"Roaches," the title track from experimental producer Celestial Trax and NYC MC Rozay Labeija's upcoming EP, has its premiere on The FADER today. What unites the songs on the EP is an embrace of the stark reality with no time or patience for half-stepping allies or full-on haters. On "Roaches," each of Rozay's verses amongst the cloud-trap production alchemize both the oppression he faces as a queer person of color and what he witnesses in his communities into fierce bars and revealing stories.
"'Roaches' is another song on this EP about strength," Rozay told The FADER over email. "The main narrative is more personal because I'm talking about being colored, queer, dark skinned, and poor. These are more than identities, they're realities I'm experiencing everyday. The closer I get to this dream of mine the more apparent these labels are. When I'm 'smoking these roaches' I'm inhaling my oppression, and exhaling the negativity that comes with it. Clearing my mind to fight another day.
"I loved the storytellers in hip-hop when I was growing up. Its something I love doing in my music and I felt it was something that would help bring this project home. That last verse is less about me and more about my community. it's a story about people in my community and what influenced them to smoke their 'roaches.' Broken glass, single mothers, prison pipelines, these are realities. And if you made it through all that to see the age of 21, you're more than just a survivor, you're a God among men."