An Interview With PlayerrWays

Kevin Crandall speaks to the LA rapper about being mentored by Ralfy The Plug, the influence of the late Drakeo The Ruler, creating both pain & fly songs and more.
By    April 23, 2024

Image via PlayerrWays/Instagram

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Kevin Crandall still misses Rudy Gobert in a Utah Jazz jersey.

According to PlayerrWays, Faygo is exotic. On the phone with the Los Angeles rapper, born Angel Galvez, I had to ask about his frequent name-dropping of the Detroit brand by a kid whose only connection to the Motor City seemed to be the usage of the Old English D in his clothing brand logo. PlayerrWays informed me of the scarcity of the pop in LA, where you gotta hit up Royalty Market or Exotic Pop X Puffers to get your hands on a bottle.

A native Angeleno, PlayerrWays was in grade school when I Am Mr. Mosely catalyzed the reign of Drakeo the Ruler in LA’s street rap scene. Stinc Team dominance seeped into the halls of Fremont High School—located less than fifteen minutes from where Drakeo grew up in South Central. Instagram handles were altered to rep the Stinc Team lingo and style, and Player and his friends started cooking up rhymes following the style of their favorite rappers. By the time he graduated in 2022, Player found himself in the studio with Ralfy the Plug, co-signed by his idols and rapping with the Stinc Team.

PlayerrWays raps with speed and a slip-slide cadence, rolling through bars littered with designer brand flexes while mud-walking through Saks Fifth Avenue like his Stinc Team elders before him. His latest effort, Flocker to Rapper, sees PlayerrWays yell out “Fuck H&M” after freestyling over a Drakeo beat. Raising Cane’s is ditched for a five-star meal while he likens himself to Bling Bling Boy, the uber-rich and endlessly iced-out kid villain from Johnny Test. It’s fun flexing, rapped by a man who just wants to “get money and [make] it look fly.”

From messing around on SoundCloud to being mentored by Ralfy The Plug, PlayerrWays has always “kept it Player,” a phrase he coined to express his authenticity and hustle. I caught up with PlayerrWays as he was finishing his upcoming record with fellow Chicano rapper GmoneyDT. We discussed his introduction to the Stinc Team, the influence of Drakeo the Ruler, and the importance of what he has dubbed the pain/fly song dynamic.

​​(This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.)

You were born and raised in LA, yeah?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, Los Angeles, California, South Central.

What was your childhood like growing up in South Central?

PlayerrWays: It was good, but at times it can get rough. It’s dangerous out here, so you really gotta be on your ten toes. You never know how your day’s gonna be. Just gotta see, go with the flow.

When did you start getting into music?

PlayerrWays: I made a song when I was in high school, but it was just one song. I was just playing around, and I was like “alright.” Then they was telling me to drop another one. I was about to graduate, and I’m like alright bet, I’m about to hop in the studio. Then, around August, September, I was with Stinc Team. It all happened fast.

Was that first song “No Hook Issue”?

PlayerrWays: Oh yeah! [laughs] Yeah it was “No Hook.” I’m surprised you know about it.

For that first track, you said you were just fuckin’ around in high school one day?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, I was like 17.

Did you have friends who were rapping at the time as well?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, I did have friends rapping, and for Stinc Team too. That’s how I found them.

Who was that?

PlayerrWays: GucciBoy and Day3.

I noticed a lot of your early shit was with Day 3, did y’all go to high school together?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, we went to Fremont [High School].

When did you first become friends?

PlayerrWays: It was in high school. We would just be walking past each other and we’d do the little nod, ya know with your head, and started talking from there and hanging.

And he started rapping first and then brought you into it?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, he was already rapping and dropping then, but I wasn’t dropping. Nobody knew about the “No Hook Issue,” only him. He found it. He was the only one who knew about it, so when you said it, that’s why I was laughing. People don’t know that song.

So how did you end up linking with the Stinc Team from there?

PlayerrWays: So GucciBoy and Day3, they already started coming around and they were playing my music, and Ralfy fucked with it. He would ask “who that was rapping?” And they would say it’s they homie. He already knew that there was a third person in the group, but he didn’t know it was me. That’s when they took me around [the Stinc Team], and I started hanging out. Then one night, they was recording and cooking up and I was like “I could get on that,” and Ralfy was like ‘yeah! Get on it.’ That was the first time we ever made a song. From there, we started going crazy.

Did you listen to Stinc Team before you started working with them?

PlayerrWays: Hell yeah, you can already hear it in my first song—I’m tryna rap like them. They was hard bro, because they didn’t have to gangbang. They was just getting money and making it look fly. I wanted to get money, and that’s why I liked their flow.

How influential was their sound in your high school and with your friends?

PlayerrWays: Hell yeah it was influential. Everybody wanted to wear rolled chains with the Buddha piece, and you know them bracelets. Then, you know, changing their Instagram to ‘BigBankBudda’ and ‘TheRuler’ and all that, everybody was doing that. [laughs]

Was it a surreal moment when you were first introduced to Ralfy and to find out he was interested in your rapping?

PlayerrWays: I couldn’t believe that he actually fucked with me. Cause, you know how I’m Mexican? I’m Latino. I’m the first Mexican in Stinc Team, so that’s why I was like damn he really fuck with me. He’s trying to sign me. That’s why I had to put the work in, cause I’m different, I’m the first Mexican. That’s why I gotta stand out and I’m tryna go crazy.

Speaking on that, how much does your Mexican heritage influence you and your music?

PlayerrWays: It influences me because my religion, they really like hustlers, so nobody in my family believed in me being a rapper. You know how it be in the beginning: “come on, just find something else” and stuff like that. Then they start seeing me rapping and actually bringing in money and doing good with it, and they start supporting it. Now they’re like “keep going.” [My mom] used to be like “damn, why you leaving,” cause I used to leave the house every day to go to the studio and do something related to music in the beginning. I wasn’t getting paid off music then, so I was using my own money and just tryna get right. When I started touching money and music, and I started my own clothing brand and started getting money with the clothing brand too, it all added up together and she started seeing that damn, I’m doing it. I’m supporting them now. I give them money and stuff to support them, and they see right there that I’m doing good.

That clothing brand is Need Ma Chilli, yeah?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, Need Ma Chilli.

What made you want to start that?

PlayerrWays: I’ve had the logo—the first one with the Richie Rich—but the one I got right now with the hoodies, that’s not the original logo. I didn’t have the coins, the words like that with the baseball logos, none of that. I drew it out myself, and it was my own design. It looked kinda good but didn’t look really good. The one I’ve got now, I took my time with it. I already knew I was gonna drop a clothing brand, but I just didn’t know when I would, so I just took my time.

What made you pick Richie Rich as your core logo?

PlayerrWays: You know how I’m Mexican so I look kinda white? I kinda look like him, so that’s why I wanted that logo. He likes money and all that like me, so it matched and I like it. I be calling myself PlayerRich and PlayerRichieRich. You’ll hear that in one of my songs. The tape I’ve got coming, you’ll probably hear it in one of the songs. I just like Richie Rich cause it describes me. He likes money.

What does your fashion mean to your image and the brands you rep to your image?

PlayerrWays: All the brands I rep are gangnm. Awful Lot of Cough Syrup? Gangnm. Chiefin Heavily? Gangnm. Asaali—that’s gangnm. Those three brands imma mention in the songs, and you gone hear that. You’ll hear some designer too though, cause I like designer. Every time you hear it, that’s probably what I had the day I made that song. They ask why I be saying this and that brand—that’s what I had on in the studio or the day I wrote the song. When I was writing a song called “41 Faker” for my new tape, I had on some fly shit. I had on a [Louis Vuitton] pouch, I said that in the song. “An LV pouch when I’m rapping it’s on me.” It was on me when I’m rapping. People think I say it just to rhyme it, but I had it on. And in the video, I have some different shit on, but that’s just what I had on that day.

Do you ever listen back and try to match the video fits to the song?

PlayerrWays: Yeah! All my videos I’m about to drop, I’ve been matching them. I’ve been matching everything. I want it to look good. When I say Belenci they gone see Belenci.

Where do you see the future of Need Ma Chilli going and where do you want it to go?

PlayerrWays: I want it to go as far as I can. I want to have my own store and everything. I want to push it.

Do you want to expand into other types of merchandise?

PlayerrWays: I also got Need Ma Chilli lemonade. I got the bottle and all that with the Need Ma Chilli label—strawberry lemonade.

Oh shit, that’s awesome. Where do you get the lemonade?

PlayerrWays: It’s homemade. I made it. It’s got little pieces of strawberries in it. But yeah, I wanna do socks, sandals, different types of clothing and accessories. When I have my store I’ll have a fridge with all my juices and racks with all the clothing and accessories. Not just my clothing, but they got a lot of options.

What made you want to do lemonade?

PlayerrWays: For me, I pour lean so I mix my lean with that. That’s why I like the lemonade. Instead of always reppin’– you know how you said I always say Faygo? I can say I pour it with the Need Ma Chilli lemonade. [laughs] I pour, so I might as well pour with my own juice.

[laughs] Fair enough. Pivoting a bit, where did the name PlayerrWays come from?

PlayerrWays: With me, I’m like a player. I’m a ladies man, all the girls love me, and I got my player ways, so that’s where it came from. [laugh]

Did you use that from the beginning or did it change?

PlayerrWays: After the “No Hook Issue,” that’s when I changed to PlayerrWays. I think I did my name and then Two Player before that. I didn’t even put a different name, it was just my real name [laughs]. I was just a kid having fun, I didn’t think it would go that far.

What was the moment you thought like “oh shit I can actually do this”?

PlayerrWays: When I started fucking with Stinc Team. When I dropped “Play Ball”, that was my first video with them, and it was blowing up. Everybody liked that song—that’s one of my best songs. It’s like top five on my top songs right now. That’s when I seen they were really messing with me. After that I was dropping and dropping, and I see I was getting views I would never get. I wasn’t even hitting 1000 views before that, I was in the hundreds. So for me to see that, I was like wow, I gotta keep going!

Was Life I Chose the first album you did with Stinc Team?

PlayerrWays: Yeah.

What was that process like?

PlayerrWays: It was cool because the only features I got on that tape are Stinc Team. They helped make that tape. It was fun because all the songs on there I did with them in their studio. Writing at home is different from at the studio because you’re more creative when you’re with your friends. At home, you gone take your time because you’re alone, but at the studio, you’re having fun. That’s me. When I’m at home I take my time and think about what I write. When I’m with my friends, we just be recording and having fun. We can’t even take long, so we just make a banger.

On Life I Chose, you have that Drakeo tribute – what does Drakeo and his legacy mean to you?

PlayerrWays: I ain’t gonna lie, he’s my role model. He was standing on everything he said. People really hated him because he was doing everything he said—he was getting the money, he was getting the cars. It inspired me. I’m gonna get the money, because they’re gonna hate regardless. I’m gonna just get to the bag. That’s what made him my favorite rapper. That’s why I started to fuck with Stinc Team. They all got the same lingo, but they all say the different flows. That’s why I fuck with it.

Where do you feel you fit into Stinc Team with your flow?

PlayerrWays: I rap kinda fast—people compare it to Ketchy [the Great]. I like to gas up. I really like fast beats cause they make me write good songs.

What does Ralfy’s mentorship mean to you? What’s yall’s relationship like?

PlayerrWays: He cool. I fuck with Ralfy. That’s gangnm for real. He be taking care of me and all that. He make sure we all good. People on Instagram just be hating on him but they don’t know what he be doing. That’s why I respect it.

Do you see him as your main mentor in the rap game?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, cause that’s the person that co-signed me. That’s the reason I wanted to sign—I really fucked with Ralfy. I was playing him and Drakeo before that, so for him to be like “I wanna sign you,” that’s crazy. Who would’ve thought you would want to sign me? I take it to the heart.

What was it like releasing a Drakeo tribute with Ralfy, being from LA and growing up listening to them?

PlayerrWays: It was crazy because not a lot of people can do that—hop on Drakeo’s beat and get Ralfy on it. You can’t just be a random person, he’s really got to fuck with you to do that. That’s why when I do songs like that—over Drakeo’s beat—I try to make that the best song I can because that’s representing him. I take it serious. Like “Boss Me (freestyle)”—I just dropped that two weeks ago—that’s a Drakeo beat. It’s on his tape too.

When you hop on Drakeo beats, where does the idea for those tracks come from?

PlayerrWays: To be honest, I’ll probably be home or somewhere listening to the song, and I’ll think “damn, I forgot about this one.” This shit so hard, I gotta do the beat. “Boss Me (freestyle),” I heard that song in the car, and I had had a bad day that day. I was just sad and playing songs. As soon as I heard that one I was like “damn, I like that beat.” You know how you’ll be sad and then you’ll hear something and it changes your mind? That one caught my attention. I started listening to what he be saying and thinking “yeah, this beat be hard, I gotta find it.” As soon as I got home I went on YouTube trying to find it. I finally found it in the night, and I wrote the song all night. I fell asleep at 4 am writing the song. I finished it though.

What do you think of music’s ability to turn somebody’s day around like that? Is that what you’re trying to push with your music?

PlayerrWays: Yesterday, I went to the West Covina mall, and I didn’t even know I had a fan in West Covina, but like five people came up to us and I was like “woah.” Me seeing that is like damn, people really like my music. It motivates me. This shit real. You can make it out. I come from nothing, so me making it out, that’s gonna be crazy when I do that.

How important do you think it is for you to take time with fans?

PlayerrWays: It’s important to show love to your fans. If you just acting bougie they gone be like “damn, I thought he was cool. That was my favorite rapper and he just dodged me tryna take a picture.” That’s gonna hurt their feelings. That’s why I always do that. I always take pictures because I don’t want nobody to feel like I don’t fuck with them. I love all my fans, so I’m gonna take a picture when they ask.

Do you feel positive pressure from within Stinc Team to always be pushing forward and putting out music?

PlayerrWays: Every day they rap, so when you be in the studio you gotta be ready to make a verse and hop on a song. You gotta really be good at writing or just punching in. That’s why I always write. It helps me start thinking about bars and putting them together so I’m not guessing and just rhyming bars.

You usually tag along with Ralfy to sessions and hop in like that?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, I pull up with him and they’ll just be like “hop on it.” You don’t even think you’re gonna record, and then you’re about to record. [laughs] It’s cool though. It means a lot. He really don’t gotta do that cause he can just make the songs with them and then I’ll leave with him. But he makes sure I get on one song so I can lay a verse. That way I’m not just bored, smoking. He don’t want to see that; he wants to see us working. He gone make sure we gas up, that’s why I fuck with it.

Tell me a bit about your first time in the studio with Ralfy. What was that session like?

PlayerrWays: I was nervous. Like damn I hope I don’t sound bunk shit. I gotta gas up. I want him to fuck with this song, I don’t want him to be like “it’s cool..” I like getting feedback like “ooh you gassed up” or “it’s a regular song.” I’ll ask, “this song cool?” And they tell me how they feel. You gotta keep it real with me because I’m tryna make a hit. Day3, that’s my brother before the rap, so he keeps it real with me and I keep it real with him.

In terms of LA rap and the Stinc Team, what do you want the PlayerrWays legacy to be?

PlayerrWays: Memory. That he was really out here rapping about being fly. From my clothing brand too, I want to flesh that out. He had a clothing brand, he was co-signed by Ralfy, all that. I really want to put my name out there. I got co-signed by Ralfy. That’s why I want to go crazy and make sure I stand out. But the whole time I fuck with Stinc Team. It’s a contract, so when the contract’s over, you have to decide if you want to stay and still be with Stinc Team or be independent. But I don’t feel like leaving, because we locked in. People would do it for the fame, but loyalty over everything. No cap. You can get rich, but people got emotions. Me? I’m young. People think I’m a grown man because of my tattoos, but I got teenage emotions. I get sad fast. I may look like I’m tough and all that but I got feelings too. Nobody really see that though. Like “he’s a gangbanger, he ain’t got no feelings.” You feel me? I really go through it, go through a lot of emotions.

Does your music help you work through those emotions?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, cause when I feel sad, I make a song. When I write that song, I’m letting them know how I feel right now. I like to rap like that. When I’m going through stuff—family problems, or outside the family people doubting you—it makes you go through emotions. When people be doubting me, it makes me sad, cause they don’t see it, but I see it. That’s why I go crazy, cause I know I can make it. Nobody sees it cause they don’t know what I’m doing. They don’t know what’s going on in my head. When I pop out, nobody knows my next move. Like damn. you doubted me cause I don’t be posting? But I could be working on something right now, and nobody knows that. It makes me feel some type of way, cause damn you really don’t believe in me? You don’t think I can make it out? That’s hard. That’s why I really fuck with Drakeo. Everybody thought he was gonna stink, and he just shitted on all of them.

Having Ralfy co-sign you, what does that mean in the face of people saying you can’t make it?

PlayerrWays: If they see something big that I’m doing, that’s just gonna make them hate more. They gone see that he doing what he said he was gonna do. That’s what makes them hate. It’s really motivation though, cause when people doubt, that makes me go crazy. I don’t really make pain songs, so I put some of my feelings in the fly song. Let’s say I’m on my fly shit, but I be feeling pain, I mix it together. “I be fly but I mix the perky with the Faygo cream”—that’s why I say that. I don’t put my full pain in there because they gonna say he’s sad. I don’t make pain songs, but a lot of people go through pain, so they can relate to it. I make fly songs, but a lot of people can’t really do what I’m talking about. The pain, there’s probably kids going through it at home with their parents, so that can help them out. When I was young, I would listen to NBA YoungBoy when I was going through it cause he makes pain songs. That really motivated me. YoungBoy and Drakeo, that’s who I be listening to. YoungBoy with the pain, and then when I want to get money I listen to Drakeo.

Have you ever thought about making pain songs?

PlayerrWays: Yeah, but when I do it I overthink. Like “nah, you’re saying too much,” so I just stop writing. But, I don’t know. Lately I’ve been feeling like I gotta do one, just to show them. If they fuck with it, they fuck with it, and I can give them more of that. Probably this tape, and then I’ll just drop a single that’s a pain song. That’s coming soon.

How important do you think it is to have both pain and fly songs?

PlayerrWays: It’s important because when you get over being sad, you’re happy now, so you don’t want to be on that type of vibe. So, you play some fly shit that makes you want to put that shit on, go outside, and pop out. But when you’re tired of doing that and you’re sad, you can put on the pain song. Go in your room and smoke a lil wood, so you’re not outside doing bunk shit. That’s what I do when it’s too much. I go home to my room, smoke a lil wood. I’m safe in here. People will crash out when they’re sad outside, cause you’ll want to go do something. When I’m in my house, I’m safe in here and I know nothing’s gonna happen to me. I don’t really be smoking and being that high outside cause at the end of the day I’m still a gang member and I’m a part of Stinc Team, and Stinc Team have their haters. You gotta be on your ten toes. So when I’m outside I don’t be that high cause I be paranoid. Seeing Drakeo passing, I know that can happen to me so I be paranoid. I don’t let it be known that I’m outside, cause I always be getting feelings that stuff can happen. It’s crazy, but that’s how you gotta move out here.

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