Salese – The Italian American Hip-Hop Passionist
Salese is Hip-Hop. More than a statement, it is the exact paradigm for Bronx-born Italian American rapper, Salese, an entrepeneur, artist, and overall Hip-Hop passionist. With his mixtape offerings of Family Dinner, Still Hungry, and now the The Main Course, he has been supplying fans and associates alike with quality music. Always the hustler, his work ethic has been noticed by many industry insiders, as well as popular contemporaries. As such you can find him featuring on one of your favorite artists’ tracks or hosting a popular event. No matter what the venue or forum, the name Salese is synonymous with the branding of a quality movement in not only Hip-Hop but entertainment, period. Take notice, as we parlé with Salese.
Parlé: Who is Rob Salese, and who is Salese? Sounds like you got an alter ego thing going on there
Salese: I have to laugh. I’m not even bi-polar, I’m TRI-polar. There’s like three individuals in one. To answer the question, “Robert S. Salese” is the well-educated, overall businessman, “Rob Salese” is the nightlife guru and “Salese” is the artist so I consider myself a triple threat. I can step into any 3 of those personas at any given time. And it’s not a role, because I really am ALL 3. I guess there’s a time and a place for everything. I can debate with you, I can be cool with you and I can turn it up on you. So it’s really a matter of which one comes out when. I’m a chameleon, I can blend into ANY surrounding and feel completely comfortable wherever I’m at.
Parlé: Lets get it to your background a little bit, You are Italian American correct? Have you found it to be challenging as an artist of that descent?
Salese: Yes I am Italian-American, from the Bronx born & raised proudly. I am Reppin’ that Green, White & Red flag. Please understand though, I love my heritage, but I make this music for the ENTIRE world. Being an Italian-American Hip-Hop Artist has had it’s challenges. There are a lot of stereotypes that can come along with being an “Italian Rapper.” I want everyone to know that I am not a “Rapper,” I’m an “Artist” and my lyrics talk about the same things any other race, color or creed would speak about in their music, just from a different perspective.
My music is universal, so it speaks for itself.
Plus Hip-Hop has always had strong associations, ties and references to the Italian culture, so to me it all makes sense and has it’s advantages as well as disadvantages.
Parlé: What would you attribute as the single most influential element in your decision to pursue your artistry and the music industry as a whole?
Salese: Honestly, it’s truly the love I have for the game that keeps me motivated. I love the culture, I love the song writing process, the creative process, the overall product. I am a very “hands-on” artist so to me every step is crucial. At this point, I can admit that I’ve invested more than I’ve seen come back financially, but to me that feeling I get when someone is a true fan or when I step off that stage and the crowd shows me that love, is priceless. I tell people all the time: ‘I love Hip-Hop because I am Hip-Hop.’
Parlé: You have alliances with a certified Hip-Hop Legend, Cold Crush Brothers Almighty Kay Gee, how did that come to be?
Salese: Almighty Kay Gee was my first Manager and I learned a lot from him. Under his management, I was able to grow as an artist. Kay Gee set up a few positive situations for me artist-wise; unfortunately they didn’t quite pan out the way we expected
But that’s the business. When its all said and done I was able to build and break bread with a Pioneer in this game. So I am grateful for that. Shouts to Almighty Kay Gee & The Legendary Cold Crush Brothers. Do your homework young bucks…
Parlé: Can you put this statement into perspective for us:
“SaleSe feels the need to give the music business what it’s been lacking…
Creativity, a fresh perspective, a reason to party and a dose of that New York City reality… ”
Salese: I mean, not to make this a race thing because in my opinion it’s truly and completely not about that at all, but there has never been a truly well rounded, well versed, non-gimmick, pure Caucasian Hip-Hop Artist to ever come out of New York and make it BIG… No disrespect to any Caucasian that came out of NY, but when I say BIG I mean on a global scale. And then an Italian Hip-Hop Artist? I feel like what I’ve been through, what I’ve seen, what I’ve done, what I have to say is something that the people, all people, need to hear. My music is not one dimensional and there is something for everyone on every project I put together; not to mention I’m New York to the BONE. I feel it’s time for the world to hear the game from a fresh perspective. Salese can provide that!
Parlé: What can the people expect from you as you seek to pursue that objective? You have been fortunate enough to be around for a while and truly experience all that the industry has to offer, both the highs and lows, how have you remained hungry in this game?
Salese: Without a doubt the people can always expect to get 100% ME! I am a grinder, a hustler a mover and a shaker. I’ve never been one to sit around and wait for things to happen, or to be given to me. I make my own things happen; I invest in myself, I market myself, I navigate my own path. I know the work ethic is there and the music is quality. At this point, It’s about taking it to that NEXT level. I have stayed hungry and managed to keep myself fairly relevant by being consistent; By being tangible, I’ve shown that I’m not stopping until I get to where I need it to go. No red lights, no stop signs, no brakes… Go is all I know…
Parlé: Thus far what would you consider your greatest accomplishment, career wise?
Salese: It’s hard to pinpoint a “greatest accomplishment” because I feel I have so much more to conquer. Being able to learn from Pioneers first hand, collaborate with some of the hottest artists in the game, hear my songs on FM radio, XM radio, and Internet radio have been a blessing. Add to that the accomplishement of seeing myself in magazines and being able to occasionally even get paid to perform, to do what I love is great! Consistently releasing quality music and videos has helped me develop a fan base. I’ve also been able to meet and build with some great people along the way; I consider ALL of those things “great accomplishments.” The greatest part is that I’m just getting started. Stay tuned…
Parlé: That battle with you and Kanye, as you look back on it now, what do you take away from that moment? A stand off with arguable one of the most creative personalities the industry has seen?
Salese: Well, it was more of a “cipher” than a battle, but to have that man, a musical genius, world renowned producer and artist listen to me kick a freestyle, while nodding his head and grinning at my punchlines; from that point if I ever had any doubt, it was eliminated. I knew I had a place in this game. We were going in for at least 20 minutes or so and it was just raw, pure Hip-Hop in it’s truest form. No mics, no studios, no egos, no fronting for the cameras, just pure, good ol’ fashion Hip-Hop. It is definitely something I will never forget. Hopefully if/when we do our first collaboration together, God willing, I can break out the footage and make him see how far we’ve all come… (laughs).
Parlé: Your mixtape catalog is very impressive, Family Dinner, Still Hungry on up to The Main Course which was the most recent to drop correct? How do you feel that you have grown in your craft, and where are you as an artist today?
Salese: The Main Course dropped June 30th and although the first 2 mentioned were great projects, this one is receiving the most notoriety thus far. In my opinion its due to the diversity of the project. I’ve grown as an artist immensely, from Family Dinner to Still Hungry to The Main Course and now I make the music that I want to make instead of focusing on trying to make songs that sound a certain way or are “mainstream.” I’m comfortable in my own skin and I don’t want to be put into any “box” like, “Oh Salese is THIS kind of artist or THAT kind of artist,” Nah. Salese is Salese. I’m not trying to sound like or make songs like anyone but Salese.
Parlé: As a BX representative I see you have done well repping your birthplace, and Hip-Hop’s as well, you have tracks with nearly everyone worth mentioning; can you speak on that BX camaraderie which is so evident in the music that we hear today, and what are your plans going forward to sustain that as a hallmark?
Salese: To quote my homie Lord Tariq “But if it wasn’t for The Bronx, this Rap shit probably never would be going on, so tell me where you from…” No disrespect to anywhere else on this planet, but I’m a BX representer and wouldn’t have preferred to grow up anywhere else in the world. I am a New Yorker to the heart! I love the pulse and diversity of the city, so it’s only right I convey that in my music, my attitude, and my image. I’ve been blessed to work with some very successful artists overall, as well as some very successful Bronx artists and that makes it all the more beautiful. To work on the thing you love with artists that you respect that all represent that same grind that you came up in, that’s Hip-Hop. I’ve worked with artists from ALL over the world, literally, and I hope to continue to work with even more. The camaraderie that we have in the Bronx is incomparable. We all need to support eachother. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Parlé: On the business side you have taken initiative on a new venture correct, with Cozy Conditions/Single Life Studios, let the people know whats up with that.
Salese: I’m a hustler, so I like to keep my hand in many pots, so to speak. So my Engineer, Ivan AKA “Uncle Ive” Ramirez and I decided it was time to upgrade our recording facilities a bit to give us a better environment to create that magic in. So that’s what we did. We collaborated and now home base is looking even better. We’re also working on a Production Company as well. That’s just 2 of the ventures I’m currently involved in. It’s out there, you just gotta go and get it…
Parlé: Nightlife guru is one of the other hats that you wear, where can the people find you @ partying it up and doing the kinds of things you like that do?
Salese: Well, I was a Managing Partner/General Manager of a very popular night spot called The Gallery Lounge in The Bronx for 5 years. I was there Thursday-Saturday night for 5 years straight which didn’t allow me to move around as much as I would have liked to. We recently closed our doors and although I met some great people over the years while running The Gallery Lounge, it’s given me the opportunity to branch out and get back onto the scene and focus more on Salese as an artist…
But I am currently “overseeing” a weekly party in The Bronx as well as performing at and hosting various events throughout the tri-state area so I’m out here more than ever…
Parlé: Lastly let the people know about any projects and music that they should be supporting (of yours) and how they can stay in touch and witness your movement
Salese: Well, I just released The Main Course mixtape/album so I’m pushing that hard right now. I just dropped the first video for the single, “Rocky Balboa” featuring Ron Browz and the second video “One More Day” featuring Anayka is on the way. I got a bunch of shows and interviews lined up and I’m doing a lot of collaborations with other artists for various projects to keep that strong networking going on, plus I’ll be popping up with a few cameos here and there on a couple of reality tv shows. I’m definitely working hard. I feel like it’s my time. It’s been a long time coming but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Italians in the Rap game. Andiamo!!!
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