RetroI$Awesome may only be 21, but the New-York born rapper and producer is well on his way to gaining the recognition that he deserves.
Retro lived in the Big Apple until the age of 2, but considers himself a Jersey boy through and through. Hailing from Plainfield, NJ, Retro was born into the world of Hip-Hop through his father’s musical influence. Upon entering high school Retro crossed paths with aspiring Jersey artists and it was then that he began to realize his own talents. Since the realization, there has been no looking back for Retro. 3 EP’s, 2 SXSW appearances, and hundreds of dope tristate performances later… it is time for the world to know Jersey’s next star, RetroI$Awesome.
Interview by Michelle Locke (@mishtheishh)
GFM: People can clearly see that you’ve been out here in New Jersey grinding but how did you initially get started in music?
R: My dad was a rapper back in his day so I was kind of born into Hip-Hop. The first Hip-Hop song I remember listening to was Keith Murray’s, “The Most Beautifullest Thing In The World.” I remember I just used to vibe out to that! My parents split when I was younger but I remember my dad used to write songs for me and my sister. He used to take us to the studio and we all used to record songs together on the tape decks. When I got older I started writing raps for fun, as a hobby. By high school, I met a lot of people that had home studios which was so weird to me because as a child I didn’t know that you could be an independent artist, I thought you had to be signed to get studio time. But the people I met that were making music were just okay. So, I got my own home studio because I knew I could be just as good if not better.
Where’d your name “RetroI$Awesome” come from?
R: My Freshman year of High school I went by a name that we shall not discuss because it’s just plain embarrassing *laughs*. You know the cool thing at the time was to be gangsta and tough, but by junior year in high school I realized that the name I had didn’t really fit me. I love the 90s; I was all about the skinny pants, windbreakers and big framed glasses so I wanted something that fit that. At first I came up with “Retro Kid” and my signature slogan in all of my songs was “Awesomeee” sort of like Gucci’s, “BURR”. When I turned 18, you know I wasn’t a kid anymore, I became a man so I mixed my slogan and my name which led to “RetroI$Awesome”.
Tell me about your latest project “Avant Garde”
R: I had a lot of fun making it. I wrote and rapped every bar and made every beat on there so it’s pretty much my baby. The sound I was trying get was one that I couldn’t find anywhere else so made every beat myself. I guess I just caught producer fever *laughs*. I’m just trying to make next level Hip-Hop music, music that can be remembered 10 years down the line.
So you’re a Triple Threat, a rapper, writer and producer. What was your experience at SXSW like being surrounded by so many other talented individuals?
R: This year was my second time going down and it has been a great experience each time. I advise every rapper on the come up to go out there, it was crazy. Last year I actually opened up for Future for MikeWill which was amazing because I am such a huge fan of them both. This year I went out with my management team and DJ and we just went around performing and networking like crazy. It was a “Grindcation” for me; you know a grind and a vacation in one. Everyone had really good vibes down south and I have been considering traveling down to ATL to work on my music further.
Which artists have served as your biggest inspirations?
Who are you currently listening to?
R: Future, Travis Scott, Young Thug, Post Malone, Houston’s Maxo Kream, Playboi Carti, and fellow Jersey artists Retch and Da$h hailing from Hackensack, NJ. Surprisingly I don’t listen to my own music beyond the first week that it drops. I’m just too focused on working on new music every day.
Now Time For Some Fun…
MJ or Lebron?
Biggie or 2Pac?
Burger King or McDonalds?
R: Burger King
Since you’re a 90s baby like me you know we had all of the good TV shows. What was your favorite 90s TV show?
R: That’s a tough one! First place would have to go to Classic SpongeBob; nobody can forget Krusty Krab Pizza or Chocolate! Second place would have to go to the Rugrats.
Your Ultimate Celebrity WCW Award goes tooooo…
R: Alicia Keys, shout out to my man Swizzy even though he beat me to it before I even had a chance.
Whose album are you more excited for, Future or Frank Ocean?
If you could pick any artist, dead or alive, to do a collab with who would it be?
R: It’s gonna have to be HOV, once you have a Hov collab you can do anything!
Listen To RetroI$Awesome’s Latest EP “Avant Garde”:
Watch RetroI$Awesome’s Video for Hit Single ‘Stunt’:
RetroI$Awesome’s Upcoming Show Dates:
7/11 – Fireboyz Backyard Bonanza 183 Hamilton St New Brunswick, NJ
7/16 – Voltage Lounge Philadelphia, PA
7/18 – 2 Vida Summer Arts Festival Lakewood, NJ
7/18 – Club Eden Roselle, NJ