Adam Rooney, known professionally as Shotty Horroh is an accomplished, retired UK battle rapper and a singer and songwriter. He recently released his debut album, Salt Of The Earth, and a few weeks before the release, I sat down with Horroh to discuss his love for football, his career as a battle rapper and retirement, his permanent move into music, what it’s like living in Toronto, and his first acting role.

So, I know you were an accomplished battle rapper and now an artist, but what I would like to know because I know you’re a massive football fan, did you have aspirations growing up of being a football player?

I did, I actually did. I played in YT, YT is a term we use for youth team, so I played for Manchester City for a little minute, if you pull out the books, you’ll find my name somewhere. Played in high school, played Saturday and Sunday league, I play in Toronto still whenever I can. Like I’m a decent footballer, but my bones didn’t hold up.

What is your preferred position?

Nowadays upfront because that’s the one where you have to run the least.

And so, when did your love of battle rap begin for you?

The very first thing I ever seen was probably 8 Mile. You know I think it might have been, as well 106 & Park. The first battle that I watched though was Murder Mook and Party Arty. My friend showed me the battle and once I saw that I got sucked in.

So, the moment you saw that, you were hooked?

Yeah because I just related. I’m from a very aggressive place, very violent place, just naughty and confrontational. So, when I saw battle rap, I just related. Then obviously, you start to think of what rhymes you could make. I would go to myself watching the raps like, 'how did he come up with the punchlines? How did he think of that, that’s crazy!' So, it was an instant love, but it grew every day. It was battle rap and smack DVD. So, rappers like Cassidy, Saigon and Papoose - I was fascinated by those guys because the punchlines were witty and I’d try to write like them.

And are these rappers the ones who inspired you on the work you’d eventually create?

Yeah, they inspired my work, but more so I wanted to better them guys. Like, I’d see flaws in punchlines. Like my punchlines has to make sense in every way and the battle rappers I was watching, I didn’t see that. An artist that I listen to that does this well is Lupe Fiasco. You listen to a Lupe Fiasco song and I watch you bob your head to the music and after I come over to you and tell you he’s not talking about what you think he’s talking about, he’s talking about this, play the song again. So, I always wanted to evolve the punchlines.

Now in talking about crafting your battle raps, what do you think is the difference between this and making songs?

So, there is a fundamental difference because battle rap is saying I’m so different from you, but I understand you and music is like I understand you because I’m so like you.

And at one point, did you realize you wanted to walk away from battle rap?

I’m just a nice guy and I couldn’t take it. It was too negative for me. Like I'd spend a month or two obsessing over my opponent, like thinking negative thoughts about this person, just so I can win a competition and then you meet the person and it’s the nicest person in the world. And if you go back into my content, there’s really only one time I got personal, which was against Arsonal in the rematch because in the first one, he got personal with me. Other than that, I always tried to beat people with skill, but after some time, my conscious kicked in.

And for all those years, what did battle rap mean to you?

I love battle rap, but to me, battle rap was always a mean for promotion for my music. That’s what it always was. I always wondered before like why does Britain not care about hip-hop? Because that’s where it was at the time. All we listened to was Westwood and we weren’t listening to Westwood for tracks. And no disrespect, but there were certain acts that I’m very cool with now, but when their tracks came on, I turned it off. Because it wasn’t the same. Like there was Tupac and Bone Thugs N Harmony and then you come over and here people rapping about fish and chips, but it eventually it changed to what it is now.

So, I know you spend your time now in-between Manchester and Toronto, making songs, how has it been living in Toronto?

I love it. I feel like I won the lottery. Toronto people are amazing people, Ontario people, Canadians are so cool. Just open and friendly, very art driven and very culturally driven.

And for the new single and the new album, how has Toronto influenced the music?

If it wasn’t for Toronto, the album wouldn’t have happened. Obviously because of the musicians, but also the state of mind that this city put me in. As well as the songs, without Toronto, none of this would have happened.

Now can you tell me about the upcoming movie that you’re going to be in?

Yeah, the film V.S, it’s my first ever acting role. I was a bit nervous at first. The whole experience was amazing though, it was like a little family, I loved all of it. I could for sure see myself doing more in film.