Fashionably dressed in dark sunglasses and a backwards snapback, Rozo Regal does not immediately stand out from the prevailing rap community. Yet as a woman, former foster youth, and lesbian, Rosalind Carter holds an important position as an artist and advocate. Like many of the young residents within the economic confines of Watts, Los Angeles, Carter uses music as a mode of creative expression that cannot be stolen or silenced.
The Watts neighborhood of South Los Angeles has been notorious for racial tension and gang violence since the 1960’s, and job opportunities remain scarce today. In a neighborhood where less than three percent of the population 25 or older holds a four-year degree, kids seldom see secondary education as a viable option. Music offers an escape for artists of the underprivileged youth, and the allure of a possible career for those who succeed.
Carter grew up in the heart of Watts, and began making music with friend and musician Rob Salazar (also known as Galliroc) while attending Locke Charter High School. The pair began producing music under the guidance of various professional rappers and musicians, while simultaneously working towards their diplomas. Their efforts paid off in 2011, when Carter and Galli won Bringin’ Down the House–a competition for high school musicians at the House of Blues in Los Angeles.
Rozo Regal makes unapologetic music, weaving emotional tales of personal struggle and life in a state of urban decay on her new album “The Warm Up.” She collaborated with local artist Tug o Bug for the album, with Rozo on keys & synths while Bug produced drum and verse arrangements. Rozo’s voice shifts from a soulful hum to an abrasive snap with ease as she raps about her image, sexuality, and experiences in the face of adversity. The simple production allows Rozo to perform all her verses freestyle, which she does with aggressive spontaneity. She also collaborated with Rob Salazar on the album’s single “All of You,” a rich, downtempo r&b track that allows Rozo to display some more melodious vocals.
Rozo and Galliroc will be opening for LA-based rapper Bambu –also originally from Watts – at The Echoplex on April 12th. Be sure to check out the single “Presence of Mind” below, produced by Gallirock with verses by Rozo Regal.
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Originally featured on QueenLatifah.com