If you haven’t heard, Roscoe Umali is the “freshest Filipino” – “ and that isn’t a lie. This Los Angeles native has been making a name for himself on the radio airwaves with his hit single, “Live It Up,” which is currently at the top of the music charts in the U.S. The song features famous Bay area rapper, E-40, and Roscoe’s own childhood friend, J. Black. And, to make things more interesting, the remix of the song also features the infamous R&B singer, Bobby Valentino.If you haven’t heard, Roscoe Umali is the “freshest Filipino” – “ and that isn’t a lie. This Los Angeles native has been making a name for himself on the radio airwaves with his hit single, “Live It Up,” which is currently at the top of the music charts in the U.S. The song features famous Bay area rapper, E-40, and Roscoe’s own childhood friend, J. Black. And, to make things more interesting, the remix of the song also features the infamous R&B singer, Bobby Valentino. However, besides having a hit single, Roscoe Umali has always been in the limelight of success and has truly been a great role model to all, particularly to the Asian American community.
Roscoe Umali graduated from UCLA summa cum laude with a B.A. in History. After college, he had his own advertising company for several years, and then went on to manage a mortgage company in Orange County, California. After quitting the mortgage business, Roscoe entered into the world of hip-hop to emcee. Since he was young, Umali has always had the desire to become an emcee.
“I loved hip hop since I was first introduced to it by my uncle… I’m a fan,” said the emcee. “I started rapping by writing down the lyrics of other hip hop artists. When I saw how easy it looked on paper, I started writing my own raps… that’s how my humble rap career started.”
It is very important to me that I leave a legacy and pave the way for other Asian American emcees coming up in the industry. I want them to be able to look at me and say, “If he can do it, so can I’.
Besides his uncle, the Los Angeles native credits the lack of Asian American emcees when he was growing up in helping him aspire to become who he is today.
“Growing up, there weren’t many role models in hip hop that I could identify with as an emcee, in terms of other Asian Americans,” stated Umali. “There were a bunch of DJs like Qbert and his crew, but no [Asian American] emcees. It is very important to me that I leave a legacy and pave the way for other Asian American emcees coming up in the industry. I want them to be able to look at me and say, “If he can do it, so can I’.”
With that persuasion of thinking, Roscoe has been hitting every mark of success since entering the world of emceeing. For many years, Umali has been displaying his talent as an emcee at numerous parties and clubs throughout Southern California. He has battled it out with the best emcees not only in Los Angeles, but also worldwide, like London, Spain and South Korea. He has even helped produce the multi-platinum albums of South Korean hip hop group, Drunken Tiger, with his ingenious talent.
And, who can forget the song that has made Roscoe Umali’s name known nationwide? “Live It Up” is a feel-good song that came to be a winner with a little help from Fate – “ and, of course, the talents of Roscoe and his friends.
“I met up with E-40 in Medford, Oregon,” recalled Umali, who is under the record label, Artisans Entertainment/AOW Records. “We had a 10 minute conversation in the hotel lobby – “ with him thinking I was someone else! From there, we just hit it off. J. Black is a childhood friend of mine who jumped on the original version of “Live It Up,” which was produced by another childhood friend of mine, Amil G. When it came time for the “Live It Up” remix, it was Amil who reached out to Bobby Valentino, who he went to high school with. The rest is history.”
It’s not only history – “ it’s amazing.
Roscoe has been heard on Los Angeles’ top hip hop radio station, Power 106, appearing on the station’s program, the “Wake Up Show,” for several weeks. The show, which is hosted by Sway and King Tech, is the most listened to hip hop radio show out there and has been around since 1991. In addition, Umali has recently released his first official street album entitled “I Love My DJs.” And to double up the Roscoe Umali music experience, his debut album, “The World’s Finest,” will be hitting stores soon. The debut album will be featuring major hip hop recording artists, including Talib Kweli, E-40, Bobby Valentino, I15, Colby Odonis, Murphy Lee, and Dead Prez as well as the production talent of Amil G., DK ALL DAY, Focus, Illmind, Jellyroll, and DK Khalil. Umali has already labeled it as being a “remarkable” album, but also stated he will “let the public decide that.”
Both the street and debut album include the “Live It Up” single.
And by demand, Roscoe will be coming out with the Roscoe Umali sneaker, which is being released by Vlado Footwear (www.vladofootwear.com). During February, Umali will be having his shoe release party in Southern California, unveiling the hot shoes to all who have been awaiting them anxiously.
It seems like there is no end to the success that has passed Roscoe’s way, but to Umali he just loves being in the moment, enjoying the opportunity to vocally express himself through the world of hip hop.
“Hip hop means everything to me,” said the rapper. “It has given me the opportunity to do what I love to do… . I just want to continue to make good music and grow as an artist. Hopefully, when I’m done, I will have inspired many more to follow in my footsteps.”
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