Emilio Rojas has taken his music in a new direction, and he doesn’t care what you think about it. The 30-year-old New York-based emcee is preparing to unleash his next body of work, which reflects the socially-conscious direction he’s chosen for his music. The title of his new EP L.I.F.E. has its own meaning, but Rojas says that people can create their own interpretations.
“It’s an acronym and you can make the letters stand for whatever the fuck you want,” said Rojas. “It could be anything because life is what you make it.”
The EP will be his first retail-only project that strays away from the mainstream sound that he was trying to emulate for years. With appearances from Slaughterhouse rappers Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, and indie rapper Chris Webby, you can expect the unexpected from Rojas, who’s dead set on rapping about the various subjects he’s passionate about.
On “Imagine That”
“Imagine That” is produced by Audio Jones with some additional production by my homie Parks. It features the homie Devo D on the hook. It is an homage to the classic Nas and Lauryn Hill record “If I Ruled The World.” That record is almost 20 years old. So I’ve been looking at the world and there’s so much going on that got people dying every other week. I feel like there’s a new victim of unnecessary police force and violence. We got a situation where we’re not able to sustain ourselves ecologically. We’ve got a pandemic of disease and ignorance and all sorts of things that are just sweeping the world.
There seems to be a general sense of apathy and people just aren’t giving a fuck. I’ve always been on the conscious side of things when it comes to my artistry. So I decided it was time for me to go back to that because I was straying for a little bit. But it wasn’t so much straying it was me wanting to focus on other things because sometimes I want to talk about fucking with chicks and turning up but it’s not time for that. I felt compelled to talk about the shit that’s going on and nobody else is.
How “Nada” with Joell Ortiz came to be.
It’s crazy. When we were working on “Nada,” it was originally a freestyle to that [Hit-Boy and] Audio Push record “Grindin’ All My Life.” I was like “Oh this shit is hard.” I was looking for beats and my boy sent me over a batch and I was like “This is the one.” So we was with one of my boys in Washington Heights uptown, we were chillin’ outside and he goes “Yo, Joell would murder this shit.” So I was like “I gotta get it to Joell.”
So I sent the record over to Joell and he sent it back and it was crazy. Then we shot the video and it came out dope. I think it’s a very relatable record. “My momma worked double shifts and she had three jobs.” Who doesn’t relate to that? It’s all relative. I’m sure there are tons of people who were born with more opportunities than a lot of other people. There are always times when you feel like your back is against the wall. And if you’ve never had your back against the wall, that’s unfortunate because you never really learned about yourself.
On “The Break-Up” for his fans.
We put out a record called “The Break-Up.” It’s produced by !llmind. It’s actually apart of a project me and Ill-Mind are doing together. It’s going to come out after this EP I’m about to drop. But it’s more of my life story and I was dealing with a dysfunctional ass situation. So everything in “The Break-Up” is true. “I’ve been losing sleep to my anxiety, The world is full of cretins and I’m losing friends to my sobriety, No one’s who they seem. My girl just spent the whole night crying for me. She swear to god I cheat so every time I step outside the room she beg me not to leave. I know relationships need trust and we don’t got enough. You finding friends, I’m finding alibis in the club.” Like every time I would go out I’d have to find someone that could vouch for me that I was behaving myself. It was just a super dysfunctional relationship and a lot of people have been in it. It’s hard to deal with somebody like that in my industry.
On his upcoming L.I.F.E. EP
I’m about to put out an EP called L.I.F.E. It’s an acronym and you can make the letters stand for whatever the fuck you want. Loyalty Isn’t For Everybody, Love Isn’t For Everyone or Love Is Fucking Everything.. it could be anything because life is what you make it. Seven Records. I got Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Chris Webby, Emanny, Devo D. These are records that my team and I have been waiting to pull the trigger on. They’re special records like me and Emanny a record called “No Good” that’s incredible. It’s awesome. It’s just dope music. It’s executively produced by Audio Jones. He did the “Imagine That” record and he’s doing a lot more stand-out records lately. He’s super fucking awesome and he’s from Miami.
Which track is the stand-out record?
I feel like this is a collection of seven stand-out records. We got “Nada” on it which is.. “Nada” reacted crazy. People love that record. I got “Imagine That” on there obviously that’s reacting right now. Like I said, the record with Emanny is fucking awesome. It’s hard to predict what people are going to react to. I don’t know. I like all the music. I feel like this is my first project where I’m not trying to fit in some sort of radio mold. I said “fuck it” because the industry, for a long time was trying to tell me how to behave and was trying to dictate my behavior and tell me to follow certain trends. Foolishly I would listen. But I’m noticing much more success and a life full of satisfaction personally when I do what I can do best. I believe in talking about things that are real life and impact people. There’s not a lot of room for that when you want to sell vodka and shit. So I just said fuck it. I threw up my hands and I do what I’m good at which is talking about shit people fuck with.
Is this the follow-up to the last mixtape Zero Fucks Given?
It’s my first retail-only project. It’s not the official follow-up to ZFG. ZFG still has a couple of records that was me like trying to deliver what people wanted. But fuck that, I’m going to just give you what I believe in.