Rich Boy Interview
|Next Project:||Bigger Than The Mayor Mixtape|
|Twitter:||Rich Boy on Twitter|
|Website:||Rich Boy's Website|
When Rich Boy stepped inside our DJBooth in October ’06, the producer-turned-rapper excitedly awaited the release of his debut album. Five months later, in March ’07, his self-titled LP hit the market, and using the success from his lead single, “Throw Some D’s,” the project went gold and allowed the Alabama native to become a household name.
Constantly growing as an MC, the Zone4/Interscope signee has spent countless hours working on his delivery and will show off his improved enunciation when he drops his new mixtape, “Bigger Than The Mayor,” in mid-April, which features both “Feel The Wood,” and “Wrist Out The Window.”
In an exclusive interview with DJBooth‘s DJ “Z,” Rich Boy steps inside the booth to talk about moving forward after the success of “Throw Some D’s,” clashing with his label over single choices, why he’s actually “Bigger Than The Mayor,” and what fans can expect from his forthcoming sophomore album, “Buried Alive.”
Listen to the Interview
Rich Boy Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on everybody? It’s your boy, ‘Z’, doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth is a rapper-producer who is no longer just throwin’ some D’s on it. In fact, from what we hear, he’s bigger than the mayor. Please welcome DJ Booth favorite, Rich Boy – how you doin’?
Rich Boy: What’s up, Z? I had to check in with you, man, let ‘em know why I’m bigger than the mayor. April 15th, the date I’m waitin’ on.
DJ Booth: I know it, brand new mix tape’s gonna be available. People have been fiendin’ for some brand new Rich Boy, and you’re gonna give it to ‘em, am I correct?
Rich Boy: I’m gonna give it to them how they want it: better than ever.
DJ Booth: We last spoke October, 2006. You just had just shot and released the video for “Throw Some D’s.” You were real excited about the prospect of releasing your debut. It’s now eighteen months later. Looking back on everything. How do you think things went the first time around?
Rich Boy: I think things were great, man, fantastic. Especially considering the numbers that people are doin’ comin’ out of their albums nowadays, I’m just real proud that the Zone4 folks stuck with me, Interscope stuck with me. I just stayed myself, man, and I stayed down, and accomplished a lot of things. Now it’s time to move on, to get greater. “Get greater later,” like they say.
DJ Booth: Isn’t that the truth. Rich Boy, following the initial single, like we mentioned, “Throw Some D’s,” you released a variety of extremely hot joints off that album, but none of them were able to meet the initial success that you saw on “D’s.” If you can pinpoint whose fault that was, why nothing else that you released was able to reach that same height, who would you place the blame on?
Rich Boy: Well, you can’t really point the finger at nobody but yourself. It was a learning experience, it was my first album ever, and I just figured out that the secret to it to be yourself and never put anything out that you ain’t passionate about. I feel like I got the passion. I couldn’t feel no more passionate about my music than I ever felt before how I feel now. That’s why I came with the title, “Bigger Than The Mayor.”
DJ Booth: When a lot of people listen to your album, I think they get a different impression of what kinds of artist you are than if they had just heard, “Throw Some D’s” on the radio. Do you feel from the start you were unfairly pegged as a certain type of rapper when, in reality, that’s not what you’re all about as an artist at all?
Rich Boy: Nah, Z, you know I get real deep. If you listen to a song like, “Let’s Get This Paper,” “Ghetto Rich.” We also got the “Ghetto Rich” remix out right now – me, Lil Wayne, Nas, and John Legend-
DJ Booth: Oh, we’re gonna talk about that.
Rich Boy: I get real deep as an artist, man. I got a lot of lyrical content, there’s a lot of subjects I touch on. I’m an overall, all-around artist. I can do whatever, man; I’m like the Bo Jackson of the rap game.
DJ Booth: As you mentioned, bar none, I think the best song off your debut is “Ghetto Rich.” When we featured the response on DJ Booth, the response was absolutely insane. On a 5.0 scale, the average rating was above a 4.5. What did you have to do while compiling the remix – of course, you scooped up Lil Wayne, Nas, and John Legend– to make it such a gigantic record?
Rich Boy: It was just a feeling that came over me about that record. A song that will just take you to another place, and I just felt like I just needed to do something with that record. Like how I did with the video for “Let’s Get This Paper.” I felt like I needed to pull out of my own pockets and shoot that video myself; it was just something I was driven to do.
DJ Booth: Do you think the way that you go about writing your records and putting them for placement on an album is in line with what your label’s trying to do? Because a lot of the stuff that you did put out wouldn’t necessarily be material that labels like to release as singles.
Rich Boy: Right. I feel like sometimes we clash, sometimes we don’t agree on things. And sometimes it’s not for a label to understand your personal feelings, because it is a business – there’s nothing personal about a business. And music is personal, and so that where we don’t agree sometimes. I might feel one way, but they think business-wise and they feel another way, so sometimes I just have to go about it myself to cook something up.
DJ Booth: You gotta do what you gotta do, I couldn’t agree more. When I hear feedback of your work, one of the most common critical complaints is that listeners say they have a hard time hearing exactly everything that you’re spitting, and they wanna be able to hear it, because they know you have such a great message.
Rich Boy: I’ve been workin’ on that, man, clearin’ up my words. ‘Cause I got such a Deep Southern slang, I can understand it, and everybody in my region might can understand it, but when I go out of town some people can’t understand it, and I totally feel ‘em on that. It’s like when Juvenile first came out; certain people couldn’t understand [his] words, and then they got used to it.
DJ Booth: I remember, last time we spoke, you talked about how you really had just started getting into the whole rap career – transitioning, that is, from being a producer – and you were working on all types of things, like rhyme style, delivery, breath control, speed. What do you think, to this point, you’ve improved upon the most as an artist?
Rich Boy: I feel like this time they’re gonna understand every word I’m sayin’, first of all. [laughter] As far as an artist, I just figured out how to get that moment out [of] a song, and just how to go in there and be myself and not think too hard on a verse to the point that I mess it up. Because you can think about something to the point where it just don’t sound good, when you just keep messin’ with it, you know? You just gotta be natural with it, and let it be. And people accept that; that’s why Soulja Boy was such a big success, because he was just himself – he was a kid! Now all of ‘em are doin’ the Soulja Boy. And there’s so many kids who can relate to that, because they watch YouTube, or they get on MySpace, and it connected with the people.
DJ Booth: Besides, consumers are smart; they know exactly when an artist is trying to do something that they’re not all about. So you gotta keep it close to your vest; otherwise, it’s gonna come off as completely unnatural.
Rich Boy: Right. If you do booty-shake music, do that. If you do snap music, if that’s you, if that’s what you feel in your heart to do, you need to do what you feel in your heart to do. I realize that now.
DJ Booth: I’m sure everyone’s gonna know exactly what’s in your heart, because of the reason I got you on the phone today, your brand new project comin’ out. It’s a mix tape, out April 15th, it’s called, “Bigger Than The Mayor.” Rich Boy, will you be sending a copy to Mobil, Alabama’s mayor, Samuel Jones?
Rich Boy: I need to, man; that’s a genius idea. [laughter]
DJ Booth: You can add a ribbon and send a nice little card, and say, “I’ll autograph it for you.”
Rich Boy: Yeah, and tell him to respond. I would like to know his response from hearin’ this mix tape.
DJ Booth: When you went ahead and titled it “Bigger Than The Mayor,” what were you thinking?
Rich Boy: I was in a classroom once, talkin’ to some kids, and then when I left the building I was thinkin’, when I was a kid, I didn’t even know who the mayor was. And I actually thought, “Probably none of those kids know who the mayor is, but they know who Rich Boy is, and they know Soulja Boy, and they know every other artist that’s poppin’.” It’s actually the truth. I might be bigger than the mayor, but I’m not more important than the mayor; you gotta understand that, you know?
DJ Booth: What does it say about where we’re at as a country when rap stars like yourself, others that you’ve mentioned, are more prominent figures in the lives of our youth than that of important government figures?
Rich Boy: It actually says that the world is focused on entertainment more than the things that really are important in life. I didn’t know who the mayor was, and I regret that growin’ up. It just shows you that the world is caught up into entertainment so much that entertainment controls the world.
DJ Booth: Yes it does. And it’s important, though, because from the standpoint that we are going through a lot in the world right now, that entertainment is an outlet, to get away, and escape from all the drastic parts of life.
Rich Boy: Right. And I think that’s why people like Soulja Boy are so successful. Because, if you got good music, like, you got a time in your life when you feel like dancing, you got a dance you can do, it’s just fun. At the end of the day, when you can’t pay your bills, and you’re having trouble gettin’ a car, whatever, payin’ for your tuition, at the end of the day you wanna enjoy yourself sometimes, and that’s the only outlet that people have, is entertainment.
DJ Booth: Exactly. I know they’re gonna enjoy themselves when they pop on the new mix tape. You got a song on there entitled, “Feel The Wood.” In it, you state, “I can’t explain how it feel/ to touch the gator on the wheel.” Now, Rich Boy, I am not a hater, but I too wish that I could feel the wood trim in your ‘83. So, when you used the word “hater,” describe the exact type of person that you were talking about.
Rich Boy: Hater… the person that doesn’t take the time out to see that they can actually have the same success you have, and the same things in life you have, all because they spend too much time payin’ attention to what you’re doin’, instead of focusin’ on their lives and bein’ successful. It’s just the person that envies you as a person. Whoever listens to that song at the time, I’m talkin’ about the person that envies them, or is against them or wants to see them fail. Everybody has that person in life that’s jealous of ‘em or envies them, so I feel like everybody can relate to it. “Haters wish they could,” you know, just that word, just that sentence right there, “Haters wish they could/ feel the wood in my ‘83.”
DJ Booth: Obviously, after this mix tape is out, everyone’s just gonna want more, and more and more and more, so when people will get their hands on Rich Boy’s second studio album, and if you’ve tentatively chosen a title?
Rich Boy: Yeah, I have a title for it. It’s the greatest in the world; it’s called, “Buried Alive.” I just got the title from the thought of everybody that’s doin’ life in prison, whether they was guilty or not guilty. Some people get caught up in situations and they’re punished to the point where they’re sentenced to life in prison. It represents bein’ buried alive, ‘cause you have no life no more; you’ll never live again. And my album’s gonna be really deep. I’m really passionate about it comin’ out. I’m really excited, and I feel like it’s gonna be one of the greatest ever, man.
DJ Booth: Do you have an idea of when it’s will be out? Hopefully before the end of ‘08?
Rich Boy: I know I’m puttin’ out my first single this summer, so…
DJ Booth: This summer needs a Rich Boy song, because, as everyone knows, “Throw Some D’s” was a summer anthem, and it wouldn’t be right to go two summers without another Rich Boy summer anthem. I think you’d agree with me…
Rich Boy: I most definitely agree with you. Summer is my time; I feel the greatest ever during summertime.
DJ Booth: You and me both, especially ‘cause I live in the cold, cold winter of Chicago, so when the summer comes, I embrace it. Rich Boy, go ahead and give everybody a MySpace page or a website so they can find out more about the new mix tape, “Bigger Than The Mayor,” and of course your upcoming sophomore album.
Rich Boy: Okay, for sure, Z-man. Y’all check your boy out, Rich Boy, “Bigger Than The Mayor,” the mix tape, droppin’ April the 15th. Hit me up on my MySpace, myspace.com/richboy, or even richboyonline.com.
DJ Booth: I thank you for joinin’ me inside the DJ Booth, and continue to do it real, real big.
Rich Boy: Man, Z, I appreciate you. You know we gotta keep this thing goin’ for the fans. I want the fans to know, it ain’t no Rich Boy without them, ‘cause they make me who I am.