Hood Illustrated

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Let's "Catch a Vibe" with Rapper Chris Rockwell

Chris Rockwell is an artist that has certainly been on our radar for the past few weeks. His stellar and epic-penned single and video for "Catch a Vibe," is a breath of fresh air in the Hip Hop scene. His fresh and drop sound bring solid beats and perfectly crafted lyricism that brings his flow of words to life.

2019 proved so far to be a busy year for Chris Rockwell.  After his “New Sh*t New Year” challenge from earlier this year, during which he released one new track for every day of January, Rockwell was approached by longtime collaborator and studio engineer Chill Smith about selecting a few of the new tracks and creating an album out of them, proposing that it should be more of a concept album revolving around diners.  In July, Rockwell took a few of the new songs, updated some older ones and recorded Live Unplugged.  Diner Kids marks the follow up to the Live Unplugged album, and marks the first time ever that Rockwell, an author and former Poet Laureate of Asbury Park, combined both his songwriting and poetry on one album.  The Album Gala and Art Show celebrating the release of Diner Kids will take place at The Downtown in Red Bank, New Jersey, and will feature performances by Switch Mob, S0ulFood, and more.

We had the distinct honor to catch up with Chris Rockwell as he dives deeper into what's on his plate for the upcoming months.

This year saw the release of your new single Catch a Vibe. In your experience, how did you prepare and write the track as well as the video release?
Well for starters, Brian Cutts has shot videos for me in the past, and we've been meaning to reconnect and do another one. We took a little inspiration from the video for "Weapon of Choice" but made it more... Jersey.
What is the story behind the title Catch a Vibe? And what was the inspiration for it?
I was driving one day in August and the first two lines of the hook just popped into my head out of nowhere. My partner is constantly talking about self care and self love, so there's a lot of that in there. I was just feeling inspired. Then it sat in my head for about a week. When we were listening to the album start to shape up, I realized we needed something like an intro, or a jump off of sorts. Then I took the idea to Josh Cabrera, my co-producer, and he laid down some guitar and keys. I wrote the rest of it pretty quickly. It fell out of me. 
When writing the songs in general, what elements did you want to convey in the tracks?
It's a very nostalgic album for me, reflecting on my life and different lessons I learned, about myself and about other people. My executive-producer, Chill Smith, actually refers to it as a "documentary" about my life. 
Who are the key members who helped to make the single and video vision happen?
Josh Cabrera and Chill Smith helped produce it with me. It was actually Chill's idea initially to make the entire album. We picked "Catch A Vibe" to make the video because it was the simplest idea that we just knew would work. 
When people listen to your music, what is the key message that you want them to walk away with?
Everybody's got a story. Tell yours with honesty and humility. Don't back down from your truth. 
Find Chris Rockwell via:

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