Versatility is the key–that’s the personal motto for Long Island, New York, rapper Ruff. An incredibly dynamic rapper with the music business [figuratively] in his blood, he’s studied from the best and is ready to put his best forward with his upcoming release of Walk With Me 2. Having recently scored a win at the Power 105 “I Got The Power” showcase–opening up some great opportunities–we took a few minutes to chat with the young emcee. Check out the interview below–and get familiar with his other stuff before the new project drops.
How did growing up in NYC help develop your love of hip-hop?
Growing up in NYC, Hip-Hop was [the] culture. It guided almost every move I made: the way I spoke, how I dressed, and the things liked. It taught me confidence, charisma, and swag; I knew the words to my favorite songs before I knew my homework. Hip Hop was everything. New York and Hip Hop taught me to create what I love, even if no one’s listening or watching. Lock me in a room alone all day, and the music will never change. I will never change. My music reflects NYC, Long Island, Hip Hop, culture, and me.
How did you get into making music?
Always had a love for music seeing my family (father, cousins) get into music (producing) and the joy and excitement it brought to them, I knew I wanted to create. Started making beats first and found that writing songs–and that challenge–was not only more fun, but it evoked even more of those reactions and feelings out of people.
Your father was involved in music–how did that influence you?
As a poet and producer, my father played a significant role as a teacher to me. As a poet, along with NY hip hop, he taught me that rap is an art form, not just rhyming words together but being smart and witty. He taught me to take pride and treat it like an actual art form, not a hobby. With each line/bar try to evoke an emotion or produce a reaction from the listener. As a producer, my father taught me everything I know. Introducing me to beat making programs, showing me how to use them, explaining the terms, guiding me, then eventually leaving me alone allowing me to learn and grow on my own.
How would you describe your music?
More so than ‘bringing New York Rap back,’ I’m trying to be the new wave/evolution of New York hip-hop. [I’m bringing] the old school boom bap and heavy lyric sculpting mixed with the New York charm, slick talk, style, flow, versatility and some Long Island flash. I chase a feeling with my music never a sound or a trend. I want to evoke a feeling, and it’s a different feeling every time; sometimes I want to dance, so I want to create music for everyone to dance to, at times I wanna hurt feelings, so I create aggressive content. Sometimes I feel hurt, so I express that pain and capture that feeling in the beat and lyrics. Sometimes I start a beat with no emotion and draw the feeling from what the beat is telling me.
You recently took first prize at the Power 105 “I Got the Power” showcase in Brooklyn. How does that motivate you?
Yeah–I performed three records off of the upcoming project, Walk With Me 2. The win was just a stepping stone and confidence builder. It was reassurance that performing the music I love, can hit and receive the same energy and reaction it gives me.
And part of that win is getting a single spun on the station–which is a major look. What record are you going to drop?
It’s between “Warning You” and “In They Place.” “Warning You” is a Hip Hop and 90’s Dancehall collab. High energy smooth dance/wine music. “Warning You” is a gritty, high energy New York anthem.