F-to-the-L-to-the-O-C-O! Hip-Hop In Motion.
“Summertime when I first got to Macon,
Supposed to be in the A, but that’s a different situation.
So my plan is to make noise regardless of your ordinance.
Takin’ over this city was of level 20 importance.”
That’s reality, scripted by Floco Torres (pronounced: flock - oh), defining how a journey from Philadelphia to Atlanta six years ago for an internship landed him in Macon, GA after the deal fell through. Because the streets of the “Hip-Hop Capitol of the South” were a bit too daunting for the 20-year-old,he decided to seek shelter with family members in a community that welcomed him and his burgeoning talent with arms wide open. Floco embraced the opportunity to develop his passion as a lyricist, vocalist, and musician by connecting with friends, forming a band, and refining their groove that has placed him on the precipice of a talent to be reckoned with in the continuous battle for hip-hop cred.
With Atlanta’s Music Midtown 2014 scheduled for September 19 & 20, Floco has his eyes focused on getting a slot on one of the local artist stages. We caught up with him as he and producer Infinite Quest were laying down the final mixes on his forthcoming album “Childhood Summer Celebrity Dreams” and he was kind enough to spend a few minutes to shed light on his career vision.
CH) Where do you start, with the rhythm or the rhyme? And from where does it come?
FT) “It all depends. I go through spurts where it will be one or the other. I’ve had to learn how to create in many different locations so when I get the opportunity, I let the music decide what setting I’m going to write in.”
CH) So, when you were growing up in Philadelphia, who were you listening to and where were you hearing it - on the radio, MTV, friends?
FT) ”I only lived in PA for about 2-3 years. I went all the time from Jersey,but I hated Philly for a while, hahahaha. However, radio was a big thing. Cosmic Kev’s show on Power 99. He had all the rappers, who were respected lyrically, on there to rap. I remember when Beanie Siegel was beefin’ with Jadakiss and the whole Roca Fella crew went to the station and went off!
MTV was cool too. They got me into the visual side of things. Oh and mixtapes! I used to buy a bunch of mixtapes and play them with my friends.”
CH) How do you categorize the Floco Torres flow? Is there a genre you see yourself in…rapper, singer, hip-hop artist … or …
FT) “I say Hip-Hop/Alternative, because I know how important genres are to people. Of course, I think I’m a Hip-Hop musician. I play bass and have been quietly working on production for my next album. I’m kinda of auditioning, to myself, for the project. I truly believe if I dedicate the time, I can learn most instruments, so I’m also inside that process too.”
CH) So, if we were to hop in your ride right now, what would I find playing on your MP3 player and why?
FT) “Common’s new album “Nobody’s Smiling”. I’ve always respected
Common, but when he hooked up with Kanye for “Be”, “Finding Forever” and so many other projects, I really fell in love with his music. Common has that OG flow and that mixed with Kanye and No-ID production, you can’t lose. If there is a “real hip-hop” badge, and I hate that crap, Common gets it.”
CH) Which artist would you consider your greatest influences when your were starting out and which influence you most now? Do you cover any of their work on stage?
FT) “Cassidy was a big influence when I was starting out. The punchline flow was always so captivating. Just one clever line after another. Biggie wasn’t the first artist to ever tell stories, but his lyrics brought you into his life. My songs/albums tell so many stories because I want to do what Biggie did lyrically. Kid Cudi is a melodic genius to me. When I first heard him, I took being a better songwriter seriously. I’ve covered a biggie song before but I cover Cudi a lot.”
CH) ”Psycadelphia 2”, your last release. features the single “Street Lights 2”, a groove about summertime in the city. What’s the story behind the single and the name of the album?
FT) ““Psycadelphia Two” was my last album and “Childhood Summers, Celebrity Dreams” is my new album which is a sequel to the “Celebratory Screams, Childhood Dreams” EP I did last summer. Both of these projects are produced by Infinite Quest. The name “Psycadelphia Two” came from the feeling of the music. Talking about the process of how I started and opening up on how things have gone since. The Psycadelphia series is based on its own planet. So these projects are a little more “mortal”, if you will. “Street Lights 2” is just raw. I love it! It’s what I grew up on. The drums are hard and the synth bass line is so dirty. It’s alley ways, cop cars, it’s just dirty! Hahahaha! People don’t know that I grew up in these same neighborhoods they’re scared to go to. I just speak differently because I took a different route. So I’m telling that story. But I have seen as much as they have seen if not more. I just don’t glorify it.”
CH) Tell us about your band? How did you guys meet?
FT) “I met Travis (drummer) through a suggestion when trying to find musicians 6 years ago. I went to a show he was playing and we started working from there. Above working together, he’s my friend, so we’ve always been able to do amazing things on stage. He’s the best drummer I know. I met Gravey (Bass) through Travis and Shawn (guitar). Gravey is a fan of all types of Hip-Hop, so we clicked immediately. I play bass live less because Gravey is a bad dude. I mean… just come to the show hahaha!”
CH) Before taking the stage for a live set, how do you decide which songs you’re going to perform and which ones won’t make the bill? Do you have a favorite(s) - the song(s) that you know the crowd is gonna go wild when you crank it?
FT) “I prepare sets like albums. I don’t wanna do the same subject matter two or three times in a row. So I try to build a story through the energy of the music. I’m excited to do “STWTKS” (“Street Lights 2”) now that the single is out. I’m hoping people get hype for that one. I love performing “Catch Me” because I believe everyone can relate to that song, and they always get so-o-o loud! “Hot Like the Sun” was my first single ever and people LOVE that song. They don’t request it as much now, however, ‘cause I’ve been open about hating it. For a while, that’s all people wanted to hear, and I’ve grown so much farther than that. BUT, I’m thankful to have songs that connect and that people come out to hear and sing-a-long.”
Floco Torres’ first recordings can be found on mix tapes as far back as 2006. His first studio recording was a collaboration with his neighborhood friend, Young Fame That recording, ‘Young Thundercats”, was done in the basement of Fame’s mother’s house, with Fame handling the production, as well as, co-writing. (Fame is now known as ‘Famey Miscellany” and is contines to produce, write, and MC.)
There are 9 other Floco albums and EPs available, all touting his lyrical wizardry, supported by spine-adjusting bass lines and back-beats, highlighted with piercing guitar riffs. His creations are available on-line now, as well as dates for his next show as he works his way back to Atlanta and beyond. You can connect with Floco on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr.