Sneaker Bar Detroit recently caught up with Ryan Rocket. Ryan is an up and coming rapper from Detroit Michigan. He currently resides in Arizona. But don’t get it twisted, he holds it down for the mitten!
Sneaker Bar Detroit: We read that you started writing music, poetry and stories at the age of 11. Do you remember what sneakers we’re hot at that time?
Ryan Rocket: Actually not at all. When I was younger all I did was think/talk about/play hockey. Growing up in Michigan there’s hockey all around you and of course the Wings have been tearin shit up for a while so hockey was always relevant. I liked basketball and I actually played organized ball, but that was always secondary to hockey. I developed a sneaker habit closer to the age of 15 to 16. It actually started with Nike SBs, cuz I was always flip floppin back n forth between Michigan and Arizona and the skateboarding scene is so big out here. I really liked how those first SB Dunks looked so I started picking those up every now and again, but I never really developed a collection because I was always wearing them and fuckin em up so they’d be trashed in like 4 months. I started getting shoes and consciously trying to preserve them and keep them nice around the age of 18.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: Do you remember the fist bars you ever wrote?
Ryan Rocket: I wrote so much when I was younger that it’s hard to keep track of exactly what my first bars were like. I do, however, remember my first full verse I ever wrote with the intention of rapping it was to “The Real Slim Shady” I remember when that shit dropped everyone was like “Ok, Eminem is about to change the game.” I remember how his verses on that were just about taking shots at people so my verse was just like that. I don’t remember specifically who I talked about, but Britney Spears may have been among them. Sorry, Britney.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: Who was your music inspirations growing up?
Ryan Rocket: Obviously the greats like Big and Pac were huge. People like Eminem, Kanye, Jay-Z, Outkast, and Common were the early ones that I’ve always been into. Right now I really like Big Sean, Wiz, Wale, Kid Cudi, and Chiddy Bang. I really respect Xaphoon Jones (the beat maker behind Chiddy Bang) as a producer whose overall grasp of all genres of music and how they fit into hip-hop is second to none. I know that’s a huge statement but I have a lot of confidence in the younger guys. A wise man once told me that “Experience is the best guidance”. I had to tell that person that I disagreed.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: We are aware that you currently live in Arizona and attend Arizona State University. What made you move? What is your major? How do you represent the D while living in Arizona?
Ryan Rocket: What made me move to be honest was that my home situation in Michigan wasn’t really cutting it. I had a lot of turmoil with my step mom and I just had to get away from that. Thankfully, my dad left her so I’m just happy that he’s happy and as far as bitterness or any contempt I feel, there is none. So I came out here to be closer to my mom and all that good stuff. Even though she saw me on school breaks growing up I still feel like she missed out on a lot of my childhood so it’s cool being close to her. My major at ASU is Political Science, if this rap thing doesn’t work out I’m gonna be a lawyer. I’m a reader, a writer, and most importantly a speaker. Whether it’s a rap or speaking formally, making things happen with my words has been, and will always be my passion. In terms of representing where I’m from out here I’m always rockin some vintage Detroit snapback or something like that and I’m really into vintage sportswear on the whole. Like old jerseys and stuff like that. I’m on the lookout for a Champion Detroit Pistons Grant Hill jersey (those old maroon and teal ones) that’s in good condition. Get at me!
Sneaker Bar Detroit: What is the student life like at ASU?
Ryan Rocket: Crazy man, I love it. There’s always something to do and somewhere to go. We made the top 5 on Playboy’s Party School list for a reason. From the Mill Avenue District to our Annual Undie Run, we get it in. And the girls? Let’s just say there’s a lot to look at.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: As you know, many people rock Foams on the eastcoast, New Balance in Michigan, Chucks on the westcoast and J’s everywhere. What sneakers are worn in Arizona?
Ryan Rocket: There’s actually a really underrated sneaker community out here in AZ. When those Banned 1’s dropped there was more than a 120 people in line at the only place they released in AZ. I had to get 3 pairs. As far as what I see EVERYONE rockin out here no matter where I go, it has to be Vans. On campus, at parties, concerts, whatever, Vans Eras or Classics are such a classic silhouette that they go great with mostly everything. If I’m not in some Js you can most likely see some Vans Eras on my feet.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: Describe the difference in style in Michigan and Arizona? For example, clothing, sneakers, music, swag?
Ryan Rocket: Clothing is really not that much different I don’t think. Obviously there’s subtle nuances here and there, but for the most part everybody can get any gear they want and kinda make their own style thanks to the internet. It used to be that you were limited to whatever was at the mall closest to you or your local clothing shops. Sites like Karmaloop.com and others like it have made it possible for anybody to get their hands on brands they wouldn’t normally see in their neighborhood and brands that aren’t really established that well but are looking to expand in a big way. I like to hit Karmaloop’s Kazbah section which is the part of the site that markets brands that aren’t mainstream, kind of underground/local streetwear brands from LA to New York City and everywhere in between. Music is kind of the same way, obviously people will show love to people from their city/region so Michigan is Eminem ride or die and out here a lot of people support the Westcoast movement and the different guys that are already established out here as well as kids coming up from this region.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: Who are your top 5 artists of all times and why?
Ryan Rocket: You gotta start with Big and Pac. They just did so much for lyricism, style, and the game itself. I could go on and on about my favorite songs and what they did for me as well as how they influenced how I write, but let’s just keep it simple and say those are the top two. Next, I gotta go with Eminem. The fact that he went ahead and became the first white guy to really leave his mark on the game and be one of the greats without question is really inspiring. He knocked down doors that everybody thought were going to be permanently locked, if that makes sense. My next two have to be Jay-Z and Kanye because they are so consistently impressive on every album they put out that you have to recognize that. Recently they got on that “Watch The Throne” album together and destroyed it. That’s what I’ve been listening to mostly for the last couple weeks.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: You released your first mixtape titled “Skipping Class N Flickin Ash” which remained in the spotlight section of Datpiff.com for over a week. What was your inspiration behind that mixtape?
Ryan Rocket: My inspiration was the whole college scene out here at ASU. Havin’ fun, partying, and getting into some trouble. Arizona State University has exposed me to so much more than school so basically “Skippin Class n Flickin Ash” was inspired by what me and my circle do when we’re not in class. I thought it turned out great given the fact that we really didn’t know what the hell we were doing, honestly. I gained immense amounts of experience and developed a great relationship with Jon Weil at Epicentre Recording in Phoenix, who’s an incredible sound engineer. He was the mastermind behind that entire project. Without him, “SCnFA” would not have even been close to the quality it was, so for that I’m thankful.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: -This may be a hard question, but what were your favorite songs on the mixtape?
Ryan Rocket: Dopest Dope, One More, Raise Your Gun, What We Smoke To, and Havin’ Fun. That wasn’t that hard.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: We read that you perform shows around Arizona State University? What is your favorite part of that? Do you have a certain pair or brand of sneakers that you stick with when performing?
Ryan Rocket: My favorite part of that is just being able to perform in front of my friends and be a part of this whole scene out here. There’s a lot of rappers trying to make it out of the Phoenix/Tempe area so it’s fun to compete with all these guys and try to separate myself from the pack. In terms of shoes that are my “go-to” sneakers for performing in, I really don’t have a specific pair that I designate my performance shoes. Kind of whatever I’m feelin that day. Last performance I rocked my Cool Grey 11s. Those are one of my all-time favorites for sure.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: Thus far, 2011 has been a solid year for sneakers. What were your favorite releases? What did you cop?
Ryan Rocket: 2011 has been a great year. My favorite releases had to be the White Cement and True Blue 3s, the Wolf Grey 5s, the Black Metallic 5s, and the Bordeaux 7s. I actually didn’t think I was gonna cop the Cardinal 7s but then I did last minute cuz they’re an OG colorway so I just wanted em. Now, they’re one of my favorites to rock as an everyday thing. The white upper is great because it’s always hot out in AZ and they go with everything. The black sole is sick because they never get/look dirty; and they’re an OG colorway so it’s a win, win, win.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: What sneakers are you looking forward to coping for the remainder of 2011?
Ryan Rocket: The Concord 11s and the Black Cement 3s. Period. The grey 14s and the Last Shot 14s are definitely must-haves, but the aforementioned sneakers are so iconic that I think I’m getting 3 pairs of the Black Cements and 2 pairs of the Concords, really.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: What are your top 5 sneakers of all time and why?
Ryan Rocket: Top 5 of all time have to be:
1. Black Metallic 5s- 5s are my favorite Jordan and the Black Metallics are an OG colorway. At the same time they go with anything and are never gonna get dirty real fast because they’re all black for the most part.
2. Black Cement 3s- 3s look so damn good and that elephant print is iconic in itself so the fact that the shoes can go with shorts or jeans, or whatever is just supplemental to the fact that this shoe is such a classic. I tend to like Black colorways over white, but I do rock my White Cements a lot too.
3. Cool Grey 11s- These have to be in here because all grey colorways are so saucy and 11s are that shoe that mostly everyone fucks with. The reason I like all grey colorways is because they go with almost everything and at the same time can stand out on their own as the centerpiece of an outfit. When you wear cool greys people tend to notice.
4. Infrared Air Max 90s- I love Air Max 90s so much. The way they feel is insane and they’re head-turners too. So it was just picking my favorite colorway and that’s definitely the Infrareds. I feel like people that don’t know sneakers are still like “Damn, what are those?”
5. Vans Eras- Any colorway, classic silhouette, only $40. Nuff said.
Honorable mention have to be the Banned 1s cuz they’re what started it all and I really like foams too. As you can tell the 5s and the Air Max 90s both came out in 1990 which was the year I was born in, so that may affect why 5s are my favorite Jordan and 90s are my favorite classic Air Max.
Sneaker Bar Detroit: Will you be dropping any new mixtapes or albums any time soon? What can we look forward too?
Ryan Rocket: A new mixtape is in the early works as of now. We’re putting together ideas for a concept and the overall things I want to achieve with it. I’m looking to collab with a bunch of other artists around here, shoot some more videos, and just keep building a buzz. Also, my website will be up soon so definitely be on the lookout for that.
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