Chill Rob G was a member of the Flavor Unit – the original one that included Queen Latifah and the late Mark the 45 King who just recently passed away (RIP). An artist of the late 80’s and 90’s, and one primarily on the East Coast, hip-hop heads will recognize the name but we still wanted to get his perspective of fifty years of hip-hop for all generations of the genre to see and learn from. The veterans are here for a reason and they have experienced all of the ups and downs of the business, so it would do you some good to pay attention. Todd “DG” Davis once again is at the helm of the conversation.
First things first, this year (August 11th) marked the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop — What exactly does that mean to and for you?
Rob: It means all those people who tried to tell us we were “just making noise,” “it’s not real music,” and “rappers are not real artists,” can kick rocks if they’re still around, ‘cause we damn sure aren’t going anywhere.
To quote the late, great The Notorious B.I.G., “You never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far!” — Was this something that you ever could’ve imagined?
Rob: Yes, I definitely saw that the culture was way bigger than some people realized. They thought it was just music, when we knew it was a way of life. We will never run out of new artists, there are always going to be hungry people who have talent but no access. It seemed that back in the day you needed to be selected and trained and your career was managed from the start by people who guided every step, not any more. This is one of the strengths of Hip Hop. Especially nowadays when YouTube and TikTok can launch a career as fast as any live performance. Anyone who has enough charisma and talent can become pretty large in the entertainment industry. That’s not exclusive to music by the way.
What are some of your fondest, most stand-out moments / memories from your lengthy tenure in this thing called Hip Hop?
Rob: Its easily my beginning. You can only experience something for the 1st time, once. That 1st time can determine if you continue or decide to go a different direction. My 1st performance after my 1st single came out was in Europe, Copenhagen I think, on the road with the Jungle Bros and Latifah. The crowd reaction after my name was called, you’d have thought they introduced Prince or Michael. The screaming, the banging on the stage, the pandemonium! It was unforgettable because the crowd wanted it to be.
My 1st US tour was on the road with Public Enemy and Heavy D. I remember looking out of the tour bus as we were pulling up to 1 of the venues they had a pretty big electronic sign near the highway listing the artists. My name popped up big and bright as hell. That was the 1st time I saw my name in lights.
That said, what are your future plans and / or goals throughout the remainder of 2023, going right into ‘24?
Rob: Finishing up my as yet untitled 2nd album on the SpitSlam label. So far about 7 cuts deep. Got some treats on there, a few surprise guests, should be interesting. I want to confuse the marketplace a little. I feel like a Chill Rob G album at this time isn’t really expected to generate much attention. On the other hand…well, we’ll see.
Switching gears here, what exactly do you want people to get from your music?
Rob: Entertainment mostly, with a little splash of understanding. I do not have all the answers, but I can share what I have. So let’s dance a little, laugh a little, but stay ready so you don’t need to get ready.
On a more serious note, are you happy with the current state of Hip Hop?
Rob: I am. I definitely don’t want every rapper talking the same. That would kill the genre. I had a lyric on 1 of my 1st singles. “Thank goodness for you suckers who just can’t rock without you;!how would we know who’s fresh and who’s not.” We need variety in rap, healthy competition, iron sharpens iron and all that. Ultimately, the people decide who stays and who goes. Just ‘cause you or I don’t like a particular multi-platinum selling artist, doesn’t mean they’re useless.
What do you feel has and will continue to be the key to your longevity?
Rob: For Chill Rob, it’s just my willingness to endure. I could easily have said enough is enough many times over the years. I have enjoyed making rap songs long before any of you good people ever heard my name. I released my 1st single at around 19 – 20 years old…more than quite a few years later, I’m still at it because I decided to go at again and again every day. I decide what the rest of my life will be almost hourly, but I can only live this second I’m in right now and prepare for a time in the future. I truly enjoy music and getting lost in the flow of a good rhyme cadence. So, I do it when you’re looking and when you not even thinking about me.
Do you have any other outside / additional (future) aspirations, maybe even completely away from entertainment?
Rob: Not completely away from entertainment, but I like cinema; when an opportunity presents itself for me to venture into that realm, I’ll be ready.
What’s an average day like for you?
Rob: I’m really Chill
Rob these days, borderline boring unless I have a project, event or vacation to go on. I’m in the crib on my XBOX or Im watching a movie on Prime or whatever.
Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
Rob: People tend to get at me on Instagram more than anywhere else; it’s usually just a shoutout, but occasionally they’ll ask for a feature. Depends on a few factors if I do it or not. At 1 time I was that unknown dude who thought he had the goods, ya know, and I never had an opportunity to just send my favorite MC a message and have them respond. It’s a different time for sure. But yeah…feel free people, FB / Meta, Twitter / X, TikTok, whatever, I’m outchea!
What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And, why?
Rob: Favorite part is creating the music and listening as something materializes out of thin air. Love the travelling also…sometimes. Least favorite is the travelling, sometimes it can be challenging. I remember the clip of Michael Jackson saying he went through hell on tour, and I completely understood what he meant.
What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Rob: I think I remember this question from before, I’ll try a different answer. Please do not try and pattern your journey after anyone else’s. You will travel your own path, like it or not. Even if you’re going to the same places and enjoying the same victories, the way you arrive will be your own story to tell. So, my advice here is do you, and trust yourself. Make the best choice you have in front of you and move like you mean it.
Looking ahead, say five or maybe even ten years from now, where do you see yourself?
Rob: I might be retired out here, traveling the world with no particular destination, like Caine in Kung Fu if he had money. I might be working on another album, I do like to hear myself on a new song.
Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
Rob: Nah, you covered it, thanks for reaching out to me.
Any “parting” words for our readers?
Rob: I’ll see you at the show!