Written by Calvin Schneider
Meet East New York rapper Rocko Ballin. At only 18 years old, he’s been making some big splashes in the NYC drill music scene. The NYC drill scene, which has taken over the hip hop charts and the music industry by storm, is normally characterized by hard hitting kicks, gliding 808s, and menacing verses. Rocko separates himself from a saturated genre with smooth unique melodies blended perfectly with introspective lyrics over gritty drill beats. But he hasn’t always been doing drill music. At the beginning of his career he was dropping smooth R&B ballads, which he still does from time to time. Rocko Ballin is at the top of my list of artists to look out for in 2021, be sure to check out our interview below and to keep a look out for what he has in store next year!
How old are you?
What was it like growing up in East New York?
High School was calm, got in trouble alot. But as far as growing up in east New York when I was first born as a baby, that’s where I used to live. I moved to the Bushwick, and then I moved to the stuy then from the Bush.
Are you still there?
Nah now I’m living in the East, Spring Creek. But it was calm and shit growing up. I used to be with the same n****s every day.
Did you notice a difference from when you moved from East New York to New York city?
I guess it was a little more calm, but still the same shit.
Who would you consider your Mob?
The n****s I be around, we’re a family. Thats what it is.
What are things that you look for in an instrumental? Have you always been going towards the drill beats or do you like melodic beats too.
Before I was doing more melodic shit, but then I hopped on a drill beat. I was originally doing regular shit with A Lau. He was like “Yo the same shit you doing on these regular beats, do it on a drill beat. It’s going to be fire”. We have our own process. Then we made Mob, and we just kept tweaking from there.
What other artists are you fucking with out of New York City, out of East New York or in general?
You’ve been putting out a lot of content throughout this entire year, what do you have lined up for the rest of the year?
More music, more videos, more everything. Just more that’s what I planned for the year. Doing more.
Is there are there any directors are there any video producers that you like to work with specifically when you’re doing visuals?
Yeah, I’m recently been fucking with Wonton and Kreative Films.
With A Lau in the room, who is your favorite New York City producer right now?
You know it’s A Lau on the beat man.
What other producers are you fucking with in the city right now?
You have some collaborations with artists like 26AR, do you have any other collabs coming up, or are you mostly just focusing on yourself right now?
For right now I’m just trying to focus on dropping myself, really. Me and AR got some shit coming, but apart from that I’m just dropping. Gonna keep going. Applying pressure.
What’s something that’s been getting you through this pandemic?
Man, writing that shit. Sometimes I wake up and just write, or like going to the studio. That’s what I really be on.
When you’re in the studio do you ever freestyle your verses or do you write most of them?
Sometimes I write in a studio too. Sometimes A Lau will make a beat from scratch and I’ll start writing from there.
What’s something that you’re looking forward to right now?
Looking forward to the things thats going to come. I’m going harder. That’s what I’m focused on right now. Go harder. Do more than I did.