T-Rock – Untold Truth
Words and Interview By: Tyrone Davis
DJ Paul (of Three 6 Mafia) was our cover story artist in issue #24. Growing up a fan of the group and all of it’s affiliates, I asked him questions about specific members of the group that had left the label years prior. When asked about Atlanta’s T-Rock, DJ Paul had a few words that weren’t too positive. Although I didn’t feel like he said what he said with any malicious intent, I can see how anyone reading the interview would feel otherwise. The interview was done a few weeks prior to Lord Infamous passing away in which T-Rock made a Facebook post about Lord Infamous, who he had maintained a friendship with even after him leaving the label. Based on the history between T-Rock and DJ Paul, I reached out to T-Rock in hopes that they would squash the beef, especially after losing Lord Infamous and realize that life is too short to hold on to the negative. We didn’t get a chance to speak with T-Rock until some time later, after he heard about Paul’s interview. Check out our exchange below. Also, to be brought up to speed, read our interview with DJ Paul, here.
What’s going on, bro?
What’s good, fam?
I’m kind of shocked but not really, because I figured it was coming (you reaching out due to your response about DJ Paul).
Thanks for reaching out the first go round. I’m just getting the info, honestly. It doesn’t surprise me, you know. As far as the DJ Paul situation, I can’t say I would really want to be my best friend (if I were him) or anything like that. It is an old situation. If I could do it all over again, I probably still would have left the label but I wouldn’t have done diss records because I did learn a lot from DJ Paul and Juicy J. I’m glad to have been up under that wing. This is not to create any beef or foolishness or anything like that. On the flip side, some of what he had said was false. That (altercation at the club) didn’t go down like that. I don’t really know those cats. We knew of each other. I never expected them to back me. I had more people than he said but they weren’t my squad (the Atl rappers). I was actually there on a paid show with a rapper because I was doing so many cameos at that time under the radar. I didn’t really know what my situation with Three 6 Mafia was at the time because I wasn’t the business man that I am now. I really was just trying to work and I know they weren’t trying to let me at the time under the circumstances. I didn’t even know they were going to be at the show.
A lot of the guys that I was with flipped out. It’s 10 years old and I’m far from that situation. For him to say everything he said….I’m not mad at him but I just want to get everything out in the open. You can speak highly of these guys, but I am that one guy……put it like this, everybody got problems with everybody within that group. You listen to the interviews, even Gangsta Boo said, “Well, we all did shit.” With that being said, I’m the only guy he can’t squash it with. He spoke highly of everybody and made it a point to speak down on me. I’m not mad about it. I’m glad he can get it out in the open because I got mine out in the open 10 years ago. One thing that he said was right was that it was a lot of misunderstanding and certain shit was blown out of proportion. Every time somebody approaches me about Three 6 Mafia, if I don’t have shit good to say, I don’t say shit at all. The day I stopped dissing Three 6 Mafia and stopped focusing on everybody that I felt like did me wrong and started channeling my energy to another level is when everything started coming together for me. I’m not super religious, but it was God.
As a fan and not choosing sides, I think you guys should be at a point where you could squash the beef or at least be able to agree to disagree.
I’m going to be completely honest and all the way vocal about the shit. Only the people in the camp will know this. DJ Paul and Juicy J put the shit together. You got Paul’s rappers and Juicy’s rappers. It’s all still one click, but they were both bosses of a mutual status and they each brought in rappers. I’m not going to sit here and say who is who, but I was one of Juicy’s rappers. Juicy J got my tape from MC Mac and said, “I want to sign T-Rock.” so he recruited me. He was really more focused on my project. I’m not mad at DJ Paul for nothing he said and I don’t expect him to fuck with me on no music. The last time Juicy J was asked about T-Rock in an interview, he said he’d shake my hand. Juicy J is on the same level of thinking that I am. If it ain’t no good shit, I ain’t saying the shit. I’m beyond it and hopefully one day DJ Paul will feel like he’s beyond it because I’m always here, but I have to do me. I never had any intentions to work on the Mafia 6ix project but Lord Infamous was my partner. Lord Infamous was fucking with me on the music. We got albums together. We had a group called, “Blood Money” with me, him, and 2-Tone. I don’t know where everybody stands when it comes to T-Rock but Gangsta Boo rocked the stage with us at the Blood Money album release party. Skinny Pimp and Lil Wyte rocked the stage with us. Gangsta Blac was there so you know, we can all get money together. I will admit I wouldn’t have dissed niggas, on some real shit. I can’t change it but now, I can salute them. We got money together and both of them niggas know they got more money off of the shit than me so why even harbor animosity? Now, I’m getting my own money without them but If I had never gotten with them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It’s a domino effect to everything.
Let’s talk about how you got started.
Around 11 years old, I realized I wanted to rap. My mama used to buy me karaoke machines and I ran through them, one by one. I broke them all. I was making karaoke tapes. I didn’t have a studio. I was bumping my karaoke tapes, freestyling, giving people the business, letting them know what I could do. I had been all over the city. We’d go to malls and just bust. We’d see anybody famous and approach them like, “Listen to my rap” type shit. I finally ran into one of my classmates. She was a triplet. Her and her brother had a class with me, but the 3rd brother was a producer and he went Douglas High School. We went to Banniker. They suggested we hook up. I rapped for him over the phone and from that point on, he started making tracks for me. The Producer’s name is 7 8 Styles. We came up with this cut called, “Prosperity Over Poverty”. Odd 1 (of Area 51) and I was mobbing like a group but we were both solo artists and we both rapped on each other’s demo tapes. I put one of his solo songs on my demo and vise versa. My cousin T-Luv (the guy that DJ Paul was poppin the police shit about….We got a movie coming out about that) gave my tape to MC Mac who had the connect with Three 6 Mafia during the time they was trying to get the Kaze group jumping. He gave Juicy J the tape and Juicy was like, “Tell T-Rock I want to sign him.” I was in 10th grade at the time. I still remember the day. I was like, “Aw, Shit!” I jumped in the air like, “Fuck yea, I got a record deal!” His exact words were, “Juicy wants to sign you, mayne!” It went from there so going into my 11th grade year, I caught a plane to Memphis, met them in person, rapped for them, and the rest is history. I’m not going to say Paul didn’t play a part. Juicy recruited me, but when I got to the studio, Juicy wasn’t there. Paul was there. So, I rapped for Paul and he was like, “I’m fucking with it” and he put me in the studio right then.
You’ve put out quite a few projects over the years. How many have you released to date?
Honestly, I’ve lost count. I will say as far as nationwide projects, I have about 11 albums out to date. I drop underground tapes though. Even before I met Three 6 Mafia, we were selling underground tapes so I have tons of those and projects with different artists I put out. Like with all the Area 51 members.
You have a distinct style. Where do you get your inspiration?
I’m what you call, “a student of the business”. I study tons of rappers. I can pick a rapper’s style apart. That’s a god given gift. I’m not saying I can be better than a guy at his style, but I am an absorber. If there is a good artist, and I listen to them enough, I’m going to acquire all of the good of that style. I’m not going to bite his style, but I can keep evolving from it and at the same time, not sound like anybody. When I say I study, I study Old School and New School. If I was a dancer or a painter or whatever and a nigga come out with some new moves, you better study him. You can’t look at these young guys like you’re sonning them, because they may son you one day.
Considering the type of music that’s coming out of Atlanta, how do you fit in?
In the early days it was hard because I was trying to figure out where the music itself was going. You have artists who make great club music and you have artists who make great albums. Then, you have artists who do both. I felt like I had to find my medium. You can have a great record. The music can be good, the lyrics can be good, and nothing be wrong but If the DJ can’t fit it in the mix, he won’t play your record. I make great albums so I never try to cater my records to the club. I try to make something that will fit in the tempo of the club but I never try to make my records for the club because you’ll get lost in the sauce. It’s almost like a disco era.
Have you ever thought about doing any voice work/acting? I always say, “T-Rock could have been a dope ass Transformer”.
You mean like the movie? Lololol, Aw man, thanks for the love! You know what? When we get off, I’m going to call my auntie and my momma. That’s their favorite movie. When I tell them what you said, they’re going to be like “What!?!?!” Lol, straight up. I would love to do something like that. I’m already starting this company called, “Rock Solid Films”. I have a head director and we’re looking for models, comedians, aspiring actors/actresses. We’re even offering a hosting job because I have a tv show in the works and I’m working on a couple of movie scripts. I’m going to be acting in one of our first movies called, “Body Count”. We’re going to have a soundtrack with it that A lot of my music will be featured on. I got a song on there with Lord Infamous, Krayzie Bone, and E-Dub on there. It’s E-Dub’s song. A lot of sick shit is on there. It’s real authentic. We’re putting a lot of stuff in motion.
Keeping busy. I had bought “Rock Solid/4:20”, “Conspiracy Theory”, and “The Mr. Washington Story” but after awhile, it was hard to keep up.
That’s what we do because at the end of the day, independent artists mainly get paid off of catalog. When I left Three 6 Mafia, I was still learning the business. I was still getting sonned out here. It get’s to a point where you have to put out extra records to make extra revenue. The beauty of it is once you sit back and do what’s right with your revenue and you can keep your ball rolling, you’ll see your catalog pay off. Independent artists get paid off catalogs, not singles like how major labels push. Push your single, of course but keep your catalog rolling. You structure your situation where you can have a solo album, 1 or 2 rap groups, maybe three. It’s limitless. Maybe find some artists you can put out under your wing. It wins for me. It helps.
Tell us a little bit about the new deal.
It was very lucrative and the deal I had been praying for all these years. It fell into my lap. I signed with INgrooves/Universal. For those who don’t know, Universal bought into INgrooves and INgrooves had bought out Fontana distribution. I’m on the same distribution company with Tech N9ne, the Rap-A-Lots, and so on. A lot of big independent names, you know? I mean, they were even distributing dolly Parton, I was peeping lol. So, it’s big business. What they did was offer me an 80/20 split. I get 80% of all of my royalties and I get to use their record channels to sale my music. It was funny because years ago, when I dropped the “Mr. Washington Story” and went to Fontana, they said they wanted to see if I could still pull the numbers I did when I dropped “Conspiracy Theory”, “Def Con”, etc. I had took about a year and a half off to get my business in order. I was working, recording “4:20/Reincarnated” and “Da Kush” kinda at the same time. So, what happens is I put the records out under Select-O-Hits, who had been nurturing Three 6 Mafia’s records all this time. We still had the same distribution company. They put out the DJ Paul solo tape and even the Mafia 6ix project, the hard cases. So, Universal stepped up and offered me the same deal I had been getting from my independent distributors. The same people who denied me years ago are the same people giving it to me now. It’s a blessing. It’s a new name, but its the same people. I’m thankful. I’m wishing everybody blessings. I’m thankful I worked with DJ Paul. DJ Paul, Lord Infamous, Project Pat, and Juicy J taught me how to do hooks. They taught me how to write songs. I’m a battle rapper turned hit maker. Before I got with them, I knew how to battle. I knew how to bust. I didn’t know how to make songs. They took me to school on that. I wish things had of went differently. I wish I would have done things differently but hell, I can’t change the shit now. So, it is what it is. We have to move forward. The best is happening to me so I can’t do nothing but wish everybody else the same.
Break down “Untold Truth”.
The whole reason for the album was to see if I could put everything out there and squash the beef. With DJ Paul saying what he said in your interview, I had already been hearing some things in the street and small things had been going on with our business situation because we deal with some of the same people. It is the Untold Truth of my story, my career. I’m sure he didn’t know it was my album title, but he basically sold it for me. Personally, I AM the Untold Truth. I’m the only nigga STILL bussing, still selling records. Everybody say I’m legendary but none of the mainstream rappers act like they fuck with me. When they see me in the streets, they all know me but when they get on TV, none of them know me. So, the title fits and I will be talking more about Three 6 Mafia on the album. It’s all positive, nothing negative. I’m not doing no diss records and I’m moving forward. I hope they do the same.
What’s your contact info?
My Facebook and Twitter is Trock420. Thats it. Also, anyone interested in working with Rock Solid Films, send your portfolios to email@example.com. For booking, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate the love.
“Lord Infamous was the only bridge I had in slaying my past demons and beef with Three 6 Mafia. I made a lot of bad decisions in my career in the early days and he gave me another chance to rap with him again when we did our group, “Blood Money” and I featured a lot on his solo albums. Honestly, all I ever wanted to do was squash my beef with Three 6 and Lord Infamous gave me the opportunity to do so..Thank you for forgiving me Ricky Dunnigan a.k.a. Lord Infamous and doing music with the kid. You are a legend in my eyes. I love you big bro and I’m truly hurt right now..Smh.”