We are always blessed with the presence of Royalty. Each time it is a special occasion. This time is even more special. We have in our presence a beautiful woman who carries the spirit of the motherland with her in every move she makes in the supposed land of the free. She has come and conquered many obstacles and made it easier for our younger Black Princesses to follow suit and become Beautiful Black Queens. Bosses. After this interview young women of color will have more insight of how to become an owner and create opportunity for other people of color.
Let's get into the mind and life of the Beautiful, talented CEO, JOI ROCKS!
ACMD: Well it's about that time! Hard to catch up with you. But we are glad you chose to rock with us! Holla at the people and let em know who you are!
JR: Thank you for your patience & for rocking with me too! I Am Joi Rocks, the Zimbabwean female MC, singer, songwriter, producer, and label owner. Music is my life, and my life is the music. I enjoy connecting with the people by giving them high quality, well produced "good" music based on my real-life experiences, thoughts and feelings, and trend-set in the Rap, Hiphop, and Trap music genres.
ACMD: You are Zimbabwean and I think that that's awesome! Tell us the importance of you bridging the gap between Africa and America as far as music goes.
JR: I feel as though both the African American and African cultures have a lot to learn from each other and a lot to gain by developing more unity than we see today. Many of the youth in Zimbabwe and all African countries, as swell as here in America can use the inspiration, motivation, encouragement and opportunities to pursue their dreams knowing that there is more to life than the boarders that surround us. I think it is of paramount importance that those in Third World/Developing countries adopt the concept that with barriers lifted, One can achieve and do anything in life, and those in that are in the African American communities learn that we are Kings and Queens contrary to the undermining socio-economic boundaries imposed on us . Would be interesting if our people had an opportunity for some cross-cultural exchange and teach each other many strengths as well as grow stronger ties as a people that was divided for the purposes of conquering. I believe in bridging the gap we could possibly move past certain mind-conditioning and stereotyping tendencies that hold us back as a people.
ACMD: Tell us about you transition from Zimbabwe to the American East Coast and how it effected the growth of your sound. Also on being able to switch up from rapping to singing and which you enjoy more of the two if not both equally..
JR:Transitioning from Zimbabwe to the East Coast, and recently to the Atlanta region was challenging but very empowering and fulfilling as this had been my dream since I was a little girl back in Zimbabwe. I fought through many obstacles to even just be here in America but gained a lot of life experiences in terms of survival, adapting to a new environment and culture, being far away from siblings and family, and coming from having next to nothing, to having more than I ever dreamt of even at this point in my music career and in life a whole. Hip Hop has globally traveled, and as such reached media outlets in Zimbabwe and South Africa such as Chanel O, MTV Africa, and MTV Base, and uncountable Hip-hop radio stations. So growing up watching, listening to and mimicking Biggie, Pac, Jay Z, Queen Latifah, Missy Elliot, Snoop Dogg, and many other household name artists dreaming of some day becoming a part of the Hip Hop Movement, and already recording songs in high school made it fairly easy to hone my own sound. Writing and recording my music but bringing an exotic flair from my Zimbabwe and Southern Africa as I have the influence of our African rhythm, Kwaito music, Zimbabwean Hip-hop & Reggae, and House music which influence our music back home.
ACMD: How are you handling this male dominated industry? Are the men behaving like they should when conducting business with you? I know you have to deal with some assholes who can't handle your beauty.
JR: I'm a strong believer in mutual respect, good rapport, and street credibility. I conduct myself in the most professional way when I conduct business. People tend to respond to the energy that you give and reciprocate professionalism and respect. Ultimately these are the smart men in the industry who see the value as well as potential for making money and being a part of something great. However, there are some real donkeys who think with other body parts other their brain Lol and have no respect for real females with goals, or professional boundaries. You would be amazed how some men take rejection badly and actually sabotage or bad mouth females that are out of their league or uninterested. This may be a a contributing stumbling block for some females pursuing the music career. With that said I am very selective who I conduct business with and make a conscious effort to connect with the right people with similar work ethics and principles.
ACMD: Give us some insight on your early life in Africa. Many of us over never consider our roots while you've been blessed to have been born in the motherland although you've had some hardships..
JR: I was born in Harare, Zimbabwe, and lived part of my early childhood years in a small town Redcliff, Zimbabwe before I relocated to Harare at 14. I came from middle class family and was blessed to attend good elementary and high schools. So it wasn't a case of seeing lions or guerillas in the backyard as the media likes to portray Africa lol. I had a good upbringing, but lost my mother at 14, and my father at 19. Which were painful and crucial turning points in my life. Thankfully I had siblings and extended family members who stepped in to help. But the socio, economic & political position of my country presented its own set of challenges and limitations which only fueled my fire and resolve to pursue higher learning in America and to succeed in my music career.
ACMD: So you're not only a gorgeous and amazingly talented artist, you have a degree. Let them folk know where you've certified your expertise..
JR:*Most-humbly, Thank you! I have a Management Information Systems (MIS) college degree from Delaware Tech in Wilmington, DE. In as much as it is a different field from the music, "Knowledge is Power", and I am eternally grateful for retaining what I learned and apply it to my business interactions and in navigating through this music industry.
ACMD: You are also a Boss! You own your own label Joi Rock's Entertainment. I want to salute you for bossing up that makes you even more HOT! Give us a quick rundown of some of your independent releases from your label and a lil bit about your new album coming out this summer 2016...
JR: Most humbly Thank you! Sometimes you gotta boss up and take charge of your own career's future by creating your own opportunities rather than waiting for miracle to happen from the blue.
Since the formation Joi Rocks Entertainment (J. R. Ent) I have since released the 14-tracked mix tap "One Mile" (2008) 17 tracked mixtape “Joi Vol. 1” (2009), The 15-tracked mix Album “All Or Nothing Vol. 2″ (2012), which featured the single collaboration with Hot Runner and Lil Kim “Number 1 Man” available for online streaming. Shortly after, dropped the international hit single “Drinks On Me” featuring Lil Chuckee, Seany C, and Bizzsing (2014), The solo single "They Ask" (2014) which are available for download and on video.
I have recently released the new EP entitled “Conquer” (February 2016) This 9-track EP, includes the hit record “Party Jumpin” featuring Uncle Murda, produced by Drawzilla and Slimm Gemm. I have collaborated with several grammy nominated and award winning producers on this EP, so I trust you will love the music. Check it out!
You can look forward to a new album "Destiny" dropping end of this summer 2016 with a few surprise guest features and songs you will love. Stay up with me for future updates.
ACMD: Well we don't wanna hold you up! Thank you for taking the time out to chat with us. Give a s/o to your fam/team and let them know what magazine you rockin with!!
JR: Salute and shout out to all my producers S.M Tracks, Marathon Beats, Music Mystro, Roccstarr, Kid Cus, Angelic Sounds, Drawzilla, Slimm Gemm, and Haze, Boy Wonda, Tim Scaroce, Tool man, Paul Janocha,& Khardier da god, Mizz Saigon, Video City TV, my Investors, the artists that I've had the chance to work with namely Uncle Murda, Lil Chuckee, Hot Runner & Lil Kim, Seany C, Bizzsing, Violator Management's Lighty brothers, RIP Chris Lighty, Tornado Gang, Desert Storm DJ Clue, DJ Don Demarco, Dj Pyrex Nerve DJs and all the other DJs, friends, associates and family that support my music.. Too many to mention! Much love to you all always.
I'm rocking with "APEX COTURE MAGAZINE" The illest in putting everyone on to whats really good!
ACMD: We will enjoy one of your videos and have the links available for you new fans to get at ya!! Love you girl!!
JR: By all means ~ EnJoi Thank you for the love and support. Love ya'll more!! Keep on doing big things & Stay Blessed!
Article and Interview written and conducted by Antuan "A-Tuan" Wright for Apex Coture Magazine