Meat Rob. B :: Hip-Hop Well Done
Changing the face of hip-hop isn’t all that’s on out gay rap artist Rob. B’s agenda. The model turned hip-hop impresario is well aware of the expectations that are placed on the emerging artist. Ever since he went solo - Rob. B was once part of the duo called "The Black Market" he’s been pouring his tightly muscled frame into his latest project. The aptly named mix-tape Meat Rob B.
With Top 40 tunes invading the club scene, and chart-topping acts like Rihanna co-opting EDM, hip-hop is becoming the regular request on the weekend DJ’s setlist. More and more gay club night-crawlers are finding the groove in the stylistic rhymes often associated with the urban dance hall. "I love music and I always excelled at writing poetry." The San Diego native found an outlet for himself in rap and hip-hop. "I wanted a way to express myself."
Pursuing his artistic ambitions and finding an affinity in the beats, Rob. B admits that he wasn’t the best singer, but he had stories to tell. "I did want to show many aspects of myself." He was good with words and the minute he and his buddy teamed up in 2008 under the moniker of "The Black Market", Rob. B was instantly hooked. "We just decided to take a chance one day - kinda like chasing a high."
"The beat selection is probably the hardest part," Rob. B admits about working on his latest set of tracks. "I want everything to be cohesive - I want to make sure it’s not a one trick pony." The mix-tape project gave the artist the opportunity to allow old and new fans into his lyrical world, hence the play on words in the title: Meat Rob. B. "I want it to have something for everybody - but I also want it to be me." And revelatory the track list is.
Rob. B allowed his life experiences to shape the narrative of his work. "I don’t understand how people can write about something that they haven’t gone through," he states. "I like to keep it raw."
His writing process is honest and genuine. "I’ll often have a whole lot going on in my mind - it’s easier to translate it into my music," he says. "It depends on how I’m feeling that day. If I’m feeling cocky as fuck - just feeling myself, then I portray that."
He writes about love. He talks about betrayal. He raps about the love of his dearly departed mother - his biggest fan. "Not everything I rap is about the ’gay struggle’," Rob. B comments. "We go through everything that every other man goes through. I just want to be that platform."
Hip-hop is often linked with its über-masculinity, some might say misogynistic quality. As one of the few gay hip-hop artists, Rob. B has cracked the mold of what a rap act should look and sound like. "We don’t really have someone out there that is doing this [performing rap] and is being taken seriously."
Rob. B isn’t the only out gay hip-hop/rap artist on the scene. Pop artist Sir Ari Gold has teamed up with Mr. Man, and club life icon Amanda Lepore, who has relied on the talented hijinks of mix-master Cazwell for some of her biggest hits. Most recently mainstream act Frank Ocean has received many accolades and awards for his music, and has even gone to fist-to-cuffs legitimizing his credibility.