Press Lives Matter: Victor Ulloa, Founder of Rosecrans Ave
Written by Greg Harris
In our interview series, "Press Lives Matters", it shines the light on different individuals in the industry who have their ears and eyes on what's next in their respective industry. The Los Angeles scene has been experiencing a resurgence with its large scale of artists who are coming out at the moment and the fact that this scene has also been nurtured by the growing media outlets emphasizes the magnitude of coverage these artists are getting in the area. It's inspirational to say the least but it's also monumental as well in the grand scheme of things because this will lay out the foundation for the New L.A.
One of the primary sources of content in Los Angeles is the budding + boundary-breaking outlet, Rosecrans Ave. The blog and radio show has played an essential role into the modern media scene in the West Coast, and it's been a launching pad for the likes of 03 Greedo, Shoreline Mafia, The Stinc Team, Rucci, and more budding artists in Los Angeles. We recently had the oppourtuntity to speak to the brains behind the operation, Victor Ulloa.
In our conversation, Victor gave us insight on why he named brand behind the famous Rosecrans Ave, the moment he fell in love with music, the foundation of the show, being a trail-blazer in modern L.A. Culture, and more.
Read the interview below.
How’s Your Modern Life?
My Modern life is good bro. I'm working and doing exactly what I love doing, radio, managing artists, writing about music, putting people in positions to win. I'm truly blessed.
What are three things you have to do when you first wake up?
I'm gonna tell you what I do now, but I'm gonna tell you what I want to do going forward. When I first wake up, I usually check my phone, make sure I didn't oversleep. Secondly, check Twitter and Instagram and make sure nothing crazy happened in hip-hop while I was asleep. Third, try to plan out my day in my head. But what I want to do instead is begin my day by meditating, thanking God and reading something positive.
Coming up in Los Angeles, how was your upbringing?
My upbringing was filled with ups and downs. The first half of my life was good, two-parent household, my parents worked hard and had good jobs. I was raised in Lennox, CA, it's a tiny town by the infamous city of Inglewood. Very hood, always shootings, gang activity or some type of bullshit going on outside. But it's a real community at the same time where everyone knows each other and it was like growing up in a small town even though we're in LA.
Then, when I was 9 years old my parents moved my sister and I to Bellflower, a safer city with a better school district. My parents got divorced a few years later and shit got hectic. My mom moved every 6 months all over LA, Orange County and Palm Springs and I'd live with her part-time in those places and went to school in Downey until I graduated.
Knowing that Los Angeles has always had some type cultural significance no matter the time, how would you explain the essence of LA during your childhood/adolescence?
To me, LA was always the shit when it came to music. LA hip hop was a hall of fame, all-star team in my childhood. We had Dre, Snoop, Pac, Nate Dogg, Ice Cube, Westside Connection, Tha Doggpound, Xzibit, then The Game. My Dad had me at 19, so he was blasting all these artists in the car nonstop. It was around me my whole life. My parents were so young, this was their era and I lived it with them. When Napster and Limewire came out, I was able to discover artists from New York, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, and more.
Growing up, When was a time you felt like you were in love with music?
I feel like I always loved music, thanks to my parents. But a time I became a super fan or stan, was when Eminem first came out. When I first heard "My Name Is" I was hooked.
During this time, what music from this era played an instrumental part of your life and why?
I was obsessed with Em's music and I discovered him on my own. My parents didn't like me listening to him. But I had a walkman, I borrowed my cousin Kevin's Marshall Mathers LP, and I never gave it back. That changed my life.
Before diving into the show, what cultural significance of Rosecrans Ave inspired you to go in a route making it a centerpiece for your platform?
There are a few reasons I chose Rosecrans Ave as the name of the brand. A personal reason, which I've never shared is that since we moved around a lot, when I'd see Rosecrans Ave I felt close to home, whatever that meant. My grandma lived off Rosecrans in Hawthorne and my Dad lived off Rosecrans in Bellflower, my great grandpa lived off Rosecrans in Compton It always signified home, and family to me.
Also, the crazy story too which I found out after the brand was established Mom told me she used to sell Roses in the street on Rosecrans when I was a newborn to get extra money for me. Another reason was because of YG and Kendrick being from Rosecrans. They were booming in LA and everywhere else at the time (2014). It was inspiring to me that we were raised on the same street a few miles away and they were reaching mainstream success. The third reason is I wanted to put on for my section, I wanted to show people the real LA. Melrose and Fairfax aren't the real LA, that's the tourist side. If you drive up Rosecrans it's 27 miles long, you go through Norwalk, Bellflower, Downey, Paramount, Compton, Gardena, Hawthorne and you end up at beautiful Manhattan Beach. You can see the good, bad and the ugly of LA by driving up that one street.
In the process of taking upon this endeavor, did you intend on being one of the primary voices for the emerging new “LA” culture?
Man, when I first started four years ago I really just wanted to be acknowledged as having a dope LA blog. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be a voice or behind the scenes. Now, to be interviewed and referred to as a leader of this New LA movement is kinda wild to me. I embrace it though because I love LA. I’ve been championing it for years now and putting the groundwork in connecting the dots and marketing these artists. I just want us all to keep growing together.
"So far, multiple artists have been offered million dollar deals when they have our co-sign, Cypress co-sign, Jeff’s co-sign, TK and Picaso’s co-sign, Hefstradamus’ co-sign. That seems like the winning recipe right now. I want to keep that going, I want to get rich with everybody I know. I want my son to know all the sacrifices I made were worth it for not only our family, it helped multiple families change their lives for the better. "
Another interesting aspect of Rosecrans Ave is the fact that you’ve developed one of the strongest and dedicated teams in LA. With having the likes of Cypress Moreno, Outkast Marcoss, and Giggles Irene, you’ve created a team that’s growing on their along with the brand. How did you come across all of these talented individuals?
First off, I love my team. They’re the reason for the success of Rosecrans Ave. I can’t do this alone. When I first started it was just my guy Charles Salway and I doing everything, and one writer, shoutout Jaime. Charles did the graphics and videos that made us look legitimate and helped tell me if something I did or posted was wack. Everyone else has came around more recently.
Cypress and I met because we were doing the similar things in LA. He was DJing, blogging and had a dope radio show and it was a mutual respect from the jump. We first collaborated on a Rosecrans Ave Summertime Mix in 2015, then we started sharing music a lot. I started doing events in 2016 and I started to book him to DJ them, they would go up so we kept working together. Then, in 2017 I asked him to be the DJ/Cohost for a radio show I was developing, he agreed and it’s been magic ever since.
Marcos, I met him through my artist 3rd, they went to school together and he was doing graphics, videos and merch with him. He always impressed me with how dope his work was but also how he was a hustler, he’d just make shit without you asking if he knew you needed it. We started working together officially in November of 2017 when I needed a camera guy to shoot my Rosecrans Radio interview with Yung Gleesh. I told him about an hour before he had to be there and he was there immediately. He worked really fast and did great work. We kept working together, shooting interviews around LA and at Rolling Loud. He did so good he caught the attention of my guys TK and Picaso who manage Shoreline Mafia, Drakeo and Stinc Team and he works with them full time now, traveling with them, being a rockstar.
Irene, is the real MVP. She’s vastly improved the quality and organization of Rosecrans Ave since she came on board in September of 2017. I’m so grateful to have her on our team. She had her own blog which I thought was dope so I reached out. Then, we met when she came with Meez and Mittee Gang when we interviewed them on Rosecrans Radio. After that, she became a writer for the website and a producer/co-host for the radio show.
Someone else on the team who is behind the scenes is Kali. He’s my business partner in Rosecrans as of recently, and we co-manage Big $wift. I brought him in to take Rosecrans Ave to the next level from a business aspect. He’s great at monetizing and strategizing so I’m excited about our partnership.
It’s one thing to have a platform in LA but it’s certainly another when it’s attached to brands such as Dash Radio and XXL. How did things come about and do you feel it’s giving you the perfect launching pad for enhancing the Rosecrans Ave brand?
We started doing the show back in 2014 at Long Beach Community College, the studio was a tiny room that used to be a broom closet. I did the show for one semester but chose not to continue it so I could focus on building the blog and its brand. I always wanted to bring it back but it needed to be the right situation. I met the homie DJ Trexxx who worked for DASH at the time and he invited me to DASH and told me to make a formal pitch for the show in 2016. It was originally supposed to be my amazing friend and writer Marina Moreno, Cypress and I. It fell through at the time, but in January 2017 I decided to ask Trexxx again for another chance to pitch it. Although he didn’t work for DASH anymore, he linked me with Litza who did and we pitched the show, did a demo and we got it. Our first episode aired in early May 2017. Our show was moved to XXL’s station at the beginning of 2018 because of our popularity.
Throughout all the episodes you put out so far, what has been some of your favorites on the show?
Off top, my favorite episode has to be The Stinc Team episode. Free the whole Stinc Team btw. Other episodes I think are fire include Adam22, Shoreline Mafia, R Baron, Larry June, Maxo Kream, T.Y.E., and GuapDad4000.
Throughout this pipeline this of talent that’s from LA now making it onto the national stage, it’s shifting the difference in the way people are receptive to the LA sound. You being one of the first eyes and ears that these artists had from a press outlet standpoint, how does it feel to see these guys get this much love?
Having a front row seat to watch artists like 03 Greedo, Drakeo, Shoreline, Ron-Ron, AzChike, AzSwaye and now Rucci blow up has been so rewarding. These are all artists I discovered pretty early and either booked for an event or had on Rosecrans Radio mostly before any other media outlet. It validates my ear, but also proves that hard work and dedication pay off. There’s so much more to come though, they’re all gonna be exponentially bigger and there’s even more artists I’ve been watching that are bound to blow up.
With the likes of Rosecrans, Mars Files, No Jumper, All Def Music, and more, do you feel like LA is starting to make more moves with creating a media subculture that artists + creatives can go to? If so, why?
There’s a great synergy going on in LA right now. We all see each other around and show love. We’ve all interviewed each other on our platforms or have collaborated. It’s beautiful. I gotta give it up to PassionWeiss.com, Jeff Weiss that’s my OG, his blog has been doing a great job of covering LA hip hop for years. No Jumper is also doing a great job, shoutout to Adam. NOISEY is a doing a great job as well thanks to Tyler Benz and Justin Staple. Hefstradamus was doing a great job when he was with Elevator. DASH Radio is a great space for creatives to go work and network. You always run into someone there. We just seen the actor who played 2pac in All Eyez on Me last week (lol).
In the coming years, how do you want to continue to cultivate the culture of LA with Rosecrans?
With Rosecrans, I want to make sure we continue cultivating LA culture by continuing to expand and push more artists to achieve success on a larger level. I want to keep curating these dope events. Jeff Weiss and I created an event called DON’T COME TO LA. Which is a monthly rap show that features LA’s best talent under one roof in an intimate venue. The first one was a huge success, it was over capacity and the next are poised to be the same. Also, we’re creating a faction of Rosecrans that’s going to focus on artist management, possibly turn it into a record label.
What are three of your goals for this year?
3 goals I have are - 1. Release a Rosecrans Ave compilation album filled with original songs from our favorite artists. 2. Sell out every event we have for the rest of the year. 3. Run up a large check from a major label.
When it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered?
When it’s all said and done I want to be remembered as a positive impact on LA hip-hop and being the voice of my generation. I want to be remembered for being a visionary and having a great ear. Basically like A$AP Yams, he’s very influential to me. He improved the lives of so many artists and the people around them with his co-sign alone.
So far, multiple artists have been offered million dollar deals when they have our co-sign, Cypress co-sign, Jeff’s co-sign, TK and Picaso’s co-sign, Hefstradamus’ co-sign. That seems like the winning recipe right now. I want to keep that going, I want to get rich with everybody I know. I want my son to know all the sacrifices I made were worth it for not only our family, it helped multiple families change their lives for the better.