Welcome ladies and gents for this brand new episode of WIB Meets. This is the place where we get to see what makes your favorite underground emcees/producers/DJs tick. We also try not to keep it long winded but just enough to get the best stories, and information from the source. On this episode, we had a chance to chop it up with NY emcee Rome Clientel, one half of the duo Dirt Disciples. It’s been a long time coming as he has been gracing our pages with nothing but heat for years so its only right we put the man on the spotlight.
Without further ado, WIB officially meets Rome Clientel!
For the benefit of anyone who’s been living in an underground bunker for the past few years…who on earth are you?
Peace. I’m an emcee from Elmira, NY, 1/2 of the group Dirt Disciples with my bro DJ Concept, and a proud family man.
How did you get started in music, and what drives you to continue?
Ive always been involved in music, but I started to really take it serious in the mid ’90s when I started working with an intern at The Cutting Room in NYC, named Just Blaze. We had a brother-like bond, so the music came out like we had been doing it for years. We probably recorded around 30 joints or so before he signed to The Roc.
My drive is just based on who I am. I live and breathe this shit. It’s part of my daily routine. During my 12 year absence I still made beats almost every day, and still wrote verses. I just didn’t let anyone hear shit. I’ll never stop tho. That’s why Concept and I work so well, he’s on that same page.
Do you remember the first song you ever made? How did you go about it?
The first official song I ever made was a record called “Life of Mine” with Just. We recorded it the same day we met. He played a beat on the ASR-10 that was crazy and I had written something that matched perfectly. I wish we could find that record…damn.
If a movie about your life in music was to be made, what interesting/strange moments and stories would you share to make the movie cool?
A movie would be dope lol. Before I met up with Just I moved out to Los Angeles to try and get something going, and I was hired as a “runner” at Death Row’s studio. I decided not to work there tho. It was during the peak of the East Coast/West Coast beef and I’m a NY guy in LA with NY plates on my Volkswagen. Didn’t seem like a good idea at the time lol.
Are there any other interesting facts about you that hardly anyone else knows?
I hit the pause button on my music career to take care of my daughter. Her birth was approaching and I didn’t have anything ready for her to come home to. So I took a job selling cars and it turned into a career. I’m currently a Sales Manager at a Honda dealership in Ithaca, NY. So this is like having three full time jobs; working, raising a family and Hip-Hop.
What is the greatest thing about working in the music industry? And what would you change if you had the opportunity?
The greatest thing to me is that Hip Hop gives me the ability to speak my mind, let people know what’s going on in my world…hopefully people listen. I’m a pretty quiet person so Hip-Hop is like my diary.
I think everything is moving in the direction it was designed to move towards. This is what Hip-Hop evolved to. I’d take all the money away, even the playing field, where only the strong survive.
Looking back, what have been the most important moments in your life so far? And what have been the biggest highlights?
The most important moments and the biggest highlights in my life have been the birth of my children. Nothing more important to me than being Daddy.
What has been your biggest challenge…and how did you overcome it?
My biggest challenge is time. Working 50+ hours a week, taking care of a family, and finding time for music is difficult. I can’t really tour or do shows because my schedule doesn’t permit it. Being an emcee isn’t really a stable situation to raise a family, so I do what I have to do to make sure we’re good.
Who are your heroes? Why do they rock your world?
My heroes include anyone who has a vision of a better world, and fights to achieve it. People that help other people and don’t ask for anything in return. Mothers and Fathers that take care of their families and teach their children right from wrong.
Who have been the coolest, most memorable people you’ve met along the way, and how did they make an impact on your life?
I don’t really rock with too many people other than my family. They have always pushed me to follow my heart, my instincts, and my passion. Especially with music.
When you’re sitting on the porch age 97 what would you like to look back on and smile having achieved?
I’ll never make it to 97 lol. But I would say that watching my children grow up to be great and successful people would be the greatest. Also, any idea that I’ve ever had I’ve developed in some shape or form. If I do make it to 97 there won’t be many “What Ifs,” if any at all.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
I did a show a couple years back at this bar in my hometown. It was kind of cool because people at home only know me as Rome and not as an emcee. It’s very hard to get love where I’m from. It was dope to see their reactions after my performance and the love they showed me. Meant a ton.
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
I’ve met some truly great people in my life but meeting Richard Pryor tops the list. His mother married my Uncle Richard, and she’s buried in Elmira, so I grew up hearing the story of when he came for her funeral. My uncle and I stopped by The Comedy Store in LA, where we saw he was performing and he thought Richard would remember him. And he did. He showed us both love. It was dope as hell…
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
I would really like to sit down and chop it up with Barack Obama one day. His story is an inspiration to me. Probably have to fry some chicken tho lol.
What are the greatest songs, albums, books, movies, TV shows, websites you’ve ever come across?
My favorite song of all time is “The World is Yours.” My favorite album is Mobb Deep’s, The Infamous. My favorite book is Alex Haley’s, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. My favorite movie is,The Divinci Code, and my favorite website is HuffPo.
Name 5 songs (yours excluded) that we would expect to find on your iPod or Music Player
1. Nas – “The World is Yours”
2. Mobb Deep – “Temperature’s Rising”
3. Gangstarr – “Royalty”
4. Dr. Dre – “Animals”
5. Jay Electronica – “Exhibit A”
What special-hero type skills are you blessed with?
Maybe because I’m a musician, or maybe because I’m a father, but I hear things that most people can’t. Any sudden change in sound whatsoever I can recognize it. It’s kinda crazy sometimes lol.
Where can everyone reading this interview keep up with your adventures?
I don’t tweet often but here’s where you can follow me online:
• Instagram: https://www.facebook.com/romeclientel
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/romeclientel
…or just stay tuned to The Word is Bond since y’all always show love!
Any final thoughts?
Just thanks to y’all for the interview and the constant support and look for The Ambition EP on iTunes! Peace y’all!!