With our Western capitalist economy, and our resulting materialistic society, it’s easy to be envious of what others have that you might be “lacking.” At the same time, we all know that it’s hard to stand out from the pack when you’re simultaneously trying to “fit in.” Well, our guest this Saturday is working to overcome both of these human flaws through his rich poetry and creative spirit.
R.O.E. (Real name: Roosevelt Sledge Jr.) literally stands for “Rising Over Envy,” because that is one of his primary motivations in his music career. A native of Chicago’s East side, Sledge had a knack for creative writing and poetry at a young age. In high-school, he combined these talents – which had previously netted him multiple awards – with an interest in hip-hop. Just like a fantastic peanut butter and jelly sandwich, R.O.E. has worked these two elements into something that’s both delicious and nourishing to the senses.
His career began to take off after he was noticed by a wide array of music blogs and websites, which gave his freestyles rave reviews. The Chicago Red Eye took notice of R.O.E. and featured him in their daily newspaper. Shortly afterwards, the Chicago Tribune invited him to play at the Chicago Theatre for their “Chicago Live” show.
R.O.E. recently released his latest mixtape, A Backpacker named R.O.E., which can be found on his official website. Stacked with slick hip-hop beats and driven by R.O.E.’s soulful lyrics, it has become popular with college crowds across the country.
The EP’s lead single, I Won, features R.O.E.’s smooth lyrical flow over a blaring collection of brass horns. The instruments are turned down to keep the track energetic, but “chill” at the same time. He speaks to the struggle of working hard for what you believe in, when he raps, “through the ups and downs I try to remain focused/the lyrics I’m spittin’ is efficient and potent.” While relatively short at only 2:40, “I Won” squeezes in relatable lyrics, soulful vibes, and features female vocals from his guest performer Brecan Bland.
Check out the full track below. If you like what you hear, again, you can download his EP (legally!). And of course, come see him do his thing live and in-person this Saturday!