Black Rob hadn’t put out an album in five years prior to his latest release and that ain’t whoa. Once the backbone of Bad Boy Records, B.R. put the label on his back with his Buckwild-laced hit, “Whoa,” and led an Uptown resurgence long before Cam’ron painted the town pink. Since then, however, the troubled rapper has had to deal with a string of endless setbacks, including health and legal troubles that have been harder for him to shake than Donald Trump trying to do that dance made famous in Rob’s hood.
But Blacko’s back and that is whoa. Poised to bring the house that Diddy built back to prominence once again, Rob has readied The Black Rob Report, chocked full of the same street anthems and vivid storytelling that made his debut album a success. Always engaging, Black Rob talks about his kidney troubles, his robbery and gun charges, and shares his life story from the past five years, which is as interesting as any of his albums. He’s ready.
AllHipHop.com: What was it like putting this album together for you during the past five years, which seemed to be particularly tumultuous for you?
Black Rob: It was like something I had to do. It was just me making music. Like I say all the time, I’m trying to look past Life Story. That’s a classic, we always gonna know that and respect that. But you know, I can’t be just up under that “Whoa” like that. You got artists that went from one record to another, and they always had that record in the background. So that’s what I’m trying to do. I need to have a couple more joints I can do on stage.
AllHipHop.com: I saw you perform a few months back at Manhattan’s SOB’s—
Black Rob: Yeah, for the Big L [tribute] joint.
AllHipHop.com: It’s funny that you mention that you need more hits or songs to perform, because the crowd was definitely excited to see you that night.
Black Rob: I feel that, especially that night. I could see it in their eyes. They had the look; especially the dudes in the front. They was like, ‘Ayo, come on, dog, that’s hot. I’m gonna do what I do, trust me.
AllHipHop.com: Do you feel like you’re in the familiar position of having to put Bad Boy on your back again?
Black Rob: Yeah.
AllHipHop.com: Is that something that you enjoy, that responsibility?
Black Rob: I do. Because, sometimes Puff pushes me to the limit. Like, sometimes I feel like he don’t got faith in my joints.
AllHipHop.com: He drives you crazy?
Black Rob: Yeah, that, too. That, too, man. [Laughs.] But, hey man, that’s what families do. That’s what it is. He drives me crazy. I drive him crazy.
AllHipHop.com: Are you contributing any verses to the Biggie duets album?
Black Rob: Yeah, I’m doing the “Gimme The Loot” joint right now as we speak.
AllHipHop.com: That’s a good track for you to jump on...
Black Rob: And why not?
AllHipHop.com: Because the story telling aspect of it
Black Rob: Okay, okay.
AllHipHop.com: Not that I expect you to run my jewels!
Black Rob: Okay, my dude. It’s real for you to think like that, because I thought like that. When they said they wanted me, I was like, ‘Ah man, I know what made you n***as want me for that s**t. That’s what I do. That ain’t what I do, but what I used to do.
AllHipHop.com: Is the storytelling aspect something that try to put forth? Or does it come naturally for you?
Black Rob: It comes natural, because when I used to hear Rap back in the days, people used to tell stories. All these great story tellers, Slick Rick, B.I.G., everyone that came before me; Spoonie G, Busy B, Grandmaster Caz, Melle Mel, so when I’m coming up they telling me stories. They ain’t talking about no bulls**t, they talking about real s**t.
AllHipHop.com: You mentioned Slick Rick and Biggie, and people put you right along with the greatest when it comes to storytelling despite you only releasing one album. How?
Black Rob: That’s crazy. I got a street following with that, too. I used to be that Radio Raheim kid at one period in my life, I can’t remember what year it was. I had the radio and the tape with the beats on it. I used to go through 139th [in Harlem], Big L, McGruff, all them cats was out there. I’m rhyming with these dudes. I do it all, but that story s**t, they was like you got that, dog.
AllHipHop.com: What are your thoughts on your former label mate, Ma$e, joining G-Unit?
Black Rob: Hey, man. You know what? That n***a is backsliding, man. I don’t know, man. Me? I don’t play with God like that. I don’t know what his motive is, because I don’t talk to Ma$e. You don’t play with God like that, man. Me? I respect God, I know he there, and I know he’s the reason that I’m still here. But you ain’t gonna hear me spitting bulls**t and going to church on Sunday, you know what I mean? That’s a hypocrite.
AllHipHop.com: Did you ever feel like giving up Rap in the past five years, because of the health and legal battles?
Black Rob: Nah. I don’t know what it is that drives me, man. I really don’t, man. It can’t be the honeys. I’m like Wilt Chamberlain, man. That’s real. But I ain’t gonna go out like Wilt. No disrespect to Wilt. He’s’ the greatest of all time—
AllHipHop.com: In two games!
Black Rob: [Laughs.] So it’s like, that ain’t what drives me. It’s just I see my kids, I guess? I don’t know. I guess my will to live the way I been living. I spoiled myself, man.
AllHipHop.com: Did your health problems force you to change your eating habits and your diet?
Black Rob: Oh yeah, no doubt. Hell yeah. All that greasy s**t, that fried s**t, I can’t do it. I’m on strictly no sodium at all. My s**t tastes bland like a motherf***er.
AllHipHop.com: Was this problem something you ignored?
Black Rob: Yep. I ignored it, but I never knew I had it. My moms had it but never spread the work. Nothing, you know what I’m saying? Me wildin’ out, it just got worse
AllHipHop.com: How much time were you actually locked up in the past five years? Some people thought you were out, some thought you were in, people didn’t quite know.
Black Rob: I was locked up a couple of times, man. The gun s**t, when I got bagged with that. I f**ked around came to court, they locked me up again. I probably did 13-14 months. But the five before that, I ran from they ass. Yeah! I got the rabbit in me when they come after me! Call me Rob Rabbit. [Laughs]
AllHipHop.com: Jails are big business in the U.S., making high profit margins at the expense of low-earning inmates. Do you think about that much?
Black Rob: I used to work in cold craft. You know what that is? N***as make. That’s crazy. I never worked in my life! They tried to make me wash walls! I was like, "Get the f**k out of here. Put me in the box, fam." We was making soap! And getting a quarter a day, dude; 50 cent at the most. These n***as is making billions of bars of f***ing soap. I hate jail, man. I hate that s**t with a f***ing passion, dog. You hear me? I f***ing hate that s**t. When I think about that sh*t, I get stressed, man.
AllHipHop.com: Did that compound your health problems?
Black Rob: Definitely.
AllHipHop.com: Is that when your health problems started?
Black Rob: Nah, when I was in jail, I was throwing it like Michael Jordan, n***a. I was flying out the gym. But when I got out, when I was out there on my little hiatus, I was in Atlanta and that’s when that s**t caught up to me.
AllHipHop.com: You stay out in Atlanta now?
Black Rob: Nah, I got a house out there, but I’m stationed in New Jersey.
AllHipHop.com: What ever happened to the Alumni crew?
Black Rob: Alumni is still here. Right now you gonna hear my man, Phenom; he gonna be on the promo tour with me. G.Dep got some more fire. Rudolph The Red, ugly. We still doing music. You gonna hear a lot of my artists on Bet On Black. These are dudes that I brought through Bad Boy; P gave the stamp of approval. These cats ain’t playing. We talk about what we been through. When I say alumni, we all been through the penitentiary. We don’t just talk about it. We trying to education the youth, make money, and just make good music.