Rich Boy: Hip Hop Ain't Dead...It Lives In The South

posted March 14, 2007 12:00:00 AM CDT | 82 comments

Last time we heard from a college dropout-turned producer-then rapper, he was headed West with two multi-platinum albums, a slew of other successfully produced hits and ended up on President Bushs anti-patriot list. But now Mobile, Alabama has its version of the aforementioned Kanye. His mother calls him Marece Richards when he is in trouble, but the world knows him as Rich Boy. Although his moniker may suggest that he has money out the ying yang, Rich Boy insists that his name was given to him because his last name is Richards and people would call him Richs Boy. Now that he has everybody and their momma Throwing Some Ds On That Bitch, his name may become synonymous with his anticipated financial gain.

Although money, power, and respect are the goals of most people in any genre of life, Rich Boy is determined to not only stack his paper, but to make his family proud. The producer/emcee admits that his hood upbringing may have led him to do some unsavory things that caused his mom a great deal of pain but ever since he enrolled in Tuskegee University he has been on a mission to right those wrongs. Just as his College Dropout predecessor had done before him, Rich Boy was on his own path to Touch the Sky by taking those same wrongs to help him write his songs. Little did we know that this once mechanical engineering major would be signed to Interscope, have a hit single, be dropping a heavily anticipated album, and virtually responsible for putting Mobile, Alabama on the map.

The map may not be big enough for Rich Boy. His self-entitled album which dropped on March 13, 2007 has been one the most anticipated albums to hit the streets. Featuring production from Kanye, Timbaland, Mannie Fresh and Polow Da Don, Mr. Richards in his own words stated, I believe I have created a classic album. I worked with some great people and I put a lot into this project. I didnt want to just have a good single and the rest of my album be some bullshit. Being perfectly honest, Rich Boy cant afford to put out some bullshit; especially not being part of the regime known as Interscope. With artists such as 50 Cent, Emimem and The Game constantly generating numbers for the label, he was quick to point out that he went into this project with the focus of making something the true to himself yet still marketable. I definitely feel a certain sense of pressure about the album but at the same time I dont give in to it or I want fall under the pressure. I got a lot of respect for 50 Cent, Eminem, and all of them cats on Interscope but I also feel like I can be one the first really huge southern successes for the label. With the major success of Throw Some Ds and now the Throw Some Ds remix featuring Andre 3000, Rich Boy may be well on his way to generating some Eminem like numbers.

Just as Marece Richards owes his life to his mother, he may owe the current numbers that Rich Boy is generating to his mom in more ways than you think. For it is she who made him join the church and play the drums as a kid; it is she that made him attend Tuskegee University where he discovered his skills as a producer; and it is also she that told him he needed to put some rims on the new Cadillac that he had just purchased which inspired him to create the street anthem. Rich Boy not only gives credit to his mom, but he is inspired by many people in his life. His dad was a liquor store owner in the hood so he idolized the hustlers that would frequent the establishment which led to the few compromising situations he found himself in. He made his mother proud by going to college but it was there where he found that he had a passion and a talent for producing. And by dropping out after his freshman year to pursue music, he ultimately had disappointed his grandfather. But now that he is gettin it as he put it, grandpa is a lot more understanding of the path that he chose. Even with all his recognition and fame, he insists that he is still the same person that cleverly leaked his independent single Cold As Ice to 93 WBLX radio back when he was first trying to get on. I have come a long way but Im still the same person, my money is a lot better, people got more respect for me now, and Im not just famous in Alabama. People notice me in a lot of places now and of course my popularity has gone up with the ladies. The ladies may be swarming a bit more and the money may be flowing more abundantly but when asked what would ultimately make him happy, Rich Boy convincingly answered, Nothing would make me more happy than providing for my family and for my brother to be released from prison so that he can share in my success.

While Marece Richards always proves to be the consummate family man, Rich Boy on the other hand represents the artistic wild side that many of us tend to keep caged up. Now that he has released the beast from its confinement, he is quick to point out that although Rich Boy and Marece are one in the same, they are still different. Most of the time Im just really chill and focused when Im making music. Of course I joke around and have some fun with it but I dont really wild out too much. But when Im on stage or Im making an appearance I switch into artist mode but most importantly Im always true to myself and my people around me. And staying true to himself and his people is something Rich Boy doesnt take for granted. He has a lot of love for Alabama and the south in general. Even when he speaks of his southern roots you feel a certain sense of pride emanating from his voice. I got a lot of love for the south. People think we are slow and dumb down here but that is such a big misconception. We must be doing something right because so many of us down here is getting money right now and we doing it legit. So we must not be as slow as they think. There has been so much talk about the rise of the south and fall of virtually everywhere else in hip-hop that you could sometimes cut the tension with a knife. When asked how he feels about the statement, Hip-hop isnt dead, it lives in the south, he replied, I aint got any beef with anybody from anywhere else because I got love and respect for all those people that came before me because Im influenced by them. Right now we just doing are thing down here so its our turn but it always goes in a circle. I just love music and Im trying to put out good music that everybody can feel. Im happy that we gettin it down here but its enough for everybody to get it.

Gettin it as Rich Boy so eloquently put it, is exactly what he is doing. As he stated, I owe my current success to my family, Polow Da Don for giving me a chance, my people in Alabama for supporting me, and any and everybody that has influenced me. He is not on the verge of becoming Alabamas version of Kanye West, he is progressively taking the steps to becoming his own entity. Although he says that getting ass is one the most important things he learned how to do in college, he still admits that finding his talent at Tuskegee was the absolute best thing he took from school. From college dropout to rap stardom, he is poised to follow in the footsteps of a few great producer/emcees before him. From 106 & Park to MTV Jams, his southern drawl has dominated the airwaves for the entire year. He has everyone from crunked out southern gentlemen to West Coast bangers to New York hip-hop heads riding to the rhythm of his music. As his Cadillac moves around the globe, you may find his family riding shotgun, Alabama holding down the backseat. And as he passes through your city, you may find the overwhelming urge to Throw Some Ds On That Bitch.

Click HERE to read HipHopDX's review of Rich Boy

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