Rich Boy Explains Reclaiming His Creative Control On "Break The Pot"
Exclusive: Rich Boy talks how the study of Buddhism enriched his music, and who he is as a person upon the release of new mixtape "Back To Class."
In the summer of 2007, Alabama’s Rich Boy had a top 10 single and the number three album in country off the strength of his Polow Da Don-produced single, “Throw Some D’s.” In the six years since, he’s yet to match that commercial success, and he seems at peace with the direction his career has taken. Nowadays he talks of creative control and studying himself not only as an artist but also as a person. Rich Boy is back in the spotlight thanks to the recent release of his single, “Break The Pot” and its accompanying video by Motion Family, which reflects the grittier elusive aspects of Southern comfort.
In many ways, Rich Boy’s career reflects the climate of the industry. After commercial heights, he finds himself dropping mixtapes to familiarize himself with old and new fans. His big label deal has been swapped out for a deal with E-1 that allows him more input over all things Rich Boy. Whether that means more tracks like “Throw Some D’s” or “Let’s Get This Paper” remains to be seen.
If you can’t wait for the album, which is nearing completion, Rich Boy proudly offers his new mixtape “Back To Class” which is hosted by Bigga Rankin, Big Steve Gee and DJ Smallz. Rich Boy takes a brief moment to touch base with HipHopDX on where he stands as an artist and person, and how he finds the balance to maintain both.
Rich Boy Explains His Post-Interscope Hiatus
HipHopDX: You were formerly with Interscope, and they had you sitting on the back burner for about five years. Whose fault was that…the label or was it simply industry politics?
Rich Boy: I’ll just say the chemistry wasn’t right for me as an artist over at Interscope. At times there may have been too much of this, or not enough of that. So ultimately it just wasn’t the right recipe.
DX: During the time in between your first album, Rich Boy and the new album, Break The Pot, where were you mentally and creatively? What did you have to overcome in order to be sitting here today?
Rich Boy: More than anything, I had to take the time to study who I am. I had to learn who I was as an artist and then as a separate individual. Being an artist is a totally different personality, so a different set of traits follow that description. It’s not as simple as just waking up, brushing your teeth and just going on about your day when you’re an artist.
DX: A while back, I read that you were studying Buddhism. Is that true? How has that helped you as a person and as an artist?
Rich Boy: Yes that is true, but I study a little of everything. If you name it, I probably have studied it already, or will study it in the near future. It’s important for me to have understanding and that was one of the best methods for me to accomplish understanding in my own life. The more you understand the world, the more your perception of how everything works is shaped. You began to realize how the universe works as a whole and that we are just one within that universe.
DX: As a free agent did you feel vulnerable as an artist in between label homes?
Rich Boy: No, I didn’t. I felt like as long I’m out doing good and trying to bring good out here in the world, then good is what will be returned to me. Everything you do has to have the proper structure. It’s just like if I build a house but the foundation isn’t right, then the house will not stand. That’s how I look at an album. It doesn’t matter who does the music as long as they do it right, because music is meant to transcend age, race, and sex but appeal to the masses.
How Signing With E-1 Fits Rich Boy’s New Outlook
DX: I know you signed to E-1, so congrats. What made you go with E-1 instead of releasing your project and igniting a bidding war?
Rich Boy: Thanks. Well, I felt like it would be a good place for me where I could maintain control over my own situation. I wanted to have a little more freedom over the types of records I made. I just wanted to step out from under anyone else’s control, and E-1 presented me with the opportunity to do that. I just want to take control over my own career so whether things went good or bad...it would all fall on me at the end of the day.
I want my new single to stand as a preview for the people to let them know what type of music I’ve been working on. I also want it to let them know that I’ve got plenty more on deck. The purpose of the single was to let them know what I’ve got and what I’m going to deliver with my new mixtape “Back To Class,” which is out now, and the album. The purpose of the single was to bring back my sound to let people know what they can expect. We just dropped the official video, so you can expect to see it out on all the music channels, blogs etc. You can also get the new single, “Break The Pot” on iTunes right now.
DX: Can we expect the same anthem styled songs from the new project, or will fans get a chance to see a different side of Rich Boy?
Rich Boy: Naw, you’ll get to see something different from me, because my music is based off of real life. Something different happens everyday in the world. That’s the view I run with as an artist, and it’s reflected in the type of music I put out.
DX: Considering that you are able to step back into the game as an established platinum artist, do you still feel like you still have something to prove?
Rich Boy: I don’t feel proven yet at all. I feel like I have to drop at least another four or five albums before I can say that I’m a proven success in this industry. Some people may look at it like I’m a guy who’s been in the game, but I still feel that I have dues left to pay. I look at this next release as a new way of coming out all over again.
DX: Which record on your new project are you the most proud of?
Rich Boy: Definitely I want them to be checking for the new single “Break The Pot.” But to be honest, I’ve been really working and I just have so much music that ready and waiting to drop. I really want to hear from the fans, so I want them to hit me up on instagram and twitter @_RichBoy and let me know what they like and want to hear more of from me.
DX: The album is titled “Break The Pot.” Tell me the meaning behind that name.
Rich Boy: I really just got that title from my partner. We were in New York and constantly recording and going back and forth to the studio. He use to joke that we’re about to go break the pot, so I just stuck with it ‘cause it really fit the situation of what I was trying to do musically.
DX: How’s your relationship with Polow da Don, and will he be adding any production to your new album?
Rich Boy: No, I didn’t get any production from Polow with this new project, because I wanted to prove that I could do it on my own as an artist first and foremost. Polow is still my partner and we made good money together, so we’re always gonna be straight. We made a great team, but at some one it’s important to be able to go and get yours for you own your own.
Rich Boy Talks Race Relations In Music
DX: I read your explaination of “Resurrected In Diamonds.” I know you’re from Alabama and are very knowledgeable on race relations in the South. Since we’ve now re-elected the nations first black president, in 2013 is race relations still a subject that we must touch on in America?
Rich Boy: The bigger picture of “Resurrected In Diamonds” was being in a bad situation but being able to beat it and come up out of it. When you’re able to come out of any bad situation and stand with a smile on your face, you’ve been resurrected in diamonds. When I came up with that, I was just standing in front of a mirror looking at myself, and I had a diamond necklace on. I just couldn’t help but to think if this was back during slavery times, that same chain would have been a rope. It just felt like we as a people have overcome so much that we could have been resurrected in diamonds in today’s era.
DX: Ok, so let me ask you this, do you feel like race relations spill over into the music industry as far as the success of an artist goes? For example, when you have a white rapper who may be talented but seems to snatch more endorsements or TV shows over black artists who may have been in the game longer or may have had more sales.
Rich Boy: Nah, I feel like race isn’t really a factor in the success of your career in Rap. If you’re good, then you have a chance to make it. It’s up to the rapper to work hard to get it. I think it comes down to the type of music that the artist makes as to the crowd they will attract. Music isn’t about color; it’s just about the sound it makes.
DX: I know you’ve been having major press runs lately, how’s it feel to be back in the swing of things with the media? Do you feel any pressure to stay in the headlines upon your new release?
Rich Boy: It feels great. I feel like I’m in a really good position. I’ve been doing a lot of interviews and getting my buzz back up for my new release, so everything is falling into place like it should be. It’s a good feeling because some artists just come out, and don’t have that opportunity.
My focus is primarily on the mixtape, and on the album and just making sure that everything has been put together properly. Once we’re ready, we definitely want to get the music out there to as many people as possible. I’m keeping all of my relationships intact for this release, but I feel the deejays are the most important. The deejays have always supported me, and they are very instrumental in tying up any loose ends for any artist when it comes to connecting to the people. I plan on reaching out to all of them though the blogs, magazines, radio stations and everybody.
DX: Tell me the role that humility has played in your career?
Rich Boy: Sometimes you have to be willing to be humiliated in order to be glorified. I understand that possessing humility has helped me to stay in touch with who I am and to be relatable to other people. It’s important for an artist to remain humble as they achieve success.
DX: When we hear the term “Rich” so many people think of money, but true riches are beyond a dollar sign so what makes Rich Boy rich beyond the wealth?
Rich Boy: It’s just an idea that starts on the inside, because if you feel rich then you can use that as motivation to go get other riches. That’s all you have to do is take that next step and be rich within yourself first. Being rich is about a feeling on the inside. You could have a couple go get a $5,000 suite but be arguing all night, then have a couple go get a $500 suite but be so happy and get along great because they have everything they need to be satisfied within themselves. That’s how I call it; true riches are already on the inside of the individual.