Interview: Brigitte Briceño ( Instagram: @Honeytarr )
Photography: Jaudon Morris and Nic Iparraguirre ( Instagrams: @Jaudonmarkyll @nic_wbs )
Styling: Nic Iparraguirre with assistance from Bennie Miller ( Instagram: @Daloofisonfiya )
Produced: Giulana Vargas and Nate Bishara ( Instagrams: @gv.fotos @NaturallyNatey )
Thanks to the rise of social platforms, we are able to discover new artists around us, moreover coming from an artist's perspective, the ability to reach out and link with other fellow creators.
From Royse City, Texas, Juan Carlos Castillo, better known as Wassup Rocker, met up with us to speak on his musical journey. He’s an artist who initially grew a fan base through sharing his bedroom mixes on SoundCloud. He found inspiration in other unique figures such as Tyler, the Creator, Lil Uzi, Young Thug, Midland, and more specifically, viral rapper, Lilbootycall. Which led him to begin creating his own music and uploading his first song “Iloveyellow” a year ago on SoundCloud. Wassup Rocker now has over 200,000 monthly Spotify listeners.
“He's latino and he's just like a crazy character,” Rocker speaks admiringly about Lilbootycall. “So then I was like, I feel like I can be someone like that. Gave me a little bit of help into myself because at first, I felt like no one was going to take me seriously and they just thought I would be corny, but he used his platform to inspire- and not just me but like a ton of other kids.”
Photos By: Jaudon Morris
Looking closely at Wassup Rocker’s entity, his music career escalated after his song “Luvbug” gained popularity through other social apps, gaining him recognition in the eyes of other artists with the same musical ideas. Being noticed at shows soon helped him get connections and eventually spots on stage. Back in December of 2018, he received the opportunity to do his first tour in Texas with his friend Temporex. Then later in August of this year, instead of watching Lilbootycall perform from a crowd perspective, he toured with him after having common artist friends such as Astrus and sliding in his dm’s. “It’s very surreal when I talk about it. It’s crazy,” he grins.
In September, Rocker released his first project, Worms for Brains, on Spotify and Apple Music containing four new songs and four old ones that are now more refined, as well as collaborations with Heroinfather and Astrus. “Every person on that feature is like, my friend, people I look up to. I feel like it's perfect with all the people I've gone on it because, you know, as an artist I feel like no amount of money should make you work with someone you don't like. You should work with people you like.”
Photos By: Jaudon Morris
“Nothing in Worms for Brains was ever forced,” he says reassuringly. “I’m lucky. To have like a lot of people who listen to me in this like, little bubble- I don't even know what kind of genre this is, but I’m so happy that I got a lot of the people on that record.” Temporarily living in a New York studio with his friends where they would compose music day and night helped design his project. “We were sleeping, showering, and working in the studio the whole time we were over there. There were people always in and out, either people who were from the level or our music friends. My friend Savage Gasp did his verse for “City Boy Summer” there in the studio. It was a pretty good experience staying up until five in the morning and waking up at eight in the morning to do it all over again.” Like in any field, having some type of support from others in the scene can really influence where you are headed. For Wassup Rocker, he gives his thanks to fellow artist Astrus. “He was with me, a lot, before that was even a thing. He saw potential in me before a lot of other people. He gave me like one of the first co-signs.”
Wassup Rocker plans to move to Los Angeles, where more of his fans are based, to continue producing music with other artists and better embrace the opportunities given to him. When asked what advice he’d give to people who are interested in going into the music scene, he described that it isn’t necessary to have expensive equipment to start off with. He didn’t have the newest devices but he “made the most out of it.” He also shared how his now buddy, Micheal (aka Lilbootycall), created his hit song “Sailor Moon” with his apple headphones. “Use whatever is around you,” he advocates, “Just be yourself.”
It’s inspiring to hear stories like these, in which creators like him and around him encourage this cycle of growth to begin within the art community. Where instead of giving a cold shoulder to upcoming potential, they embrace each other’s uniqueness to invent something greater and inspire others who need that extra push to discover themselves. As a creative community, we must not forget the abilities the digital world gives to us- especially the capability to connect and share ideas with one another no matter where you stand.
You can check out Wassup Rocker @wassuprocker on Apple Music, Spotify, Soundcloud and More!