Ever since hip hop worked it's way from counterculture to mainstream, Texas has had its spot in the game solidified. But most of the props have and continue to go to Houston.
With his certified hit, "RAP," and a buzz that's being felt nationwide, Dallas native Pooca Leroy looks to shift some of that shine towards his home city. Pooca remains independent, but even without the backing of a label, he has garnered the attention of magazines like The Source and Ozone.
In an exclusive interview with BET.com, Pooca talks about why it's important for him to represent Dallas, how he plans on separating himself from the plethora of new artists, and how he hopes to give back to his community.
What's your journey been like, from when you first discovered you could rap up to when you had your first big break.
I was around 15 when I just started playing with it and getting into it. Then when I turned 18 that was when I became really serious about it and I started going to the studio and laying down tracks. My first real big break came about two years ago when I heard my song on the radio for the first time. I was pushing it hard in all the clubs ... and it just kept going from there. It was like a domino effect. Everything started lining up and people started to know who I was and offers started coming in. I really felt like a rapper then.
And with Houston being such a hotbed of both new and established artists, did you ever consider moving that way?
Dallas is where I'm from. I stay in Dallas. I never thought of leaving Dallas. That's where I was born and raised. When I saw Houston gaining serious momentum, I knew it would come back around. Everybody has a run, it's just all about the timing.… It's coming around to where it's Dallas's time now. Our music is being heard in a whole new light. At first it was just a lot of one-lane music, like dance music, and I think now we're actually getting a chance to tell our story, and people in positions of power are getting to hear our music now.
What's been the most memorable mention or compliment you've gotten from a fellow MC or celebrity?
I've gotten a couple mentions on Instagram and Twitter, but I would have to say it was in the studio with Gucci Mane. I'm thinking he's just gonna come in like a regular rapper, be on some Hollywood stuff, lay the track and leave. He actually came in and vibed to it. And this was when Gucci Mane was hot hot. He was like, 'Man, before you even put this remix out with me on, you need to really push this song by yourself.' He said, 'This song bananas and it's gonna take you far, just put it out. Don't even put the remix with me on it out yet.' And I really appreciated that.
You mentioned offers coming in. I know you're independent right now, are you leaning towards staying that route or is a major label deal coming in the near future?
The plan right now is to stay as independent as possible, man, and keep doing it the way we're doing it, because being independent is pretty much the best way, if you can do it right. If it ain't no life-changing deal then stay independent, 'cause we done put in so much time, and money and effort into what we've created from the ground on our own to where you don't wanna just throw it away for a little simple deal.
These days it seems like new artists are coming out daily. How do you plan on setting yourself apart from the pack?
It's all about consistency. You've gotta have your own story. People wanna hear you. Even though they may like Future or Rich Homie [Quan], that's Atlanta. You can't be from Texas trying to rap like Atlanta. Give 'em your own story and they're gonna respect you for that.… And as far as what everybody's used to with the Atlanta sound, all you gotta do is go do a song with these guys that you're trying to sound like and let them do them and you do you on the track and then it's best of both worlds.
What's your long-term vision?
This music is my passion and I love it. It's my favorite, but I want to eventually branch out into the movie thing. Something I always wanted to do was acting. And also clothing. But most of all, after I get it going with the music I want to reach back out to the community and help the kids…build recreation parks and go back and give the kids something to be involved in, football team, baseball team and a lot of that type of stuff…when that first big break comes, that's what I plan to do.
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