years ago, I spoke to Rosco P. Coldchain on a rushed Arista Records
press day. Advance copies of the album were mailed, The Clipse/N.E.R.D.
buzz was still white-hot, and the North Philadelphia MC appeared that
he was a walk-on starter with Star Trak, having only a few short months
barring him from stardom. Those months proved devastatingly
crucial. Arista folded, while Rosco caught two gun charges after
reportedly laying somebody out on a Las Vegas casino floor. With the
resulting conviction, its only now that Rosco can catch his breath,
again a free man, with a re-spelled name and an album ready.
On a muggy West Philadelphia afternoon, Rosco, covered in non-descript
Ice Cream apparel, welcomes AllHipHop.com to a pre-production studio
overlooking a busy block. There, the rapper plays over a dozen records,
deeming most of them cute or okay. Sarcastically humble,
Coldchains makings of his Hazardous Life
debut are much deeper, textured, and soulful than what was presented in
2003. With over 135 such songs, perhaps jail can chisel an artist in
the way it caught 2Pac with All Eyez on Me. This might be the
very thing a label wants. On the other hand, with a limited dialogue
with Interscope Records, despite potentially brilliant records, is
Rosco even acknowledged or worse, exploited? Amin Porter is
a funny, likable man to spend an afternoon with. Hes personable,
spirited and curious. However, when the record button is pushed down,
Porter swivels his chair, leans forward, and transforms into Rosco P.
Coldchain. Hes cold, hes isolated, and hes hard to read. Admittedly,
this MC writes what he sees. After all hes seen in recent years,
Hip-Hop ought to revisit Rosco P., as his music and his attitude might
very well mirror the times.
AllHipHop.com: We cant look at the future without looking at the past.
My first question is what did the prison experience due to your spirit
as an artist?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Wow It didnt damper it, Ill say that much. It
gave me a more realistic vision on life. Im the type of realistic
rapper that writes everything I see, so it enhanced everything. It gave
me more drive.
AllHipHop.com: It was four years ago that you and I last spoke; you
were talking to a lot of people. Arista had mailed out promo CDs.
Looking at Hip-Hop history, there are so many albums that have been so
close to coming out, yet didnt. What explanation did you get?
Rosco P. Coldchain: We were with Arista. At that time, it was all new
money; it was a whole new relationship with me and Star Trak as
[Arista] artists. Once money gets involved, youre being looked at as
an artist. It switched up. Nothing changed. Arista [folded], and thats
what f**ked everything up.
AllHipHop.com: For The Clipse and for you
Rosco P. Coldchain: For everybody. Just me catchin a case was a
double-whammy. [The labels] stuffed some of that paper. A lot of my
paper was comin from that whole situation was crazy, man. I just feel
blessed to have another deal, man. I knew Id be signed to Star Trak,
but I didnt know if Id get another deal or not especially with what
The Clipse was going through, since they opened a lot of doors for me.
AllHipHop.com: We had to interview them in 2005 to find out what was
good with you. Nowadays, a rapper going to jail is a publicity machine.
Your entire incarceration was hardly covered. Why? What really happened?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Cases: when you catch one, you catch a bunch of
them. I went on the road. I caught an attempted murder [charge] out in
Las Vegas, and I caught two gun cases after that in Philadelphia. Im
not gonna really get into it, cause my thing about it is dont let the
public know. You dont want to tarnish your reputation. You can know me
as being this real street dude, but Im not gonna be the
run-of-the-mill thats gonna sit there and brag about X, Y, and Z. Its
bad enough that [Black people] are already being looked at as we are by
certain individuals; I dont want to promote that whole situation with
me. Yeah, s**t happens, we went through it.
AllHipHop.com: We live in the Tony Yayo era, where unheard rappers
leave jail famous. When you came out and were shopping, was it hard?
Rosco P. Coldchain: I already had the deal before I went in.
AllHipHop.com: Arista folded.
Rosco P. Coldchain: Okay, I was at Interscope. Me and a few other
artists went over to Interscope. Star Trak has a situation there. To
make a long story short, Kelis and The Clipse went to Jive; we went to
Interscope. Theyre f**ked, Im f**ked, we f**ked. [Jive] promoted [The
Clipse and Kelis].
AllHipHop.com: Whats your situation now?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Im with Star Trak. The realization is business is business. Were workin.
AllHipHop.com: The music you just played me was bananas. Are you still tied into Interscope?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Im still with Interscope. Its comin. S**t. The albums comin. Really, thats it.
AllHipHop.com: Do you have a lot of dialogue with Interscope?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Nah. We got our inside tracks with em. Interscope,
they got a large roster; youve got to make your imprint. Do we have an
imprint? Yeah, we definitely made our noise to where theres certain
individuals of importance that know us. But its 50 [Cent] mania now.
AllHipHop.com: When you were locked up, how did your writing quantity and quality differ from now that youre out?
Rosco P. Coldchain: When you go to jail, you think deep. Your thought process is so deep, cause thats all you have
to do. They sit your ass to think about what youve done. As a result,
you think about a lot of s**t. It enhances your thinking process. A lot
of the times, its kinda crazy all the material from 03, was written
in jail from before. So its like its crazy but every time I go to
jail for a nice amount of time, I get a good amount of the album of the
AllHipHop.com: Listening to your recent tracks, the verses are dense with similes, images, metaphors do you read a lot?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Yeah. When Im reading now at this particular moment is Robert Greenes 33 Strategies of War. I read James Patterson, all that crazy s**t. I read a lot of s**t anything I can get my hands on, I read it.
AllHipHop.com: Looking back at 2003, your album got me excited. You had
Kanye, Premier, Alchemist, so on. Can you listen to that material
today? How does it feel?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Yeah. A lot of that s**t, Im gonna put on this
album. Its the same situation [DMX] had, Lupe Fiasco. Its still
fresh; people havent heard it. Would I lead with a single from 03?
No. But a lot of that s**t I still feel good about.
AllHipHop.com: How has the prison situation affected your day-to-day
life and your relationships? You played me some songs touching on that
Rosco P. Coldchain: Im just cold, man. Im cold.
AllHipHop.com: In what way?
Rosco P. Coldchain: You grow numb to a lot of s**t thats done to you.
A lot of times, when youre younger, you do things repetitiously, even
though you know its wrong. I was stuck in that situation being nice,
kind-hearted, doing things well, spending well. Hustlin, guns, getting
locked up over and over again, Im trying to slow down. Habits.
The older you get, the number you get. When youre young, youre
oblivious. You say a lot of dumb s**t. Im a grown ass f**kin man now,
theres no time to be laughin anymore. Yeah, a joke here, a joke
there, but s**t is really serious out there. The world is serious out
there. Really, theres no more games.
AllHipHop.com: Theres a lot of people that would say a cold heart is
better, so youre not setting yourself up for hurt or disappointment.
Still, is there a part of you that yearns for that naivety or whatever
again and wants to go back?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Theres parts of me that goes back. F**k want it,
I went. Im still learnin. Thats my goal: to be a cold motherf**ker.
Im good. [Laughs] Im trying to learn how to not let certain s**t get
to me. Only emotional n***as thats the only motherf**kas thats in
jail or in bad situations, not thinking. When you think with your heart
instead of your mind, a lot of times, you think wrong. You do dumb
s**t, impulsive s**t.
AllHipHop.com: Im gonna play devils advocate. I like what youre
saying, but in terms of the music, emotion propels Hip-Hop. 2Pac was
emotional; he sold. A lot of this stuff on the radio lacks emotion,
its lifeless. What you played me had emotion
Rosco P. Coldchain: My music is totally different! Youve got to be a
character. The music is a reflection of you, but my rap name isnt Amin
Porter; my name is Rosco P. Coldchain, cause thats what I want to
give you I want to give you some
of Amin Porter. You cant have all of Amin Porter, cause some of Amin
Porter only belongs to Amin Porter. Thats what paparazzi and certain
people dont understand fanatics. I want some of me to be me.
Motherf**kers, the label theyve been tryin to get a whole heap of
s**t out of me. Yo, you need to talk! Youve got to tell em your
life! Im not tellin you every f**kin thing in my life! Theres
certain s**t I dont want out there. Whos my [psychologist]? Whos gonna help me?
AllHipHop.com: Do you know feel that the rap industry is designed to keep you cold or numb?
Rosco P. Coldchain: They dont want a person thats a great question!
Damn. Thats a good one You know what? Yeah. Yeah, because if youre
the type of individual that writes everything you see youre gonna
have to go through certain s**t to say s**t. Thats the s**t that they
want, and thats the s**t youve got to give em. Damn right! Yeah.
They want you to stay there. Its all about business. Its not on no
White man/Black man thing, but they want you to stay down cause thats
what they promote to the masses; thats what the masses like. Youve
got to stay oppressed, f**ked up, so you can talk about what you see.
Thats what you do, cause thats what they like. If you dont do that,
youre a tax write-off.
AllHipHop.com: What can your fans do to expedite your process?
Rosco P. Coldchain: [Chuckles] S**t. Really, fans hit my MySpace, get my s**t poppin! Thats really that.
AllHipHop.com: I respect the fact that I dont see a million Rosco P.
mixtapes out. As a matter of fact, I havent seen one. Why? Especially
given your situation.
Rosco P. Coldchain: [Laughs] Its corny! Youll drain yourself out.
Youve got to value and respect scarcity. I really play it low-key, so
when I come out, its a branded thing. Like, Wow. Where you been? I
been waiting for this s**t type thing. Ive been recently talking to
see whats going on
AllHipHop.com: With a few exceptions, the only mixtapes worth having in
2005 and 2006 were the Re-Up Gang mixtapes. As a fellow Philly dude,
how did it feel to watch Ab Liva and Sandman get everybody talking in a
spot, that in 2003, was yours with a bullet?
Rosco P. Coldchain: I was cool. Of course, initially, you sit there and
you wonder what are they thinking? Everybody is definitely on a cool,
family-oriented vibe. Those are two people that I genuinely love. They
got down with the crew. Their situation isnt my situation; were all
in different situations. Go for it; Im happy for you.
AllHipHop.com: Whats your relationship like with Pharrell, now?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Great question. Pharrells on his own planet. Hes
rich; hes in his own zone. Is there long-distance love? Yeah. [Laughs]
The rich hang with the rich; the poor hang with the poor. Sometimes the
rich can hang with the poor, if thats what they decide to do. In his
particular case, hes workin. At this particular moment, its boss and
employee; Im the employee and hes definitely the boss.
AllHipHop.com: To keep it funky, do you feel that your people at Star
Trak are working to push your project through at Interscope?
Rosco P. Coldchain: Certain people, yeah; certain people, no. Its a 50/50 thing.
AllHipHop.com: Did it affect your buzz to appear on Chinese New Year on The Clipse album last year?
Rosco P. Coldchain: It was cool. They
were keeping my name alive. Is Star Trak keeping my name alive? Certain
people. Certain important people. Really, how I see it, it all boils
down to the boss, really. If he didnt have love for me then I wouldnt
be there, thinking, Okay, we still need him as the marquis figurehead
for this whole thing. Yeah. Certain people dont f**k with me, certain