From the origin of his name to his nationality, it’s not just the music that has drawn such unique attention to San Francisco native Orlando Campbell, more commonly known as Roach Gigz.
Though that helps of course.
After gaining local notoriety with close friend in rhyme Lil 4Tay, the son of Rappin 4-Tay, he has gone on to prove himself as a competent artist in his own right; eventually landing upon Bay Area powerhouse 106.1 KMELs “Top 10 Freshman of 2010” ranking. Since then, the station responsible for launching a slew of the regions most recognizable talent has taken a keen interest in him as well.
As have the streets.
Today, the young emcee seeks to further solidify himself on wax, a feat that he just may have accomplished with his latest project Roachy Balboa III, a continuation of his popular Roachy Balboa mixtape series.
AllHipHop.com: Let’s just clear this up right now for those who were wondering. What exactly is your nationality?
Roach Gigz: (Chuckles) my father is Italian. He was a supporter of the Nicaraguan Revolution during the 80s, where is actually where my mother had me. But I was raised in the Delores & Filmore part of the (San Francisco) Bay Area. I’m from the Bay.
AllHipHop.com:: Prior to formally launching your solo career, you and Lil 4Tay gained a regional hit with “Bitch I Go” in 2006, but outside of your 2009 Buckets and Booty Calls project; you largely stayed out of the limelight until coming back strong in 2010 with your first Roachy Balboa project. Why the musical gap?
Roach Gigz: To be real I was bullshitting, being an idiot. Going to functions (Bay Area term for parties) and smoking. I put out a little collection of music but then I decided it was time to get serious again. Having kids will definitely change your outlook on things, I decided to get back on my shit.
AllHipHop: 2010 was a breakout year for you. Your first Roachy Balboa project, which brought new ears to your work, was released and you were also named one of the “Top 10 Freshman” that year by KMEL. Would you say that this was a turning point for you?
Roach Gigz: It was a good look and I definitely appreciate it. I think that I became a contender after I gained a little fan base. It seemed as if the ball just started rolling; since then I’ve gone on an entire multi-city tour of the West Coast, and got a taste of a national tour when I was chosen to open for Andre Nickatina. It gave me a chance to hit Washington, Oregon, Montana, Arizona, and all the way over to Idaho.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of which; the Bay Area is well known for its robust indie scene, and the level of support among its deep pool of talent; are there any artists in particular that you looked up to coming up?
Roach Gigz: I hella appreciate [Mistah] F.A.B. who put me into rotation on his “Yellow Bus Radio” show, I really fell in love with the game after hearing my shit on the radio. That’s when I really got serious about my shit. Coming up though, I have to say, Mac Dre is the greatest.
AllHipHop.com: It’s nice to see that his memory has been kept alive, especially outside of the Bay, as we recently saw with Yo Gotti’s “Act Right” banger. What’s your favorite Mac Dre album?
Roach Gigz: Genie of the Lamp no question.
AllHipHop.com: Let’s clear up the rumors surrounding your stage name….
Roach Gigz: (laughs) I got it in two parts. A lot of people started calling me that based off of the character from Next Friday and it just kinda stuck with me; but I also used to gig (a popular style of dance within the Bay,) at functions. I wasn’t the greatest or anything but I was animated, so people used to say that I had gigs. I just went with it.
AllHipHop.com: Your first formal independent release was 2012’s Bugged Out. Are you comfortable driving in the indie lane or would you ever consider signing a major deal?
Roach Gigz: I tried selling Bugged Out. Originally I just wanted to give it way, but it actually ended up doing well. But going forward, I feel like I want to keep giving music away until I’m known not just at home in Cali. Burna signed to Taylor Gang so I can see that it’s possible to do well; I think that it would just have to be a deal that makes sense, something that would allow me to keep both my name and my brand, but if the deal was enticing enough why not?
AllHipHop.com: You’re currently signed to Goomba, your own record label. I’m going to assume that this is a sly play on your Italian background?
Roach Gigz: Most people don’t catch that right away. “Goomba” is just another name for a fly ass person in the Italian community. A hood superhero of sorts, and I just ran with it.
AllHipHop.com: You’re still relatively young with a potentially long career ahead of you. Have you considered any other avenues outside of music?
Roach Gigz: In 7th grade I played Romeo in a play. I think people told me that I was nice and I took to it. (chuckles) I think I could do it too.
AllHipHop.com: The success of your first two Bugged Out and your first two Rocky Balboa projects set the path for your biggest project to date, Rocky Balboa III. What goals have you set this time around?
Roach Gigz: With Rocky Balboa III, I just wanted to bring it back to Bay Area slap. We’re unique because we combine fun and lyricism. At the end of the day I just want to be successful. The music is gone be there, I don’t ever bullshit on my music; now I want to get paid for it.