Music

Rochester: Elevation of Canadian Hip-Hop

The Foundation Creative Group’s first artist is a young, talented emcee by the name of Rochester, aka Juice. In his own words Rochester is “who I’ve been, who I am, and who I’m gonna be until the day that I’m gone. Rochester is my family name. People gon’ change around Rochester, but Rochester ain’t never gon’ change.”

Rochester grew up in the Islington/Finch area of Toronto where he honed his rhyming skills to much fan fare. In 2002, he won the FLOW 93.5 Star Search competition with his original song Young Luv and with that the buzz was created and a video soon followed, which increased his popularity. Since then, he became the face of Athlete’s World Canada’s, penned the theme song for “Basketball City” on Rogers Sportsnet and with his partners penned the winning track to Universal Music Canada’s “My Block” remix contest. On June 21, Rochester’s debut solo album, A New Day will hit stores. We had a chance to talk to him before his schedule became too busy.

BBM: First off, tell me about the new album, A New Day?
JUICE: IT’S CRAZY! This album is going to have a lot of people thinking differently about Canadian Hip Hop.

BBM: What can people expect from the album? What should people who may have never heard your tracks before expect from Juice?
JUICE: I put my heart and soul into this album. It’s very deep and it’s what we like to call “Quality Music.” Expect to hear rap at its core essence. A lot of rappers nowadays have this “same sh*t, different toilet” type of vibe. I don’t try to be something I’m not. I rap about what people aren’t used to hearing.

BBM: Let’s talk about three specific tracks, what is the concept behind – “The Awakening”, “Priceless”, and “The Prayer”?

JUICE: “The Awakening” is a conversation with myself, dealing with who I was and who I want to become, and do I have enough confidence to actually go out there and do it. It’s the last track on the album but it’s the genesis for my whole career. “Priceless” is about showing men how important women should be in their lives by showing women how strong they really are because they are the foundation. “The Prayer” is one of my personal favorites because every time I hear it or play it for someone, it’s like saying thank you God for blessing me with the talent of rap. Because I don’t think I deserve it, but He thinks I do and because of that I work really hard at it everyday.

BBM: After the strong buzz from your first album you continued to produce by winning both the Flow 93.5 and the Universal remix contest. What made you decide to sign with Maple Music? And what did they offer that the other labels did not?

JUICE: They offered me the freedom to control how I wanted things done, which is very hard to find in a label these days. They’re not an urban label but they know how to sell records, and we’re…well urban. So it’s more like a partnership.

‘‘I PUT MY HEART AND SOUL INTO THIS ALBUM. IT’S VERY DEEP AND IT’S WHAT WE LIKE TO CALL “QUALITY MUSIC.” EXPECT TO HEAR RAP AT ITS CORE ESSENCE.’’

BBM: Can you tell us who the Foundation Creative Group is and what they stand for?

JUICE:The Foundation is basically a collective of individuals working towards the advancement of Canadian Hip Hop. It sounds like a big task but that’s because it is. And we’re doing it. Foundation consists of producers “Tone Mason Inc.” (Mellenius, Don D. and Aloysius Brown), Street Level Imaging (Shane Stirling), World Rydah Studios (Blaow Mezziah) and Public Management (Gavin Sheppard and Anthony Starks), and finally myself, Mhedikc, Drex Inkredible and Jenni Denim as affiliated artists. It’s more of a network/collective striving to make the best music and product possible than it is any sort of formal company.

BBM: If you were the Raptors GM what changes would you make to the current team?

JUICE: I would trade everyone except Jalen Rose, Mo Pete and Chris Bosh…EVERYONE!

BBM: Can you tell us your thoughts on the Vince Carter trade and what it did to the core Raptors fans?
JUICE: I’m glad VC left but I don’t see any number one draft pick helping this team out next year.

BBM: What else should we look out for with Rochester’s name in 2005?
JUICE: Look out for the official New Era Rochester hats and Varsity Team Jackets, and look out for the Rising Son album, that joint is on fyah!

BBM: Any last words or shout outs?
JUICE: June 21st, spread the word ya’ll “A New Day” is coming!

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