Our old friend ROLOC....his story

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Mar 15, 2006
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#1
Steve aka Roloc has been a friend of mine for a few years and was working with him and MjP at the time he mentions below (I was known by "Crankpuppy" on the website), so I can verify everything here is true. Maybe to some of you this will open your eyes on things. I know some of you have wondered what happened, since it happened behind the scenes, so here it is. He is a good man. The rest of his this post is in his words:

I was 18, I had just got out of one of those relationships with a girl that makes you glad you aren't in jail after it is all over.* I was totally lost, confused and just didn't know what I wanted to do with my life.* Probably doesn't sound much different from many other 18 year olds.* I found 3 things (in no particular order) to keep me going and focused.* The first was the web.* I had always been a closet nerd, running home from basketball practice to go play a game, or program something on my parent’s computer.* When the web blew up it took me with it.* The second thing was dark rap music.* I was and still am a huge fan of all types of music, with the exception of country and Nickleback, I listen to it all.* I had always listened to rap and local artists, but at this point in my life I could just really relate to the bleak outlook that most dark rap had, and in an odd way it inspired me, obviously enough to be writing this story.* The third was a different girl, a punk rock girl even, who is now my wife.* Those three things changed my life and eventually lead to the creation of the Siccness.

I started the site basically to just work on my programming skills for my newly created business Lonestar Productions.* I created it to make small sites for my mom's fellow real estate agents.* I was making extremely good money off of that for being 17.* I spent most of my free time researching rap artists in the Sacramento area and trying new things on the site. Driving down to the local store with my friend Xaos to buy a new cd was my favorite thing to do. When I was home I watched the hit counter like a clock, I loved it.* It was my crack essentially to get 10 hits one day and then the next have 15.* I loved investigating new ways to increase hits by a certain amount.* Now, these days when you say something like that it sounds like you want cash.* Increase hits, get more people to click on banners and make money.* That was never the case, I wanted to increase the hits because then that meant I was spreading the word.* More people were learning about my passion, and my hard work paid off in the form of sharing that passion.

Now I was never a gangster.* I never thought I was "hard", I hopefully never sold myself as that.* I had friends who were hard, but even they would never let me get myself in trouble. I did talk in slang, but whatever who didn't.* I spent the next 3-4 years just expanding the Siccness.* The biggest change was when I first posted a message board in 1999.* Trust me, there weren't many message boards at the time,*and when those hits turned into people, the site became a community.* I was obsessed.* I watched for posts ruled over the board with an iron fist at times making sure that people were having a good time as well as being constructive.* Making a bunch of net thugs be constructive still remains one of my greatest accomplishments.* The reason I had the rules I had was because if artists ever rolled around on the site I wanted them to feel like we were serious.* They wouldn't just see a bunch of garbage, it would be a community they could reach out too and see that we all weren't just babbling about how good we can C-walk.*

When the artists started coming around it was a dream come true.* I took a shot in the dark and hit a bulls-eye.* Before I knew it I had a 40 in my hand sitting in Lynch's loft every weekend listening to damn near all of Siccmade music freestyle, or working DE in perfect dark.* You may think I was just a fanboy, and that might be what got me there, but I actually became pretty good friends with a lot of them.* A couple in particular I still miss talking to today.*

The sites were blowing up.* I was no longer at 10 hits a day, more like hundreds of thousands.* Thousands of message board members made it a full time job just trying to keep them constructive.** I caught a lot of shit for the way I ran the board, but I always thought it was the right way to run a community and there were many who agreed because of the numbers we had continued to increase.* However, I would soon*learn*the voice of a hater is much louder then that of a content person.*

A constant battle ensued. At this time in my life I was out of college, and not by choice. I had been programming computers since I was 10, and I was going to go to college to learn how to program? Give me a break… I knew it all. I spent most of my time not going to class and sitting around on the boards and just tweaking the site. The rest of the time was drinking and playing video games and of course not going to class. The battle was as much internal as it was an all out war on the forums. I was struggling with what to do with my life again and where I was headed, and a lot of time that culminated in a blow up or two on the forums.

I would shut new registrations down on the forums and put people on notice. If they didn’t behave I would be banning folks and they couldn’t come back until registration was opened. The real problem is that the more people that came on the forums the more it cost me. I didn’t have a store; I wasn’t there to make money off of them. My business model was eventually to charge the record companies for web design as well as to hook into the community that I built; it was never to make money off of the people. I learned that record companies are either far cheaper or far more broke then people in general. Nevertheless I had to find a way to support the site. I started selling CDs and shirts on the site. I will admit it, I was bad at it. I didn’t get into the Siccness to be packaging up shirts and CDs all day long, and that is what it had turned into. I was late getting orders out, sometimes I didn’t have enough stock, it was just me… and I was bad at it.

On the face the Siccness was huge, it was this giant tie that all the record companies had a hand in and I was just sitting there raking it in. I will tell you right now. I never turned a profit. I never made a dime off of the Siccness. Although as cheesy as this may sound it did make me rich. I learned more in a short period in my life then most people learn their entire lives, and that is invaluable. In the beginning it was me and Xaos and we grew apart over time. MJP was there for a while, good friend of mine at the time, I met him through the site and he helped out a lot with the graphics and coding, but he more then anyone knows how I was then and the shitty job he and I worked together that we did to support ourselves and the site. He also knows that I wasn’t raking in the dough that everyone thought I was.

This is where things turn a little more negative. I haven’t really much spoken about the artists to this point and there is a reason. I to this day still don’t know what they thought of me. I considered a few of them to be friends, and the rest to be business associates. I have no clue how they thought of me and it angers me to a certain extent to think of some of the possibilities. I can’t and won’t speak for them, but the possibilities make my blood boil.

The end of my time at the Siccness is all fuzzy to me. It is hard to look back on it now and wonder what order things went in. I know that I had to get out of Chico, it was killing me and I wasn’t happy. I also could feel this sort of build up in the site and that it was either going to take off or implode. Then in the period of about 4 months everything happened. I had convinced my family to loan money too help an artist put out an album. He essentially took that cash put out the album paid a couple of bills and forgot about it. The longer this went on the longer I started to think about these friends and business associates that I had spent so much time with and put in a ton of effort too, and questioned if it was worth it.

At some point in time I knew it was over for me. I decided to go out with a bang and throw a concert. I don’t think I knew at the time that it was a “going away concert” but as I look back at it now that is what it was. I certainly didn’t tell anyone it was that. The support of the artists was awesome to a certain extent. It was seriously a field of dreams type event. Up until a week before it happened I didn’t know who was performing how many tickets were going to be sold. I think we sold something like 100 tickets online. The venue holds close to 2,000 people so I was way short of having a successful concert. In order to get the folks to perform though it had to be more then that or no one would show. I wasn’t paying any of them, and they were all doing it in support of the community. For a while it made the feeling like I was being taken advantage of all go away.

The concert turned out to be a success. Not financially but when the show was over and they called me up on stage, it still gives me chills. A white nerd from the suburbs on stage with a bunch of artists and people cheering for me, I will never forget that. In the same night I was on TechTV (Now G4) for the accomplishment and they filmed an interview with me the night of the concert. The thing I didn’t know at the time but know now is apparently throwing a hard core rap concert where no one get’s shot is an achievement all on its own; I have the community to thank for that. They remained constructive, even in real life. I remember people drove from Florida and picked other members they had never even met along the way, those are the people I was doing this for.

All in all after I paid for the venue the sounds setup, security, DJ, I came out with $900, which probably covered running the site for that year. I know people think I made thousands off of that concert. It just isn’t true, ask my girlfriend who is now my wife. When we got married 5 months later I had $40 in my bank account, and crazy credit card debt.

After the concert things just started raping up for me. There was some drama at my job where they actually accused me and MJP of stealing information and hacking into computers etc. It was all crap, and if you knew the place which is now defunct you would just laugh; they were the ones breaking the laws. The whole Sicx thing happened, I won’t even comment on that situation other then to say this. He is one I considered a friend and I haven’t talked to him since, I don’t even know if he is guilty or not and I don’t care, but being that close to something like that is a huge kick in the pants, and makes you evaluate a lot of things about life.

The main reason I had to sell the site is I proposed to my girlfriend. I loved her far more then the site, far more then the idea of hanging out with a bunch of rap stars. We planned to move back to Sac and start our lives, a life I knew that couldn’t continue with the Siccness in it, or the marriage probably wouldn’t have lasted. I miss running the site, I miss the people involved in it, but I do not regret the decision at all.

Behind closed doors I started shopping the sale of the Siccness around. Most of the other artists had their own sites now, and were interested in getting those up and running. I got three offers. One from a record company which is now defunct, a distribution company which got bought the last I heard, and Vamps. I won’t get into numbers but the sale of the site to Vamps was the easiest decision I made for the Siccness. The other two offers would have exploited it, ruined it and ran it into the ground. Though it was worth more money, would have destroyed me to watch that happen.

Vamps was the logical choice, because he didn’t have all the cash I worked out a thing where he could pay part now and part later. He paid right on time both times and made the transition easy for me, and I thank him for that. After having my confidence shaken in every sense of that phrase, he was solid and stable and a man of his word.

In the end it was hard to say goodbye. Well, it was and it wasn’t. The community really made it easy on me. To make a long story short I had taken preorders on video tapes of the concert. 5 preorders to be exact, something happened with the tapes and I wasn’t able to make the copies and send it to them. In the end I refunded all but one persons money, the reason it took so long was that I always figured I would be able to send the videos out but I couldn’t.

This is where I learned a handful of angry people can be far louder then thousands of content folks. I was the bad guy, suddenly I stole all this money from people and ran off with thousands laughing all the way. As if I was going to spend close to 5 years of my life pouring every hour I had into this dream of mine to run off with close to $200. It makes me laugh to this day. That is maybe 2 months of what it cost me to run the site, and about a half a day’s worth of work today.

I saw the greed. The 5 people which I had absolute verifiable records that they were charged for a video were pissed. They should have been. I made every effort to get in contact with them and repay them. It was complicated by the fact that I didn’t own the Siccness anymore and had closed my merchant account to refund them directly. A lot of the people ordered tapes but if they didn’t preorder it they never got charged. The case of the preorders was a little different; I needed to charge them in order to afford the copying process.

I witnessed the greed and just flat out disrespect of a large number of people in the community I tried to create. I took the zip codes of the people who ordered video tapes and put them in a database. I told the community that they should go to this site I built and put in their zip code that they ordered from and their forum username and I would send them their money back or the tape (which I didn’t have the tape anymore I was always intending on refunding them). When I did, 200+ people filled out the form. The 4 of the 5 actual zip codes I had from my credit card authorization sheet for that product number filled it out. I sent them their cash via paypal. The rest of the 200 or so flat out lied. Trying to get a free tape or cash, I redirected them to a page and logged their forum names so I knew who they were and notified them they were frauds.

That sealed my fate. On top of just this widespread feeling that I ran off making thousands of the site, I couldn’t stand to be there and listen to it. I had also told Vamps that I wouldn’t be around much. The reason for that was that I am sort of a possessive guy. I knew Vamps would be good for the site, but I didn’t know if I would agree with everything he did. So I figured it was best for me to just let it be, and stay away.

All in all I think it is very fitting in a dark sort of way that my dream ends with everyone hating me over $200. Those who read this and know the rap industry, I see the smile on your face from here, and I know you know just how fitting that is. The outsiders, the people on the forums they think you are stars, they think you are better then them, they will love and hate you for it. But when it all comes down to it you’re just trying to share your art, your vision, to be heard… that and trying to eat.

I wouldn’t trade anything for my time spent with the Siccness. . It was my counselor, my outlet, my life for a long time. It taught me so much about interacting with people, business, those who you should call friends and more. Those things are invaluable and if I could I would thank every person who played a part in that time in my life personally. Hell maybe I will at the 10 year Siccness reunion concert.
 
Oct 18, 2003
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#3
damn i was there from the begining and i did'nt know roloc went through that much. i went under too with the site. i just peep. had my own problems to deal with and just getting things in order. it's fuck'n viscious. how anonymous someone could be and to stalk you every momment and any lil mistake and how far they'd go to keep it up. it's actually lame but the only thing you can do is think about yourself and keep moving.

peace to roloc he had strong shoulders to hold this shit up. now i know.
 

noWetaG

Super Moderator
Apr 24, 2002
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GateWonProduct.com
#8
^yea he still logs on, just doesnt post.....
matter of fact, if ure reading this:
sshappnin STEVE!
thanks for starting this shit 4 everybody...

and sshapp CRANKPUPPY, been a while mayne....
get at me whenever folks!
 
Dec 25, 2003
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#10
At least we all gotta thank Roloc for launching the 91Siccness!!!

Siccness is in fact making a huge impact in the music industry by building a huge fan base to networking with scores of independent to major hip-hop artists WORLDWIDE!!!!!!

Think about it; if it wasnt for Roloc, all the fans & artists wouldve be networkin on other areas, like Myspace!!!

The Siccness is still predominantly the top major underground hip-hop/rap site so if the Siccness never existed, some other sites wouldve expanded like of course Allhiphop!!!
 
Apr 25, 2002
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#11
I came in around 2000 but roloc was a stand up dude. I aint gonna lie though, from the outside looking in you would assume he ran off with the money. Now thats me almost 7 years ago. Being smarter and wiser and more mature and having had the website experiance now, its easy to see this was not the case. Good shit roloc. anyone still got that chico freestyle he did with X-Raided that went something like I PUNCH MY GAS TO THE FLOOR AND ITS QUICK SHIT....I GOT MY GAS TO THE MASK CAUSE ITS SICK SHIT.
 
Apr 26, 2002
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Bacc In Texas
#12
91SICCNESS.COM

MR.DLOCCSTA,60
...I WAS THERE and I recall this snap shot of events-


Over the years, many chapters have been added to the Siccness story...

Roloc
MjP
Crankpuppy
Vamps


heard alot, seen alot....

since DAY 2 of the SICC
 
Mar 15, 2006
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noWetaG said:
^yea he still logs on, just doesnt post.....
matter of fact, if ure reading this:
sshappnin STEVE!
thanks for starting this shit 4 everybody...

and sshapp CRANKPUPPY, been a while mayne....
get at me whenever folks!
Hey Gatewon. Sorry that shit with artwork for Jaz didn't work out. I haven't talked to him in a couple months, last i heard he was moving to Georgia or something.

And hello to anyone else that may remember me. Usernames have changed a lot on here so it's hard to know who is who from back in the day.
 
Apr 25, 2002
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#18
Man, that really was the good old days. I've said some negative things about Roloc because I never did get my money back for the video I preordered, and I can prove that I preordered it to this day. But, in retrospect, you know what? I lost out $25 and have spent almost 10 years on this site. You do the math, I think the money I lost was well worth it. I hope Steve is doin' real well, and I appreciate the place where he laid the foundation.

Since Day mothafuckin' 1.......
 
May 3, 2002
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#19
It's pretty funny that this shit always comes up. I was one who was owed a video too. Infact last time i think this was brought up, he was "like yeah i remember i owed you Sandman, i got u.." still nothin.. but i aint tripin, fuck it. It is what it is..