In just a few years Corey St. Rose has made a name for himself and proved that he is a force to be reckoned with in the New York music scene. Hailing from East New York, he continuously proves that he is just getting started and has a lot more in store for his fans. I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his inspirations, influences, his new single and video “New York City” and any goals he has planned for 2022.
Often categorized as a “drill rapper,” Corey St. Rose wears many different hats. He has proven that he cannot be placed into solely one category and is a multi-faceted artist. From his music to his lyricism and content, there is more to St. Rose than meets the eye. He continues to show that he will create his own lane in the music industry, and the versatility of his sound needs no labels. He is a talented rapper, songwriter, CEO of clothing line, True Colors Worldwide, and has also tried his hand at acting and music engineering. St. Rose is known for his hit singles “ZAZA” and “Cheat Code.” He has also previously collaborated with fellow Brooklyn rapper, Smoove’L on the 2020 single “Julius Caesar.”
During our conversation, St. Rose discussed his passion for music, inspirations and what sparked his love for music. We also discussed who he aspires to work with and what influences him.
The Knockturnal: I’m curious to know about your inspiration. So what inspired you to start rapping? What inspired you to just begin a career in music?
St. Rose: It always started with like 50 [Cent]. Like, I always tell everybody Get Rich or Die Tryin’ because I couldn’t watch the movie because I was so young [when it came out] and my brother and my father went to see the movie and when my brother came back, he showed- I think it was on 123movies or whatever it was back in the day. He showed me Get Rich or Die Tryin’ on there- and ever since then, I was just so amazed by the music. You know what I’m saying? Just everything around it. Then that’s how I just got into Kanye, Drake, Lil Wayne and et cetera.
The Knockturnal: So how do you begin your creative process, like when you’re in the studio and you’re getting ready to come up with something? What does that process look like for you?
St. Rose: It could be a lot of things, you know, sometimes I’ll be- I’ll just be chillin and, you know, chillin, smoking, you know, having a couple of homies over, we just, you know, vibing to a beat or whatever. But most of the time recently, you know, I’ve been by myself. I’ve got an indoor studio now. So it’s kind of different, you know? When I first started up, I just had an engineer. I’d go to them and pay them for an hour but once I start having my own space and my own thing, I just like the- it’s just I feeling I have. So it’s not like I have the time limit [anymore] because, you know, when you’re paying for two hours, you’re just thinking about that time limit. Now it’s just like not all the time in the world, but like, oh, everything is here, you know what I’m saying? So that’s that’s one part. And then the second part, as far as me recording, I just freestyle everything right now, not like the whole verse, but like, I punch in. Ill play it out loud and see if I like it, see how it sounds a little bit. I live with my brother, so I’ll call him in my studio if I need another ear and say “yo what you think” and we just vibe to it.
The Knockturnal: Do you find it easier to just find the vibe than to write something down and to have a whole concept? Or have you never recorded like that?
St. Rose: It’s like- it’s 50/50, because I came up from writing, you know what I’m saying? Because it was crazy. I was actually looking at my phone yesterday while I was on the plane coming back from California and one of my favorite rappers around 2014, 2015 was Big Sean and Big Sean was like this big songwriter. He’s one of the great lyricists. So I came up from that era and like [J.] Cole, Rakim and Biggie. Every song is different.
The Knockturnal: So how would you describe your style of music?
St. Rose: Like, get fly music, right? I feel like when you listen to me, you just want to get fly, you just want to get jiggy or you just drive on the highway [and vibe.] I just feel like my music does that, like it gives me that feeling. It gives other people that feeling too. You know what I’m saying? Because I could go anywhere in this world and people just know I’m from New York.
The Knockturnal: What message do you want to give to your fans just about you- like where you come from and the steps it took for you to get to where you are right now? Tell us about your journey within the industry.
St. Rose: It’s not easy, not easy at all. I’ve been doing this for 11 years. At times I wanted to quit. At times I just said, You know, f- this. There’s times when I’d just feel like- yo, it’s not going to work out- but what kept me going was the fact that I just love this sh-. You know what I’m saying? I’ve got a natural love for it. It’s not like, oh, I saw something trending or like a phase. There was no phase. I questioned myself about that. Probably like a year or two ago, [I questioned] if music was a phase for me. I don’t have a manager this year and going forward, just because I don’t have to wait for anybody, I want that [for myself.] Whatever it takes to get that “yes.” I’m going to get that “yes.”
The Knockturnal: So you have a new single, “New York City.” You dropped the video about a week ago and I know you were motivated to make it because you’re from New York and you want to pay tribute, but what’s the real motivation behind the song?
St. Rose: To be honest, now that was another freestyle and I hit up T Blossom, he was on his way to Georgia. I was in the studio, he sent me that beat. I heard the tune and I just went in there and freestyled it. When I heard it back I was like, ‘wow this is fire!’ Just as far as the inspiration around the song, what I was going through at the moment. I felt like certain people believed that I didn’t deserve where I am or had something to say. So the first couple of words ‘I never did a hand out. Tunnel vision, how it planned out. all the ups and downs we here now. I got love in New York. I’m the man now.” That was in response to them. That was mainly just the inspiration. After that, you know, once I get the hook, once I get a solid hook, everything else is money.
The Knockturnal: How did you feel shooting the video?
St. Rose: We shot at 3 or 4 because we went to Citi Field. After Citi Field, we went to 42nd. After 42nd, we went to Yankee Stadium and after Yankee Stadium, we went to Williamsburg and got the Williamsburg Bridge as well. So all that took time. So as far as the inspiration behind it. Honestly, I just want to show New York. I feel like if you’re from New York, you got to be proud of that shit because like I said, I just came back from a trip to California, and they made me even more proud to be from New York because it’s just, our style is just different. Like, I feel like certain places you could tell in our culture. You know what I’m saying? I don’t feel like there are any other places like that. But yeah, it’s a different culture up here. I just love the game. I just love the culture out here forever.
The Knockturnal: So you recently dropped an EP Living Too Fast. What was your favorite song on that project and why?
St. Rose: “Living Too Fast,” because I was in the studio with my boy Davida X and we were just going through beats, he actually lives in Texas, so he was chillin with me, you know, staying with me for a little bit at my studio. And it was like 3:00 in the morning. He made the beat, actually he and T Blossom made the beat. We started recording at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. Then when I started recording, at first I didn’t like it. We both knocked out and woke up the next morning and I replayed it. We both look at each other like wow we made this last night? We knew our track was special. I would also say “Zaza.” “Zaza” is my second favorite. Every time I performed, I could see where I could take my music as far as crowd control and just getting people involved in my shows. I like having shows when everybody’s interacting. You can’t get everybody, but just to get up at least 75 or 80 percent. That’s powerful. When I went to Rolling Loud, Chris Brown performed “With You” everybody was singing it. That touched my soul, he sang it with no beat or anything. [The audience] sang the whole song. That’s dope, that’s the kind of crowd control I want at my shows. Check out “Zaza,” it has 100k views on youtube.
The Knockturnal: I saw on Instagram you had to put up a poll asking if they wanted a new project or they wanted a deluxe project and most of the people voted for the deluxe. So are you dropping it? What’s the status with the deluxe?
St. Rose: No, we’re going to do [the deluxe.] within like the next two weeks to three weeks. Definitely no later than a month. We’re going to get it out and we’re going to keep going. I plan on dropping three projects next year. Not full-on projects but EPs and capsules. Like, I’m really about to experiment and really just show the true artistic side of me. A lot of my songs that really go crazy are the “drill records” but I’m ready to expand and show people what I’m really about.
The Knockturnal: What is your perspective on being from Brooklyn and seeing how artists from Brooklyn have re-energized the New York sound? How has that helped you as a Brooklyn artist or how has it hurt you? I know you said you don’t like being categorized as solely a drill artist.
St. Rose: I like that the beats are fire, everything about a drill beat is fire, the kick, the 808s, hi-hats. But as far as being labeled as a drill rapper, they just put you in a box. You don’t want to be in that box for so long that when you put out different sounding music, people will say it’s wack, because they want that from you. You have to show them the best of both worlds. I notice that anybody that performs on a drill beat is categorized as a drill artist. That’s not always the case. Drill music is about ‘drilling;’ music that is on a drill beat, but doesn’t talk about ‘drilling’ isn’t drill music in my opinion.
The Knockturnal: For 2022, will you still be pushing “New York City” or any new projects in the works?
St. Rose: Yeah “New York City” will be on the deluxe.
The Knockturnal: So for 2022 what other goals do you have? What else can we expect?
St. Rose: I’m definitely going to do a cannabis line. We’re working on that. I’m definitely going to do a new season for my merch. True Colors. We’re doing new ideas for the merch, really just attacking it the right way as far as the brand. Getting better with engineering, shoutout to DaCor and Dom, my engineers. I started producing on the low, just been working and got a few placements from a couple big artists coming up. I want to be here for a long run, I don’t want to be known as just a drill rapper. I don’t talk about killing anybody, I talk about my life. I’m on a drill beat talking about my life. For 2022 I’m just working on everything trying to get better. Even the Living Too Fast project, I actually push the envelope even more, because if you listen to my past projects, I always put one Auto-Tune song, just one. For this project, I had like three of them. Expect this EP, expect great music, and expect for me to be out of my comfort zone next year. You’re going to see me doing a lot of stuff you probably couldn’t picture me doing, but I’m here now. Also, check out True Colors, my brand. https://www.truecolorsworldwide.com and get your merch.
The Knockturnal: Tell me more about True Colors, what does the company represent?
St. Rose: It means realizing the true colors in life. As far as the company and movement, I’m the CEO, we’re just trying to build, besides the music and clothes, I want to sign artists and look for talent. As far as for the community, we’re doing a lot for the community next year- fundraisers, giveaways. As a whole, you will see True Colors everywhere.