Rising rapper Al Rocco on the scene from Shanghai!
PMF loves supporting upcoming Chinese names that bring Chinese culture to the international landscape. Cantonese/Taiwanese rapper and songwriter Al Rocco is doing just that – making a name for himself on the Asian and international music scene, ripping up clubs and music venues with his unique Chinese and English lyrics, representing China the whole way.
Age 24, Al Rocco was raised with mixed cultural influences from Hong Kong and Taiwan to the United Kingdom and Los Angeles. He is now based in Shanghai, China, where his new tracks spread his “Shanghai state of mind”. Thanks to his international upbringing and cultural immersion, Al Rocco is trilingual – English, Cantonese, and Mandarin – and he uses all three languages in his music.
From a young age while exploring the music scene in Asia and internationally, Al Rocco found inspiration in hip hop culture and calls hip hop his “weapon”. He has been rapping and recording for several years, and recently his music has gained international attention with his tracks featured on mega superstar 2Chainz’s In My Hood Mixtape, 2012 top ten video game Sleeping Dogs, and performances opening for DMC Champion DJ-QBert and NBA star Yao Ming. Al Rocco says that for him, “the sky is no limit”.
PMF is addicted to Al Rocco’s recent track in celebration of Chinese New Year, Chinaman. Click the link to hear the song! (WARNING: EXPLICIT CONTENT)
Check out our exclusive interview with the rising star:
PMF: AL ROCCO! First, where did you get this name? It doesn’t sound Chinese, or English. What’s up with that?
Al Rocco: Whats good! I get asked that quite a lot. Rocco originally came from the Brooklyn roots of an Italian man who raised me. I wanted to represent myself in a way that’s true and real to my life, so I took it as if it was my official last name. Even though we’re not blood related, we’re family and it’s all love!
PMF: Do you feel more Chinese or Western?
Al Rocco: Confusing enough, I’ve always felt I was raised as an international dude. Chinese nor American, it has always been an in-between culture for me. Growing up with the best of both worlds however, I still represent my deeper roots for my city Hong Kong.
PMF: What is a normal day in your life like?
Al Rocco: You gotta come kick it with a homie to know what it is really like. But most of the time, we’ll be hustling hard for a vision that we love and believe in so much that time seems to just stop. Grind mode Monday to Sunday all day around the clock, and I love it.
PMF: Musically, which artists inspire you?
Al Rocco: J. Bo, Khaki, Ray Rok, Jae Rich, B Rok, Big Sammy, Dough Boy, R-Productions, Floyd Cheung, LMF, Tupac, Notorious BIG, Nas, Method Man, WuTangClan, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Dre, NWA, Tribe Called Quest, Busta Rhymes, ASAP Rocky, Drake, Tyga, Wiz Khalifa, Juelz Santana, Kirko Bangz, 2 Chainz, The Weekend, Decipher, Flowsik, Snacky Chan, Dumbfoundead, Toestah, Lyricks, Manifest, Thai, Frank Sinatra, Billie Paul, Lousie Armstrong, Jacky Cheung.. Aw, we could be here all day!
PMF: Where do you find inspiration for your lyrics?
Al Rocco: I like to let the music choose me and combine it with my own experiences to tell a story. Use the power of our imaginations!
PMF: You have some tracks in Chinese and some in English. How do you decide what to rap in which language?
Al Rocco: I prefer to create music the way I feel it and English will always be my main choice to use. However, if there is a project that involves chinese rap, I won’t hesitate to reach out of my comfort range, ’cause I love a challenge.
PMF: Who are your fans? Chinese? Americans?
Al Rocco: We’ve been getting viewed by fans all over the world and according to our online status we’re worldwide from Hong Kong, USA, UK, Canada, China, Italy, Germany, Brazil, Cambodia, Australia, South Korea, Philippines, Thailand, France, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Nigeria, South Africa and Switzerland, just to name the top few on the list.
PMF: What message are you trying to send with your music?
Al Rocco: To pursue your love in life to do what you love to do and leave your mark in this world, living life like no tomorrow.
Check out more of Al Rocco’s work at his website.
“这是中国 !” Zhè shì zhōngguó! This is China!