Rooc was recently released from a seven year prison stretch, and is using music to represent another world entirely. His debut track “who’s real” is a vivid insight into life in prison. Rooc explains:
“When I was inside, in the yard at Goulburn, we all used to rap to each other and shit.”
“When I came out of prison, the area thing had gone to a whole new level. For me, it’s like fucking oath represent where you’re from, all day! Put it on the map,” says Masi Rooc. “But for me, my people come first. I get upset when I see people put their areas before their people.”
Rooc represents OC (Outcast), a group established in Goulburn prison in 2015.
“For OC, prison is our story. We are not area-based; prison is our origins. We aren’t established on the outside; we started there. We have more boys in there than out here. When you’ve done time, you know who’s who in the zoo.”
“OC was about bringing our people together,” he adds. “There was a lot of issues between Samoans, Tongans, Maoris, and Fijians. We were never united. There was a lot of politics, a lot of underlying issues with the older generation,” explains Rooc. “The younger boys were the ball runners because it was our duty. But we were men, we didn’t want to be subject to that old way of thinking. Respect is always to the older boys but you have to come up with something new, that’s why we don’t have no leader. We’re all equal brothers.”
Although the majority of new rappers are illustrating the reality of “moving packs” and “drillings,” Rooc’s debut offers a counter to that narrative. His lyrics are a bare knuckle depiction of the costs associated with running amok: hard time.
“Just be yourself,” he insists. I rate the local barber down the road doing his thing. You should want to be a soldier, not a gangster. A soldier works nine to five. Soldiers try to start a business and take a risk like that too.” Rooc offers advice with honest sincerity. “A gangster? There’s only a few paths; jail, dead, or becoming a junky. There’s not much to it. It’s a self-centred image; it’s not about putting others ahead of you. Soldiers work together to defend what they have.”