “Igloo” became a single? Being able to shoot a music video with him must have been exciting.
It’s funny it wasn’t even a video shoot for real. We were just chilling and we just wanted to perform the song and shit and celebrate because it was dropping that night. So we just went to turn up with him. I saw [reports] that it was a music video and I was like alright, I’m not even about to clear that up.
You already had such a strong buzz before the shooting, but it seems like ever since then your buzz has exploded. Have you reflected at all on how strange it is that this traumatic experience has boosted your career?
Listen, man I done been through a lot. That’s not half of the shit I done been through. That’s some shit we went through at home like 100 times. The world just got a chance to see it because I got a platform but it ain’t nothing like that to me. I’m just going on my music, that’s all I’m really thinking about. I’m focusing on this drop.
Do scary moments like these discourage you from being in the rap game?
It’s exhausting because where I’m from and the life I live, you don’t even gotta to try to be in that. Where we come up around, people look at you like you’re a target. You could be out of the mix like a motherfucker but they’re still looking at you like the big fish so when they catch you it’s like the biggest fish of ‘em all because you’re the rapper. I ain’t gonna lie, my head right now it’s in so many ways I can’t even explain it to you. I gotta just keep on and just figure out my sound still and figure out how I can even give you an answer for it. I’m just living a real life. I’m going through trials and tribulations just like everybody else. I really don’t care that much for it to be in the world. I don’t really care, people can believe what they want. It is what it is.
What else can you tell me about the project?
I got Lil Durk on there. Probably my favorite feature on there. He just reminds me of me. He reminds me of a n-gga who really come from that. A lot of rappers ain’t just real people out here. That’s a real person right there up and down. He got real problems like how I got real problems. I’m dropping like 4 times this year. I’m just gonna flood ‘em. It’s time to go and show ‘em what it is that I can’t be touched.
Did the shooting inspire you to start cranking out music?
For sure, cause you never know. You never know man, you gotta go. You gotta go man. Life too short to be holding that shit.
Listen to his new track “Let Me Know” below: