“At the End of the Day, I Hold My Own Nuts”: An Interview with Roddy Ricch

Nick Nukem chats with Roddy Ricch about being new to the rap game, autographing body parts, and the West Coast versus the South.
By    June 13, 2018

In an era when immaturity attracts attention, 19-year-old Compton rapper Roddy Ricch stands outside of the mean. The plain-spoken teen hardly struggles looking for words to articulate his current situation, which he defines as busier than ever. When I linked with Ricch in USC’s New Student Village on a Saturday afternoon, his rose gold, name-bearing chain and throwback black Sixers jersey are the most “rapper” things about him. In fact, part of his meek persona tells me he couldn’t care less that anyone knows he raps and does it well. While it may be months before any of the patrons in the plaza get wind of Ricch’s bars, others have began taking notice and placed early bets.

Six months removed from his debut project, Feed tha Streets, Ricch’s cosigns read like a “Who’s Who” of the current rap climate, with early support coming from DJ Mustard, Meek Mill, Nipsey Hussle, RJ, 03 Greedo, and common stirrer-up of things, radio personality Ebro.

Though Ricch is yet to release any collaborations with the aforementioned names, those relationships certified by FaceTime calls and in-person meet-ups can only mean good things to come for the California rapper in a time when two of the coast’s most promising rising stars, 03 Greedo and Drakeo The Ruler, are looking at long-term sit downs after recently lost legal battles. Ricch joins the two and locals like Shoreline Mafia, Buddy, and Boogie as the next class of artists to blast out of the Pacific.

Ricch wraps West Coast tales in Southern cadences and melodies, outlining the situations he was thrust into after head bumps with his mother led to him being put out of the house. His next moves included venturing around the states where he was, simply stated, “gettin’ it.” He perhaps paints that picture best on “Chase tha Bag,” where he’s rushing to flip packs, finding ways to reinvest, and showcasing his spoils. Tracks like “Hoodricch” move forward with Mustard-esque synths and flows pointing to hours spent listening to Young Thug. Roddy pivots to serenade his female audience, who he says rides with him because he moves differently, on tracks like “Ricch Vibes” where regionality is lost.

His latest project, Be 4 Tha Fame, paired with his self-confidence hints that he might be aware of his place in line after gaining “a lot of recognition” for Feed Tha Streets. His tracks have brought him over half a million SoundCloud listens in the six months since their release and landed on Apple Music’s “The New L.A.” playlist, securing early wins on the increasingly important music platforms.

Elsewhere, Ricch can count on the Trap Kitchen co-founder Spank and the city’s own DJ Bugsy to push his tracks places they haven’t yet reached.

Ricch is still familiarizing himself with the game that only became a priority in recent months. He says music wasn’t a top-ranking in his life even after releasing Feed tha Streets—a project with beats including tags from unknown internet producers. His next project, currently slated for July, is likely to feel a little bit different. He opened up on the steps that led him to shifting his focus to life as a rapper dealing with the envious, weird, and inspirational daily occurrences. —Nick Nukem

What made you start taking music seriously?

Roddy Ricch: I went to jail. Went to the county.

How long?

Roddy Ricch: Couple weeks. It didn’t like scare me or nothing. I was just like, ‘I don’t never want to be here.’ Fuck that shit. I was in the county—that thang! I wasn’t tripping about it but the fact that I ended up there. I was just like fuck. Niggas always talk about it like, “Man. If I went to jail, this, this, and this.” You don’t know until you get there. Think about it, you riding the bus but you don’t see how you getting there. That shit’ll fuck yo head up. Going in there—the smell, all that shit—it fuck yo head up. You ain’t gone like that shit. That jail shit, it’s just…It ain’t right.

So you did a couple weeks in there, you got out and said, “Something needs to change”?

Roddy Ricch: [Feed tha Streets] was already out but I wasn’t pushing it. It’s just music to me. How I look at niggas is like, niggas be rapping, they be on but they ain’t getting no money like that—unless they really on. I know the upcoming rappers ain’t getting no money, so fuck that shit, I’ll rap just for fun. I’m not ’bout to rap for no money. That’s never been an MO for me. I need money. And if I need money, I’ll go get some money. Rapping wasn’t no monetary thing for me. It was like, we having fun in this muhfucka. That’s just how I was going. So when I got out, I was like, “This jail shit is weak,” and imma just give it some time and see where this shit go. When I did that, in a matter of months…

Did you already have access to studios or were you struggling for studio time?

Roddy Ricch: Hell naw. Niggas told me I could rap, I was just like, “I’ll rap. I guess.” I never had to wait on no nigga. Niggas wanted to fuck with me. Not on no cocky shit. They seen what I could do before I seen what I could do and it just kinda happen like that.


Why do you think people believed in you?

Roddy Ricch: I don’t know but I could make a song in probably like 25-30 minutes. And it be a real song. So I can do like 5-6 in a night. Niggas be like, “Damn he could really knock out songs.” And that be the amazing part, but then what I’m saying, I really lived that shit. Seriously. So it’s a whole different feel. You really feel the emotion and the shit behind what I be saying.

You have a Southern feel in your music. Was that because of the time you spent in Atlanta?

Roddy Ricch: My grandma from Louisiana. So, I grew up around that shit already. It’s already in me. I’m from the city but I’m different. I like Waffle House. When I go down south, I like that type of shit. That’s always been, because my grandma been introduced me to that type of living. I was always interested in Mardi Gras and shit like that. And Southern culture, you know going to Atlanta to the first time, not to say there’s no successful Black people in LA, but just being down there you’re more exposed to more Black people. Because there’s more of them.You see so many more successful Black people, it’s crazy. And I’m all for that. So, it was dope as muhfucka.

Do Southern rappers influence you more than West Coast rappers?

Roddy Ricch: I wouldn’t say more. The basis of my music comes from Speaker Knockerz, I don’t know if you remember him. Dope nigga. I talked to some of his peoples and they reached out. They like my music. And they were telling me a lot of people tried to copy his music but nobody could do it because they were trying to copy him. You gotta be yourself when you’re doing music like that and it may work. I always appreciated his music and I just fucked with him being a young nigga, finessing out here, getting to it, doing what he gotta do to make it, so I fuck with his music. He was like my biggest influence. It was him and then, you know Thug and Future. Gucci.

As far as West Coast shit goes, a lot of people say I’m lyrical compared to other people in the Trap demographic. I get that from big homies like Kendrick. I grew up knowing Kendrick. I used to go to church with my grandma and my momma and we went to the same church. I knew he was gone blow up before he blew up—just the way he carried himself and the way his mental was. Artists like him made me think about being lyrical. At the same time, I’m young nigga and I wanna have fun. I gotta talk my shit, but still have fun with it.

So if I was gone do it, I was gone do it like that. That was my MO. I ain’t wanna be no nigga not talking about nothing. I looked up to niggas that was getting to the money and they was listening to niggas was talking that shit. So that’s what I wanted to be on.

Did you know that’s what you wanted to do or did you have to find that?

Roddy Ricch: When I write raps I just think about what I’m going through or what I been through or what my peoples been through. My boy his bail was $6,000,000 — he beat a murder case. My boy AJ fighting 200 [years]. I see both sides—when you out and when you in. My music is telling you, “You could do this,” and it could either go this way or that way, but imma give you all the different options of how it could go, what could happen. That’s where my music is right now. I don’t know how it could be later but that’s my main focal point right now.

The West Coast is in very interesting place right now, even with Kendrick right now because he’s so far gone.

Roddy Ricch: At the same time, he’s from Compton. Everybody gone look at him like that, but who’s to say a West Coast can’t be like that? I don’t like boundaries, that’s why I am how I am. A lot of females fuck with me just because of how I am. I’m not like everybody else that’s rapping in LA.

Not to point no fingers or make no bad comments, but a lot of young niggas trying to be pimps or trying to flock—and shout out Drakeo because I fuck with Drakeo. Or like Frosty [DaSnowman], he got his own lane. A lot of niggas try to follow them, because they the ones. But it’s like that fuck shit. At the end of the day, I hold my own nuts. I don’t want to hold this nigga nuts—waiting on what he’s gonna do next. I already know what imma do next.

What plans do you have for collabs?

Roddy Ricch: I don’t really collab with niggas because they don’t really understand what I got going on. They don’t understand my vision. At the same time, that’s not to say it’s not no dope artists. You got GoGetta KB—been fuckin’ with him on street shit. Johnny Rose, that’s my nigga. I fuck with a lot of the Crippin’. Not to say I don’t fuck with Bloods, but it’s just like I just fuck with a lot of the Crip movement because it’s a lot of people who feel like we so divided and Bloods they stick together. Crips don’t. So, I just try to stay with the niggas that’s doing something from my side.

I just be wanting to support them kind of niggas that’s doing something for my side, because at the end of the day, we share of the same struggles and we be calling each other cousins and all that shit. Blue durags, to the left, and all that—the culture for us. I just be wanting to keep us close, because a lot the time niggas just divide.

I also feel like there’s way more Crips, so it’s easier for y’all to get divided.

Roddy Ricch: Yeah. It was a fad to be a Blood just a couple years ago. I called it two years ago, shit gone switch, but we stay the same, though. I got two Cs tatted on me. I ain’t changing but I know the scene gone change because it’s gone get tiresome. Everybody want a new trend. And not to say this gangbanging shit is a trend.

Nipsey Hussle brought you out at Powerhouse recently. Is that the biggest crowd you’ve seen so far? Were you nervous?

Roddy Ricch: It’s just like a truck driver driving across the country. He ain’t gone be nervous. It’s regular. This shit cool and I ain’t scared of people. I ain’t scared of too much. It be cool.

How long have you been performing?

Roddy Ricch: Probably like a year and a half, two. I don’t really perform like that, because I’m new to rapping, like taking it serious and all that stuff—taking meetings and doing all that shit.

How come you weren’t taking it seriously?

Roddy Ricch: I got kicked out my momma house around that time, so shit, I really wasn’t thinking about no music like that. It was more about bread. That’s all I was on.

What were you doing?

Roddy Ricch: Getting it. I was 17 in Atlanta, just moving around and a nigga had 150 on me. On some other shit.

Why should people care about your music?

Roddy Ricch: I’m just a real nigga, but that equal being a real person. If you a real person, you gone feel what I’m saying. I know if everybody listen, because I know it’s gone be some haters.

Like this one lady. I threw $40,000 in my hood. Cash. She saw my manager the doctor’s office. She like, ‘This nigga part of the Illuminati.’ She tripping on a nigga like that, so it’s just crazy to be on other side and see. Like, I ain’t doing nothing different from you. I’m the same nigga from when I ain’t had shit. I talk to anybody I come across. I’m a cool nigga. It ain’t nothing like that.

Is that the weirdest thing that’s happened so far?

Roddy Ricch: What you mean, weird?

Like some super off the wall shit.

Roddy Ricch: Yeah, that shit was off the wall. But I just threw this party and bitches was hitting me for the address. One female came through, taking pictures with me and shit, asked me for my chain. I’m like, “No.” That’s when Spank came through, cooked the food and everything. We eating, chilling. She pulled me to the side like, “Before I leave, can you sign my titty?” But I didn’t know her like that, so it was just weird. I’m like, ‘This my kickback, we just chilling,’ so it threw me off. It might not sound too weird, just sign the titty. You a rapper, you should sign a titty, but just for me to be in the comfort of a home. That’s weird, that’s some other shit.

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