Roscoe Dash knows things that other people don’t, and he’s made a living off of most of it. We recognized it first with 2010's "All the Way Turnt Up," when he had the foresight to popularize a terminology that became ubiquitous not just in rap, but in pop culture at large. Next we saw it with his penchant for a songwriting ability that our favorite rappers coveted. Another thing he knew that other people didn’t, were his writing credits, which he was more than happy air out on Twitter (just ask Meek Mill).

Though extremely divisive in appeal, Roscoe was followed by a buzz that was building to a cacophony. He was at The Mercer with Kanye West, on the 2012 XXL Freshmen cover, and he was hip-hop's go-to hooksmith. And then? Silence. He left his fans, and plenty of haters, with a question that once again only he knew the answers to: “Where is Roscoe Dash?”

It’s a sentiment that’s been so universally expressed that Roscoe recently turned #WHERESROSCOE into not only an interactive marketing campaign, but the basis for his next tour. Back this time as Roscoe 2.0 (consider him the new software after the reboot), he’s again making a move to capitalize off of the knowledge he has and that others want. He dropped his self-produced single “Right Now” earlier this month, and he’s poised to release a dual documentary/mixtape project that sheds light on his role in the game. The question then becomes how exactly he’ll be received in an unforgiving industry that values consistent output as a core tenant.

We spoke to Roscoe 2.0 about why thinks he’s finally ready to do what he set out to do years ago.—Rachel Chesbrough

XXL: You were part of the 2012 XXL Freshman Class. It looked like you were set to dominate, but then we didn’t really hear anything from you, until now. What happened during that time?
Roscoe Dash: I think for me, what I was really tryna focus on was just making sure that I revamped myself. I don’t think I was really happy with myself at that particular point in time, or content enough to be able to do the things that I’m set up to do right now. I took some time to get better, you know producing my own music from scratch, takin’ a little bit of vocal coaching, and just a lot of different things that are gonna help me excel and prepare myself in the near future. So that’s kinda what it was about for me. Tryna remain timeless; that’s kind of my big thing.

A lot of your peers from that issue (Macklemore, Iggy, Future, etc.) really capitalized on that momentum. How did it affect you to watch that as you were forced to hold off for a minute?
For me, any time I can be around some positive people that’ll go on to do some positive things, I’m always gonna support anything that’s positive and dope. All of the people that were on that Freshman cover were very dope and organic in their own way and they all had their own fanbase. And that’s another thing that I’m really big fan of, is people who can kind of cater to their core audience and you know, do things that pertain to them instead of just tryna fit in and do the things that everybody else is doing. I always think every time I see them or talk to them it’s always love, it’s always congratulations and all kinda stuff like that.

What are some of the difficulties as you see it, of staying relevant and hot right now?
I think that one of the things, especially with me coming from Atlanta, everybody out here is very trendy. Same thing whenever I go to LA. Everybody is stuck in what they’re used to. It’s all about tradition and what people have always done. And so for me it’s kinda just been about removing those barriers and removing those guidelines and letting people know that it’s OK to think outside of the box. I think that’s one of those things that separated up North music from down South music for a really long time is that, you know people were used to certain BPMs and music being a certain type of way. And so now, with us being in 2014, I mean the world was supposed to end three times by now! [Laughs] It’s a lot of things that was supposed to happen so I feel like it’s important to capitalize on where we’re at today.

Speaking of the South, is there anyone you’re feeling from the new class out of Atlanta?
I’m actually supportive of all of them to be honest. I really am a fan of K Camp just because of my own personal relationship with him and just watchin’ him grow from the ground up. I remember back when I was first startin’ my career we was all doin’ the same thing, we was workin’ out of the same studio, so to see somebody else strive and come from that is dope. I also like Rich Homie a lot. He’s killin’ the hood game right now.

You’ve been dropping some singles lately and people are paying attention again. Tell me what you’ve been working on.
I just released a record called “Right Now,” which is basically my statement that I’m coming back and I’m doing something that’s different. I think of all the people that I’ve played the record for, the response has always been that’s it’s different. A lot of people are taken aback to where they can’t even give a response other than that. Which is actually dope for me because it lets me know that what I’m doing is working. People are really used to Roscoe Dash sounding a specific way, and so any time that I can keep people guessing, or make it a little bit harder for people to copy what I got going on, I’m all for that. So I’m just about staying organic and just really creating dope music that people are gonna enjoy and party to and feel good about. That’s the main thing that music is supposed to be used for is making people feel good and having a good time. So as long as they doing that, I’m good.

We’ve seen promo and a teaser for the documentary you’re getting ready to drop, what can we expect from that project and why is it important for fans to check out?
Yeah it’s actually a documentary DVD and it comes with a soundtrack. The documentary is called The Untold Story of Roscoe Dash. It basically gets into my story behind being the hook guy, or the guy on the last verse, or the guy that’s getting into it on Twitter, and all the other stuff with the writing credits. It just kind of explains the whole ordeal, 'cause I think people are just used to hearing Roscoe Dash as being associated with a hook, they probably don’t realize any of the other things that are associated with me outside that. So that’s my chance to really get to tell my story, and I’m just gonna give ‘em some new music that’s actually a lot different than the music that they’ve heard from me in the past as well on that soundtrack. The soundtrack explains my life a little through music.

So the While You Were Sleeping mixtape is being released simultaneously as the soundtrack for the documentary?
Yeah there’s a soundtrack with the documentary that’s gonna come out on the same day in conjunction with that, and that’s the While You Were Sleeping project. Don Cannon produced a lot of records on that, as well as Mike Maven. I got up with Big A out of Florida, just a lot of different people, a lot of different sounds that people aren’t used to hearing me with.

Any features on there you’re excited about?
I have a couple different features: Juvenile, Curren$y, Big A, Scotty ATL, a couple different people.

What’s the release date for the whole dual project?
I was actually supposed to put it out back in February. I promoted up until the day-of, and then went on this #WHERESROSCOE campaign that I’m on right now. What I’m gonna do with that is, we’re gonna turn that into a tour and we’re gonna drop everything simultaneously based off of the #WHERESROSCOE campaign. So it’s kinda just one of those things where they gotta wait on it, and we’re just gonna spoon feed ‘em what we have in the meantime while we prepare that.

Ok so break down the #WHERESROSCOE campaign. How can people interact with the movement?
It actually came about with me going to look on social media and realizing that the main phrase associated with Roscoe Dash was “Where’s Roscoe?” So I was like why not take that and do something cool with it, and kind of tune in to the people? Because the people who were asking were the people who have been fans, the people who were listening to the music, who were downloading our stuff and supporting us as a whole. So I just wanted to take the time to kind of give back to them. So what’s associated with the #WHERESROSCOE tour is, we have merchandised T-Shirts, beach balls, things of that nature. My shows are crazy so I always like to have things that are abstract and make the performance all the more better. But whenever they go and they purchase these things off of our website, they subscribe and when they subscribe they enter for the chance to either release one of the new records through their Twitter, or to actually get a free show in that region, wherever they’re selling the most merchandise. So it’s a lot of different things to tune in to those people who are tuned in to us.

You’ve also been in the news lately due to reigniting of the Meek Mill beef. What’s your take on that situation? Is it really beef or just jokes?
I wouldn’t really call it a beef man, it was just something funny man. Anybody who knows me knows Meek Mill has to be crazy to think that he ain’t getting any money. It’s not necessarily one of those things. People who know me and know what I do have to be crazy to think that I’m not getting any money. So I think it was just one of those things where it was just the perfect time for me to take that jab back from like 2 years ago so I just thought it was funny to tweet that one since the situations were similar.

Your credits boast some huge hits for other rappers. Do you ever worry about giving your best song writing to other artists?
Not at all actually, and I’m glad you asked that question because something I get asked a lot is “why do you give away these records,” like the “No Hands” and “Marvin Gaye And Chardonnay.” To be honest, “Marvin Gaye And Chardonnay” was a record that sat on my computer for like 2 years and I didn’t really know how to attack it from the verse perspective. So I had done the hook a while ago and I was sitting there and thinking about it, and when I finally got my chance to go meet with 'Ye when he brought me out to go in The Mercer for the Watch The Throne project, that was one of the records I played when he asked me what I had going on with my own personal stuff.

I was actually ecstatic that he asked me what I had going on for myself, so that was one of the first things I played-I wanted to play the most abstract record. And as soon as I played that one, in the first 10 seconds he was like, “Man gimmie that!” So I actually thought he was gonna put that on the project but 2 weeks later Sean had it, and it turned out to be a smash. Same thing with “No Hands.” “No Hands” was on the spot, there was nothing that sounded like that before then. So I just wanted to make sure that if I can make a bigger play by giving it to somebody else who probably never would’ve been able to do a record like that, or never would’ve thought to do a record like that, with the specific audience that the song is pertaining to, then that’s a big move for me so I’m all for it. Always.

You sent out some tweets a while back about retiring from the hook game. What prompted you to say that?
That’s funny ‘cause I was just talking to another songwriter yesterday about this. Whenever you write these songs for people and you do these hooks and all this other stuff and you’re really just playing to the strengths of your craft, and they end up places that they’re not supposed to end up, and I just wake up and there’s a “Roscoe Dash featuring so and so from wherever,” it just one of those things that gets frustrating. Because your music is like your child, your music is like your baby, and everyone is gonna wanna protect they children. We all watch our kids go to school the first day of school and get on the school bus. And we stand there and make sure they gone be safe to go to school and then come home. So it’s just one of those things where when you’re stuck in that place you gotta send the S.O.S out.

So I just took a break from that. But I think that was more of, it came from a lot of different things. I’ll say that I was really arrogant back then and all this other stuff, which is kinda why I had to take the funny route, the jab back at Meek with the “must not be gettin’ no money” thing. Because I was arrogant back then and I felt like, we don’t do music to make music, we do music because we love to make music and we just so happen to get paid off of it. So whenever somebody gets beside that fact, it’s just one of those things that you always have to stay conscious of in order to be the best that you can possibly be and keep sending out those vibes that you need to send out to these people to keep them positive. Otherwise the world is gone be fucked up and it’s gone be crazy out here.

We’ve started to see that with you recently, you’ve talked about switching up your image, and then the “Roscoe 2.0” name change. What’s your intention with that?
I’m basically just evolving. When I first came in I was 18 going on 19. A lot of people don’t realize how young I was back when "All the Way Turnt Up" came out. So when we had the biggest record in the country with “No Hands,” I was 20 years old, I couldn’t even drink liquor back then. So when I’m growing up and I’m maturing as a man, I’m maturing as a father, I’m maturing as all these different things, there’s a lot of other things that change with it. When we change as people the things we believe in change also, so we have to really take the time to sit down and pay attention to what you’re displaying to these people and how you want to be perceived. Perception is everything, so this time around I really just wanna take the time to make sure I’m perceived the right way and not just as “the hook guy” or the guy who makes the dope records and has the last verse or whatever.

Sounds like that might translate into stepping up the lyricism?
Absolutely, from every aspect. That’s kinda like the other thing that played a major part in me not doing any hooks anymore and taking a break from putting records out altogether. When you’re doing something and you become really good at, it kinda loses its interest. You kinda lose interest in being good at something. So you wanna take a break from being good at one thing to come back and be good at 2,3,4,5. So that’s why I picked up the producing, that’s why I picked up the vocal coaching and really singing and doing different things to express myself in a different nature than what it was back then, but still giving them the elements that they loved back then at the same time.