A little over a year ago, I moved out to San Diego, California. I was in the midst of what I believed would be a long relationship and on top of that, San Diego was the perfect place for me to go cultivate my new career, which was in Music media. Not only was SD a must for any major Hip-Hop tour, making it ultra-easy to constantly connect with artists, but the city had a crazy underground scene beginning to pop off. Spear-headed by RCA’s newest signee Rob $tone and his rowdy 1207 clique, who opened my eyes to the scene, Daygo had a laundry-list of up and comers who were just scratching the surface of their potential. From Malik Burgers, Deezo and Fred Burton, to John Givez, MaZhe. and more; San Diego had an exciting crop of hungry emcees that all displayed different styles, but had a distinct sound that was unique to the city. Though all of the above artists have put the city on in different ways – Rob has a double platinum record – I’m not sure that any of them carry the long-term potential to be king like Chula Vista resident Rossi Rock.
If you were to hear Rossi before you ever seen him, which is rare nowadays, his initial appearance might surprise you. Sounding like a more polished and complex Dom Kennedy with a splash of Wale’s tone and word-exaggeration – with the potential to be better than BOTH – Rossi looks nothing like he sounds. While through his lyrics you can gather that his Hispanic heritage means a lot to him, unless you’re a psychic, the last thing you would expect to see would be a burly 6’2 man with a thick beard, black Tecate jean-jacket, and pants cuffed up at the ankle – okay you might’ve gotten that one. My initial reaction to seeing him is well documented, so I won’t go into that, but the dude has a clear image. And it’s this image that has quickly transformed Rossi from, “he’s up next in the city” to “he’s up next, PERIOD,” all which was validated at Queen Bee’s, a small but cozy all-ages venue in North Park, San Diego on Saturday night.
disguised billed as the Pony release show, was actually a celebration of Rossi’s signing to Private Club Records, an independent label led by brothers MadeinTYO and 24Hrs. The opening line-up included fellow PC signees, Noah Wood$ & MyNameisPhin, and Suav City reps Saucalini & Sebby OG, who also hail from SD. While all of the openers had moments on stage that captivated the crowd – especially Sauce and Sebby, who seem to be where Rossi was a year ago, just oozing with potential to takeover – the whole show was just a buildup in anticipation for the man of the night, who then came out and murdered his set.
Buoyed by recent success from his latest EP, Pony – his first with Private Club – Rossi stood tall, knocking out hit after hit, playing crowd favorites like, “Scarface”; “Tell Me” and “Kelly Green.” Although the Pony tracks got the crowd jumping – “Kelly Green” was nuts – Queen Bee’s went absolutely ape-shit when Rossi started playing tracks from his debut project, Agassi. Maybe it was the fact that Rottweiler had a clothing shop pop-up during the show, but it seemed like, when Rossi played his ode to the brand, the whole building had just taken a 5-hour-energy capsule—and that was just the front-end of a deadly back-to-back-to-back of jams thrown at us by Rossi that also included, “19&55” & of course, “That’s My Lady.” I’m not sure I can properly explain how rowdy it was when Rock let that track ring, but I can say this: by the time the song was on its 3rd encore, Rossi didn’t have to sing ONE word.
I attend many local hip-hop shows in my spare time and I can honestly say I haven’t seen that kind of crowd reaction for a cat without a major national buzz since…. well last year. I remember in the exact same city, maybe about 10 miles away a year ago having that same feeling watching Rob $tone and 1207 at Soma for his sh
ow in celebration of him signing to RCA Records. Both of those artist showcased a genuine happiness for the blessings that were coming their way. Both artists savored the moment and didn’t let one second slip by. Both artists had San Diego ROCKING to its core. But only one is Rossi Rock, and if I had to put my money on any single artist from the coastal city, it would be The Main Chambelan, but that’s no slight to Rob – who again, has a double platinum record – or the rest of San Diego. Rossi’s just that damn good.
Check out Pony, the latest EP from Rossi below and check out the gallery of flicks from the night as well, all taken by Lee Hernandez.
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