Interview – Rob Hodge
How did your music career start?
It started when I was in middle school, & my whole squad we was deep in hip hop…you know break dancing , pop locking & battling. So eventually me & my man Will started battling dudes & killing them from school to around the way on the block around North Philly. As I got older I got into alot of Talent shows ..which I never lost any I've been in, did some T.V. commercials, did shows with alot of local Philly artist like E.S.T. & 3 X Dope, Cool C & Steady B etc. From there it's just been a long journey from almost inking a deal in 1992 with Columbia Records. I was up there when Wyclef & the Fugees got they jump off. I was in the room looking at the rough edits for Nas's debut video "Halftime" with Wyclef & Pras and all them dudes. Then I moved on into my life to where I was born again in 1994 , hooked up with T.R.U.T.H. & T-wyse to form a ill gospel super group called "The Salvation Army" Did a couple of years with them & labored with Cross Movement too, it was a good experience for me and a great stepping stone into my life of ministry. Since then I've been back in the streets & been through alot of heart aches & pain which has caused me to grow as a man & artist for God even more. I feel like I'm unstoppable now, God took me through my Egypt & the world has no idea what's in store for them. I've paid some dues fam. I'm ready now.
How did you come up with "Rob Hodge"?
That's my birth name. I had many names as a emcee in my life time. But I decided to go with Rob Hodge because every thing I give in my music is transparent. You get me raw & uncut all day 24/7. Rob Hodge.
What do you want to achieve with your 2 mixtapes?
Basically with these 2 mixtapes I'm just teasing every body. This is just the salad & the bread sticks (Laughs) The appetizer before the full course meal..which is the album "Born King" with Beatmart/Warner Bros. in the fall. I want the buzz to be so high off these mixtapes..that when the official album drops in stores with all new material..people will just run out & grip a dozen copies. But these mixtapes is real sick. I got around 40 songs on these joints between Vol.1 & Vol.2 & they all scorching hot. I got a joint with 2 PAC & Jimmy Hendrix that has dudes in the secular industry scratching their heads…like Wow, where this dude come from? I wanna really impact this world with the will of God & bring men to Christ by the principles of his Word. Also just to give people instructions on how to live. Most cats really don't know how to live a simple basic life with out destroying them selves. Even the church & most if it's members is the most self -destructive people on the planet. I feel God is giving me words to speak to man & I put them in laymen terms so they can hear me clearly & yet still be very attractive & entertaining as well.
Who and what inspired you for your lyrics?
The Word of God is my basis on the content of my rhymes. Also living in the gutter..you see a lot of pain & agony. For example when people are dieing 2 doors from you getting shot in they back & fiends over dosing off of drugs next door getting carried out in body bags..I mean reality is a good part of what I do & I speak medicine into the sickness of this world. Most of all this is not a game. Every thing you hear me spit is what I live. That is what makes me so effective. Life style. It's not hard to be creative..because it's in me from the pain & struggle . Like I said before, I rarely write rhymes any more. I go to the lab/studio, throw the beat on & let's go. It's not hard when you draw from within & let it out. You know for example how when a gangsta rapper gets locked up for the same thing he rhymes about, it makes him so much more attractive, like whoa this dude is really real(Laughs) When I rhyme about fighting to live & walking in a life for God..that's not a joke fam. That's me. It's not a gimmick. I see a lot of Gospel & HHH artist that's performers on & off stage. They perform their Christianity so they can look & sound like a Christian. Fam, listen.. some times you may hear or see some thing from me on the street or off stage & say yo! that's not cool & bring to my attention. I'm not the type of dude that will lie for the sake of my reputation, I call a spade a spade. It is what it is. I try to "BE" a man of God instead of acting like one. The bible say "BE" holy for I am holy, not act holy for I am holy (Laughs). We gotta "BE" first & the rest will take care it self, you feel me.
What's your favorite song in your mixtapes?
Hmm.. I can't say. There's so much heat on them. I love them all. They all my babies & I love them the same. These mixtapes is classics. People will be playing them for years to come. The production is sick to by he way, shout out to my squad of Producers; Kid Classic,Energy,Saint Man, J-Rippa (Holyhitmakerz), The Architect,Platinum Tips,Vland,4sightsounds, & Of course myself I'm always behind the boards. We about to take the world by storm.
Who are the guest appearances on the mixtapes?
Man…I got the cream of the crop. The all stars came out to play with the big dog on these(Laughs). Let's see… We got Japhia Life, Knine, T-wyse, T.K. ,S.O.G., K-Drama, Zion, Myxtique, Raw Word,Gwen Stefani,Freddie Jackson,Tupac Shakur, Jimmy Hendrix & Phil Collins. It's nasty.
What are your goals for this year of 2005?
Well…My man goal this year is to impact. I'm talking impact like the movie "Independence day". I wanna drop records that will shake up the industry & cause the world to change for the better. Plus also to give the youth better quality hip hop & music in general. Yes what I do is serious & ministry ..but at the same time I wanna entertain & give dudes a real authentic alternative to secular cats that's running the air waves. My squad & my self can go toe to toe with any body out there right now in the secular..I mean any body. I'm talking in terms of talent, production, creativity & skill as a complete artist. The world don't wanna get in the ring & box with any of us from Wisemen/Arms Out…(Laughs) That's just being on the real tip. We are talented & we feel that it's time for God's people to have a legitimate choice as an alternative for music & not have to go & sneak a 50 cent or Nas CD in the CD deck. I've heard cats tell me..when they play out stuff their pastor's think it's secular music until they hear what's in the content. So I'm just excited for God's people who will have some soldiers in the battle field fighting for them. Word up.
What artists have you already worked and performed with?
Well..I performed with hmm.. Let's see… Wu-tang Clan, Wyclef Jean, The Roots,The Fugees, Kirk Franklin, Tye Tribbett & GA, James Hall Worship & Praise, Donald Lawrence, Hezekiah Walker and too many other I can't remember off the top right now.
As of working with..Of course DA T.R.U.T.H. ,T-wyse, Cross movement, Japhia Life etc. The list goes on…Alot of street cats you would never know as well.
What artist do you want to work with?
Luke & 2 live crew…sike nah I'm playing (Laughs).
Ahh..Probably Lauryn Hill, Kirk Franklin, Shirley Cesar,Jamie Foxx..actually we are in talks with him & his new label as well. That's about it. It's not too may cats that really move me out there. My squad is really deep & talented enough. I'm always looking for new talent too. If any body out there in the Philly area that's talented & anointed..holla at me, I'll definately listen.
What was the best thing that happened in your music career?
Finding Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior. It made me into a better man & all around artist .
Are you working on any projects (present and future)?
Well.. The official album is being worked on & will be done soon. That should be dropping late summer early fall. I'm in the studio grinding fam. It's gonna be real special. On Production I brought out the A team for this one….I got: "Saint Man ( Hell's Diary The Healing L.P. ),Todd Collins (Grits, KJ-52), Kevin Aurthor (Produced CM's Holy Culture & Phanatik's Incredible walk), J-Rippa of The Holy Hit Makerz , Kid Classic (Prequels Vol.1 & Vol.2), The Architect (From Pages of Life E.P.) , One of Philly's hottest new producers "Nahieem (This Kid is Sick), Firstborn from Houston, Vland from St. Louis who did a monster banger on the album that's real street & also worked with(This'l & Flame). Of course I had my hand in the album as well.. I can't tell you the guest apperances…I'll let that be a surprise when the album drops..it's gonna be history in the making, Trust me.
Other than the album. We got "Kings Of The East" mixtape Part 2 The Sequel (The Return Of The Kings) dropping this Summer with DJ Sean Blu. That will have the summer on lock in the streets, I guarantee. Also I'm working on T.K.'s , S.O.G. & Japhia Life's projects as we speak. So it's getting real baby. Last but not least, The official tour will kick off in a month. Japhia Life & Myself will headline a major tour called "New Day In Hip Hop: The Love & Life Tour 2005". It's going to be insane. Coming to a city near you. If you want the tour to hit your city give us a holla. You can hit up my booking agent. He's Tonex's booking agent as well. His info is:
Chad Horton: Kulture Entertainment
c/o Chad Horton
2759 Lemon Grove Avenue
Lemon Grove, CA 91945
Give him a call or email & will make it happen. This is the Tour of the year. Don't miss out.
How is it to be with Beatmart?
It's great. Todd & myself have a great relationship & it's going to be a huge year for his career & mines as well. No doubt.
How did you hook up with Beatmart?
Word of mouth. Japhia was doing alot of work with them in the spring & Todd & I kept in contact. Then Todd came to me one day & said he wanted to make something go down & said he was a big fan of my music..& we took it from there. Now together we about to make hip hop history this fall ,world wide..stay tuned.
If you had to do another genre of music, what will it be and why?
Country music. I know you may think I'm crazy but it resembles the most of what I do. Not that I like Country music or any thing..but the principles of Country is telling their stories of their life & putting it into music. You may hear one of them dudes crying about how his girl left him or you might hear him telling you how broke he is & has no money in his pocket. I like music that's honest. That's what my music is ..honest, transparent & authentic.
How did you accept Jesus in your life?
I found God at a time in my life when I was completely searching for answers. I was practicing Islam at the time & was very anti-Christan. Then one day I decided to have Jesus Christ as my God along with Allah. I was still worshiping Allah at the time & had Jesus for some fire insurance(Laughs). I figured I can still have Allah as my God & If I die just in case I'm wrong,,Jesus can save my soul..I was real confused. It came to a point of a dream I had one night. Where My buddy & myself was in the middle of the street & the rapture took place..so bodies is being snatched up every where, cars was crashing & I'm telling him to get ready..like we could be next to get snatched cause every body else was. So all of a sudden..I appear in this dark & cold stair well. As I'm climbing the steps getting closer to the top, I feel a warm feeling & I start seeing light..alot of light. It started feeling real good ..as the closer I got towards the top of the stair well. But at the top there was a door..now mind you I was not into the bible like that at this time of my life and did not know scripture at all & was still in the Koran deeply. So any way…as I got to that door…It was a figure at the door that was stopping me from getting into that light I was feeling. So I started crying & weeping. The figure told me that I was dirty as filthy rags & that I can not pass into that door because of my unrighteousness. So when I woke up..I was pissed!! I'm saying to myself I made Jesus my God & I still get rejected. I went on a tirade bashing every Christan I met…until on day I was reading a tract this woman gave me on the sub way that said Jesus Christ is the Savior for man kind. I've never heard that before in my life..I've heard of church before but not salvation. After that 2 weeks passed by & I was moved to bend down at my bed side & I gave my life & soul to Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior & I've been in love with him ever since. The funny thing was after I got saved..I read scripture that said "I am the door, no man gets to the Father, but by me" & another scripture that read "Your sins is a filthy rags"..I was stunned & amazed. When I had that dream, I never knew of these scriptures at all.. True story. No doubt. What's your favorite?
Food: Cheese Steaks..I'm from North Philly baby.
Movie: Coming To America
Sport: Foot Ball..The Eagles will be back better than ever!
Rapper: The 1988 KRS-ONE BDP tied with " A Tribe Called Quest"
Producer: Kid Classic
State: P.A. all day..
Music: Hip Hop
Bible verse: Ecclesiastes 12:13
Where can we buy your 2 mixtapes? http://www.dasouth.com/bus-shop/ , hiphopfor thesoul.com & many other hip hop sites that sells merchandise & Cd's. Secular sites will have it as well.
Any last words?
Yeah make sure y'all visit http://myspace.com/robhodge for the latest info & news on Rob Hodge. The official site will be up soon under robhodge.com. Go & get them mixtapes & when the album drops in stores go & cop 3 of them..one for the crib, the car & one to keep in your classic collection. God's people stand up…It's our time. North Philly keep ya head up..the murder rate in Philadelphia is reaching a all time high over the past few weeks…People is getting killed left & right. Pray for me & my squad as we impact this world. The time is now. I'm out..I gotta go get some grub..that's food if y'all don't know. Be easy. One.