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Concerts Rap and Hip Hop

Boom Bap from the Bronx: An Interview with FadeTheBlackk

April 07, 2020 by Andrew Gretchko


Hip-hop has come a long way since house parties in the Bronx. The genre itself now has dozens of subgenres, along with its own “golden age.” Through the ever-changing styles and sounds, the Bronx has continued to provide talented emcees, producers, DJs and more that push the culture forward. Next up: FadeTheBlackk. A rapper, producer and music photographer, the multi-talented Bronx-born artist has a long list of impressive feats -- and fans are starting to take notice. Vivid Seats spoke with the rising rapper about his borough, his roots, his strategy for success and more.

FadetheBlackk Interview Vivid Seats

Vivid Seats: For those that are unfamiliar, who is FadeTheBlackk?

FadeTheBlackk: Well my real name is Antonio Rosario I’m an independent hip-hop artist and Latin engineer based in NYC. I’ve been pretty low-key in the industry and I actually started off as a song composer collaborating with many mainstream artist on songs as well as album artwork. I would try to do it all or at least “get in where I fit in.” I didn’t even rap at that time, speaking of the early ‘90s, but as I grew up the era of listening to Jay-Z and Nas, and it definitely lit the fire that ignited my rap career -- or should I say led me down a path that made me the artist I am today.

VS: Those that dig deeper will note that you’ve been putting out tracks since the late ‘90s. How has your sound changed over time?

FTB: I feel like over time after going through the trials and tribulations of finding what I wanted my music to sound like, I finally feel like I’ve created my own unique sound. I articulately speak my truths about living in today’s society; “nothing more nothing less.” I like to call it Historic Music, because I feel my music will always be relevant.

VS: How have your Latin American roots impacted your music?

FTB: My Dad is of Puerto Rican descent, so when I was little he used to always speak to me in Spanish, preaching to me on how important it is to learn the language and surround yourself around the Latin community as much as possible. Although I still do not speak the language, I have found myself working with many up-and-coming and established Latin trap artists as an audio engineer. I fell in love with Latin music after working with an artist named Alla Alibaba and he literally opened up the gateway for me in the Spanish community.

VS: I saw that you have an exclusive track, “Time Flies By,” up on your website. You also worked with Warner Music’s distribution platform Level. What other marketing strategies have you employed to grow and retain your fanbase?

FTB: Yeah “Time Flies By” is a track that was put out in memory of the late Mac Miller; it’s actually the same beat he used for “Best Day Ever”. It was my way to show respect to a young legend in the game.

My first purchasable single “Visions” was released through Warner Music Level and generated a little buzz for me, but to keep it going you have to always be ready to self promote and keep a “go hard” mentality. I do a lot of direct marketing and find myself always trying to stay creative when I’m presenting new work.

VS: You’ve done a great job of cultivating a following across your various social media channels. What tips do you have for up-and-comers on that front?

FTB: I’ve found out that ”support equals support.” Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! The people that you are meant to reach will reach will trust your art.

VS: The blog era was so pivotal in rap, but that’s since given way to streaming service playlists. Still, there are a few gems left out there like Lyrical Lemonade, which recently premiered your new track “Cold World.” How important was working with the site and what other hip-hop blogs do you recommend our readers check out?

FTB: One word comes to mind: grateful. The head editor of Lyrical Lemonade, Elliot Montanez, discovered me and gave my music a chance. It was almost like a rebirth to my music, and yes the hype is real. My inquiries have skyrocketed since the song featured was featured on the site, so a big salute to Cole Bennett [the founder of Lyrical Lemonade] and Elliot Montanez. There are many other dope hip-hop blogs to check out HipHopDX, Earmilk, The Source, Complex, Unsigned Heat, Hiphopsince 1987 and Genius are all good reads.

VS: In these uncertain times, what have you done to stay creative?

FTB: I have an in-home studio so I’ve been trying to keep active, although it’s hard with the social distancing we all have to face in this epidemic. I’ve been FaceTiming artists to stay engaged, and texting a lot more than usual.

VS: You’re from New York City, so you know we have to get a top-five list. Who are your all-time favorite rappers from NYC?

FTB: I love and support all artists (lol), but my Top 5 of all-time are Tupac, Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie Smalls and Jadakiss.

VS: Aside from yourself, who’s got next?

FTB:  I see a big upside for Swipey coming out of Fivio Foreign camp. There’s an up-and-coming artist called B*Star from the Bronx, too. I’d like to also mention Femdot from Chicago. In the Latin community, look out for YoungBoss Lzf, Mr Chif and Alla Alibaba in my opinion will all make a huge impact in 2020.

Follow FadeTheBlackk on Instagram and his website.

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