I was interested in Milwaukee native Rob Hicks the moment his manager hit me up about his up coming debut single (look out for that on the 26th). I hit the private link, then hit his SoundCloud page and noticed, so far, he’s only released one song . It’s titled 3 Minutes of Paradise. Unprofessionally before pressing play I expected to hear a soothing beat and some light vocals/bars. I was happily mistaken.

After one listen I knew that this guy would have staying power in the industry. He knows his sound (you’ll learn why below) and is incredibly confident. I’ve heard the new single…pretty sure it’ll blow you away. In the email his manager sent me, he revealed he has unreleased material from some big names in the hip hop industry. I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand why his first drop on SoundCloud garnered so many plays. All my questions were answered, and then some. Below is the conversation we had where I learned about the inspiration for 3 Minutes, why it’s taken so long for him to put out music, and his debut EP.

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Hey Rob! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. For those unfamiliar, who are you? Answer in any way you’d like.

Hey. Thanks for having me . I’m extremely excited for this. But my name is Rob Hicks, I’m an independent artist out of Wisconsin. Racine to be exact. Im 25 , I’m a huge music junkie, and I enjoy spending time with my fam if I’m not doing anything music related. That’s really it, I have no life.

Your debut single is coming out on the 26th. This will be your second song on SoundCloud.

Yep yep , November 26th. I’ve waited quite some time for this day to come. But yeah, it’s my second track technically. I really don’t count the 3 minutes of paradise joint, but I’m grateful for the response that it got…wasn’t expecting it to be received the way it was.

Would you describe yourself as strategic in what you release? What is your philosophy on that?

Aw most definitely. You have to have a plan for everything you do, especially in this industry. I don’t think you’ll get far if you don’t. I use to just upload stuff to SoundCloud, and kind of go with the flow on things. Now it’s completely the opposite. Everything is always set up prior to the release. Things are more organized, and everything gets done far more efficiently this way.

You put out an impressive debut track titled 3 Minutes Of Paradise that quiet honestly blew me me away. How long did it take to craft that? 

Thank you. That means the world to me, seriously. 3MOP was basically me stringing together a number of tracks that I’ve been working on all year. Like some of the stuff you heard was recorded in the early months of the year, and then you have pieces that was recorded a few weeks ago. So it was dope putting all of that together in one track. I’m really glad you enjoyed it.

I played back 3 Minutes multiple times when I first heard it as I was very interested in the instrumental interludes towards the middle. Tell us about that.

Nice!! Gave me a few extra plays (laughs.) Thanks ! But those interludes were basically from tracks that you’ll hear from me in the future . Like all of those songs are finished. I didn’t want to give it too much away though so I thought it would be cool to give people a taste of the production. It all correlated together so I was satisfied with it.

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I’m sure you have tons of music in the vault. What made you drop this specific song?

I do I do, but this song sort of indicates what’s to come in the future. I feel like giving people samples and snippets is a fresh and innovative way to get your fans and supporters stoked without actually dropping music. 

What artists have you worked with and why hasn’t it been released?

I’ve worked with a ton of people, especially this year. I just wrapped up a song with the homie Ted Park a few nights ago. He’s become one of my favorite new artists honestly. I did some stuff with Trapo who’s killing shit earlier this year. That’ll be out soon. Let’s see who else ? Sincerely Collins. He was actually the first guy in the industry that I worked with. So I’ll always have love for the homie out of Phoenix. Many more tho, I don’t wanna say too much again (laughs.) There’s really no other reason why these tracks aren’t out though except for timing. Like I feel when we release all of these in the coming weeks and months, that will be the perfect time for them to surface.

How long have you been prepping for your music career? What have you done to gear up for this new chapter of your life?

Professionally, only a few years. Like I’ve been addicted to writing music since I was like 9 years old, but I didn’t honestly wanna pursue a career in it until I was like 20 or 21. And even then I enjoyed making music, but didn’t think making an actual career out of it would be feasible. Over the course of time that changed. I’ve done a ton of research on the industry and how it actually works, and it’s helped me get mentally prepared for everything that’s to come. 

What was the first hip hop song or album you heard? How old were you and how did it impact you?

The first album I heard ? Damn that’s hard. I honestly think it was the Lights Out album by Lil Wayne back in like 2000. I heard hip hop music before that of course, but that was like the first album I connected with and actually sat down and listened to all the way through. It had a huge impact on me. It literally made me want to start writing music . Everybody thought they was one of the Hot Boys back in the day you know (laughs.)

Was there a specific moment in your life when you knew you wanted to create music and work towards a career?

I don’t know about a specific moment but I honestly hated school and I hate having to work for someone. Like I hate clocking in and clocking out even though it’s something that we have to do to survive. When I make music I feel like I’m my own boss and I’m in control of everything. That’s a feeling that I don’t ever wanna let go.

What music do you like to listen to? What inspires you creatively?

I listen to all types of music and musical artists. I like the new school. I’m a big Jazz Cartier Fan, along with Goldlink, Danny Brown, Joey Badass, Saba, Travis Scott, etc. Then of course everyone done had a Kanye phase. I like some rock shit too, or metal. I fuck with Metallica, imagine dragons, all that. One of my favorite artist of all time is Rick James tho. I’m inspired by a lot of things and a lot of artists but I feel that it’s important to always stay true to yourself as an artist. It’s easy to start making similar music to people you listen to, but if you know your style, brand and what you can and can’t do, you’ll be good. So I try to be as original as possible , but in a creative way.

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What is the plan for 2017? What can we look forward to?

My debut EP will be here next year! That’s the main thing. Plus I’m dropping a ton of music with some of your favorite rappers in 2017 so  it’s lit all around. I can’t wait till the calendar turns again. I’m excited for what’s to come. The producers varied (on the EP.) My guy Seym produced a couple joints on it. Then you have other producers like Medasin and Larkin who was on it as well. Then of course you have the homie C-Sick who’s produced for everyone from Chance the Rapper to logic. So it was dope hoping on all sorts of production.

Thanks again for giving us your time! Any last thoughts, shout outs, or words of wisdom? 

No thank you!! Best interview I’ve ever done. But yeah, shouts out to the fam, shouts out to everyone supporting the movement, and shouts of to my Thriftsoul mob, skwaad! (Laughs.) Thank you Julie!