Back in September, we introduced you to a Orlando, FL-based artist by the name of Cognac & Roses. Today, he returns to our page with an exclusive interview that gives us some insight into who he is as an artist and beyond. Alongside this interview, Cognac & Roses also recently dropped off a brand new record entitled, “Cross The Line.” Check out the track and interview down below.
swidlife: How did you start rapping and what gave you the motivation to stay with it?
Cognac & Roses: I remember riding in my Uncle’s car in North Carolina during the summer time. He had the loudest system in the hood everyone would want to ride with him; I’m talking kids from the block, even some others who had cars ask for a ride just because he had kickers wired throughout his whip. That summer, in particular, I remember him waking me up to take a ride with him. We ended up being in a line outside of a record store. I saw all types of ethnicities and faces in that line. That line broke through the doors as soon as everybody heard the door unlock they were in the J section in the record store. My uncle managed to finesse his way from the back of the line to being damn near front and center to have his Jay-Z Volume 2: Hard Knock Life album. The whole summer we rode around with that album playing. Every corner, street, and cross-way had that album’s lyrics etched in it. I was in Jay’s world every time I sat in my Uncle’s car that Summer. That’s hard to bring someone in the world your living in and I knew I could do the same. I stuck with it because I’ve been through too much, I lost a lot of loved ones to a casket to not let my story or theirs be heard in somebody’s headphones or car speakers.
swidlife: What are some of the biggest mental tools you can obtain to be successful in this field?
Cognac & Roses: You have to be able to control your emotions in this game. Having a grip on emotions will help you with criticism. Sure somebody could hate your record and the next person may think its the biggest record they’ve heard in a while. You have to have emotions of steel to deal with that. Another big one would be trust.I’ve seen a lot of artists turn big opportunities into nothing by burning bridges with people, just by listening to the people who are observing moves being made and have no clue about whats going on. The company you keep can make you or break you.
swidlife: Do you have a favorite musical project that you’ve worked on?
Cognac & Roses: I have to say my favorite project that I have worked on is my latest project “Cognac & Roses”. It’s not due out until March 23rd so we have a little while to go. But hell, the whole team that worked on this record with me had that “this is it” feeling in the studio. We all knew we were creating something special.
swidlife: What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?
Cognac & Roses: I would have to say spending time with my family. I don’t get to see my family as much from the amount of work I do so I cherish every moment. Running clears my mind because I’m a workaholic. That’s the moment I can have an off switch because not accomplishing my goals just irritates the hell out of me.
swidlife: How would you describe your sound?
Cognac & Roses: I would describe my sound as a wave. There are moments when you’re laying in the water and it all just flows so well. I’m talking the moment when you’re in an open body of water without disturbance and you feel all alone. The surroundings (instrumentals) bring a cadence that makes you forget where you are. Then the vocal delivery and effects make you feel that chill-factor because you don’t know what’s beneath you or what could grab you. Then, of course, the lyrics (the actual wave) that can either rock you calmly, smack you or just overpower you until you can’t fight back and you realize it is what it is and your drowning in the whole embodiment (the music/sound).
swidlife: Are you currently working on some new music?
Cognac & Roses: Yes, I am currently working on two other projects. One of them, in particular, I’m producing with my mixing engineer/producer Iggy and another producer Kenny. I’m excited about that because I’ll be tapping in my producer side on along with my artist side.
swidlife: How often do you record new music?
Cognac & Roses: I’m always in album/ep mode. So I’ll take a break for about a month after wrapping up a project. It’s not a break from being tired of recording or anything. But I take a break just to live life, write out video treatments and set the promo-runs up for my album’s. Everything I write about and record is all based on life experiences. I feel if I was stuck in the studio every day then I haven’t lived and it would be repetitive records that I would produce.
swidlife: What would you say is the toughest part of being an artist?
Cognac & Roses: The toughest part of being an artist is finding your own groove and running with it. Sometimes artists give up too fast on a different sound that they start creating. It could be small tweaks and delivery that could make your sound truly evolve and attract people to what you’re doing. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes mistakes in the studio create moments that are golden.
swidlife: What’s your take on the current state of hip-hop?
Cognac & Roses: The current state of hip-hop is definitely more creative and fun. You could take it where ever you want to in this day and age. From a marketing standpoint Labels don’t even seem to know how to cater to an artist let alone a hip-hop crowd anymore and it seems like the deals some artist are getting involved with aren’t what they use to be. On top of everything else it is very fast paced and with that type of traction sometimes it’s harder to see who’s actually being authentic or just being like everyone else.
swidlife: As an artist, do you have certain plans you’re trying to accomplish this year?
Cognac & Roses: Hell yeah, I definitely have a lot of plans. Some plans are already in the works. I’ll let one thing be known because I cant’ speak about the other’s but a short film is definitely happening. I had fun making the “Pull Up” video and I tapped into another side of me that I didn’t even know was there.
swidlife: How did the video for, “Pull Up” come together?
Cognac & Roses: The video for “Pull Up” came together by me walking in the situation with the “WE ARE NOT Shooting the visuals like everyone else”. Zach and his team Effel Network felt the same way about doing something completely different as well. What I mean is obviously I’m talking about pulling up on someone in that record and we already have seen that story before. So I went more into the lyrics “I’m crashing in waves”. That sparked a concept of me combining the world of “water” with a stranger things dialogue. After I brought up Stranger Things to Zach we both got into our creative zone. The “upside-down” was more water-based instead of it being in a creeped out universe with ash falling. Instead of me being haunted by a Demogorgon, I was being haunted/drowned by my conscience (a child that resembled a younger me). Everyone that you saw in the gas station became apart of my world the moment I bumped into them that’s why you see the same people in the lake with me throughout the video.
Well, there you have it, folks. Thank you for your time Cognac & Roses and glad we could give the people a clear overview of the man behind the work. Are there any last thoughts you wanted to share?
“Before I share anything I have to say thank you for having me for the interview. I rock with ya’ll for pushing the underground scene forward. It’s important for the up-and-coming artist to have this type of platform to build a foundation on. To everybody else, I would like to say be on the lookout for what my team and I have coming out and stay tuned for my up-and-coming album Cognac & Roses, it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss out on. “