By Noe Gutierrez
I’ve found that some articles just write themselves. Alex Canela is a young man who I admire for his tenacity and love for his community. I know his family well and the environment in which he grew up. He’s about to be a new father and I know he will excel given the love within his family. I introduce to you Alex Canela (AL RO$$I).
“I’m Alex Canela, also known as Al RO$$I. I was born in Indio, California, delivered at JFK Memorial Hospital on July 29, 1988. You can contact me on any social media; Facebook Instagram Twitter, Google Plus, SoundCloud, etc. I’m a rap artist and I’ve performed in L.A, San Bernardino, Pomona, Riverside, Blythe, San Diego, Santa Ana and of course, the Coachella Valley. I have opened up for The Game, Nipsey Hussle, Kurupt, DJ Quik, TeeFLii, RJ, Joe Moses, Baby Bash, Brown Boy, Sugar Free, Dub C, Compton AV. Spice 1, Paul Wall, The Fanatics and Jayo Felony. I’m currently affiliated with Tiptoe Stallone, Home Invasion Music and Rick Ross Music Group.”
CVW: What does hip-hop/rap music do for you?
RO$$I: “It’s like no other feeling in the world. It helps me get through the day, especially when I’m feeling down and out there’s always a song out there that will pick me back up. It really saves me when I’m feeling lost.”
CVW: When did you start rapping?
“I started rapping in the 5th grade. I was always hanging around my cousins and their friends that rapped.”
CVW: What influence did/does your family had/have on you?
RO$$I: “I would have to say my family plays a big part in me wanting to be a music artist/rapper plus my cousin had his own rap group called “Most Hated” then my father’s dad was a blues player in the South for several blues and church groups. He was a vocalist and guitar player. My father then introduced me to Snoop Dogg and NWA and then I was really sold!”
CVW: What neighborhood are you from and how has it shaped you?
RO$$I: “I was born and raised Indio. I’ve also lived in Bermuda Dunes and La Quinta but spend most of my time Indio. I spent my early childhood in North Indio then we moved to West Indio where my father and his side of the family lived, a part of Indio called ‘Nairobi’. I would have to say that my neighborhood has molded me and made me who I am today with the great guidance from my parents and family that lived in the area. It wasn’t the best place to live because of the violence, drugs and gang activity but it was my home.”
CVW: What is it about your neighborhood that comes through in the music?
RO$$I: “Well, my music pretty much explains the good and the bad of the area. Anything from hood block parties where we would block the streets off, party and BBQ till the sun came up to playing football and basketball in the streets; to tragic deaths of close friends due to violent situations, then police always jamming us up because we were from that area and some nights cops would patrol on foot with the gang task force, so with that said, in some of my songs you can feel the pain and visualize the struggle we went through on the streets we called home.”
CVW: Who do you admire most that’s non-rap/hip hop?
RO$$I: “I would have to say my parents for trying their best to keep me off of the streets and falling into the same problems some of my cousins are in. They’ve showed me to think straight and stay focused with a level head because it’s tricky out there in the real world.”
CVW: If you couldn’t perform rap/hip hop what would you be doing?
RO$$I: “If I couldn’t rap or perform, I would probably be miserable working my boring part-time job stressing about everything; my music is my yoga, it keeps me sane.”
CVW: Where do you visualize rap/hip hop taking you?
RO$$I: “I visualize my music taking me to that next level of success. I have goals set that I have to meet; for example, I have a sister that’s going to need some college funding. I have to get my family out of our living situation and I have a little baby boy on the way that I have to raise. I believe this music can take me anywhere, I just have to put in the hard work for it to really bless me.”
CVW: What would you like to see happen to rap/hip hop in the Coachella Valley?
RO$$I: “What I would like to see for the rap and hip-hop community in our valley is for there to be more opportunities to showcase our talent. Some still might not understand our lane of music, but if you really listen you can hear the story we are telling. Plus the Coachella Valley hosts one of the biggest music festivals worldwide, and I would like for us locals to have the opportunity to rock a stage for Coachella even if it’s a smaller stage. Give the homeland a chance to showcase because some of us really do have the talent to put on a good show. The Coachella Valley needs to be more rap friendly, they cater more to rhythm and blues and rock, which I’m a fan of as well, but it would be nice to be appreciated for the type of art that rap draws out.”