Rick Chyme Journal Entry #1
It’s nice to meet you. My name is Rick Chyme. I am a Wordsmith, Connector, and Motivator from West Michigan. I recently digitally released my first full-length solo album, the 5iveit LP.
This is the first of several journals I’ll be writing to be published on HHG that will expose you all to my art and some of my talented friends. I’m going to use most of this initial entry to give you a blurred run-down of my back-story. Here we go…
I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When I was four years old, my small family moved to the nearby suburb of Rockford, MI. By the time I was 10, our clan had grown to include my parents, my younger brother and sister, two dogs, three cats and myself. There was a period of time when our two female cats had kittens at the same time, my parents should have listened to good old Bob Barker…My friend Isaac and I were once caught playing catch with one of the kittens after it’d clung to a tree mid-toss. My Grandfather apprehended us flinging whiffle bats up at the feline in hopes of returning it to land. We were so young and stupid.
As years passed, cornfields in Rockford were flipped into monstrous schools and the competitiveness of sports consumed us. Already obsessed with basketball, I threw myself in even deeper when my father died in a tragic plane crash. He and three of his best friends were returning home from their annual Canadian fishing expedition when their Beaver charter plane unexplainably went down, crashing into a small mountain, causing a forest fire and killing the foursome, plus the plane’s pilot. Our household was officially rocked to it’s core.
In addition to having an unbelievably supportive group of extended family and friends, basketball is what really saved me. It became my refuge, my outlet for the emotions I wasn’t dealing with properly and gave me much needed structure. It was also around this time that what had once been a mild interest in Hip Hop started developing into something much more.
I consumed mass amounts of music. Outkast, The Lost Boyz, Scarface, Dogg Pound, Snoop, Dr. Dre, Spice 1, Warren G, Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Mobb Deep, Crucial Conflict, Goodie Mob, Bone Thugs N Harmony, and Wu Tang were just some of the artists whose albums I first devoured with friends. Still, it wasn’t until purchasing several volumes of Sway & Tech’s “Best Of The Wake Up Show” Series that I thought about rapping myself. When I heard recordings of Juice, Supernatural, Chino XL, Eminem and others freestyling on-air and stage, the idea of putting words together myself was birthed.
Freestyling became a tool I used to entertain friends and distract my brain from the pain I was living due to my Dad’s absence. My buddy Dave Burch was the self-proclaimed nickname specialist of our group. He had been calling me, ‘Rick’, short for my given name of Patrick, and started saying, “Chime in on this Rick!”, when a song he liked played. I would respond with what was probably a pretty terrible freestyle over the full song, with hopes of making the group laugh. Eventually Burch morphed my nickname into ‘Rick Chyme’. I was nowhere near realizing my identity as an artist and couldn’t have guessed that people would come to know me by my teenage nickname, many years later. Life is funny.
I completed a decent high school basketball career, but it seemed my days in organized athletics had come to a close.
Following high school, I attended Western Michigan University with hopes of becoming a college basketball coach. After spending a year and a half as a Student Manager, I was presented with an opportunity enter practice when four players didn’t return from what was supposed to be a brief trip home during Christmas Break. Long story short, their decision to stay in Texas eventually turned into a Division I Basketball career, international travel and a scholarship for me.
My experience in collegiate athletics taught me many things…most importantly how to push myself further than I’d thought possible. It also showed me the importance of being properly prepared when opportunity comes your way.
The militaristic approach our coach had towards the game, showed us how powerful our minds really were, although his style wasn’t the most fun way to play the game we loved. Our assistant coaches, including current WMU Head Coach Steve Hawkins and Assistant Coach Clayton Bates, did a remarkable job of holding things together and the adverse conditions really did bring us closer as a team.
During the final season of my career it became clear to me that coaching basketball wasn’t really my true passion. Conversely, my love for Hip Hop had only grown stronger. I’d purchased a basic recording set up and creating had become a distraction from grueling practices and seemingly endless film sessions. I pray that these recordings never surface…we were mostly just putting words together with no real focus. I did write a few therapeutic songs during those days that I still sometimes at shows, but would never have thought of myself an artist.
Having decided on a professional life outside of the basketball world, I scanned myself for possible career interests. Roughly halfway through that final year of school decided on pursuing a career in the music industry on the business side of things.
At the time, my only connection to the industry was my former teammate from WMU, Maverick Carter, who had developed relationships with some powerful music executives through his business partnership with the great, Lebron James. Mav put a word in more than a good word for me and after months of going back and forth with then Def Jam Vice President, Mike Kyser, I landed an internship at Def Jam Records in New York. I’ll be forever grateful to Maverick and Kyser for giving me such an opportunity.
My next two years were spent in New York. First gaining experience working in the Lifestyle Marketing Department (much love to Courtney Adams and Michael Israeli), then as an executive intern and assistant. The things I’d learned from basketball served me very well in at Island/Def Jam. I soaked up information, arriving early in the morning and often staying late into the night, doing whatever work was needed at Def Jam and then heading over to Virgin Megastore in Times Square (R.I.P) to work for a few hours in the Urban Music Department before going to sleep and for a couple hours and then doing it all over again the next day. I was blessed to be at Def Jam during the release of both College Dropout and The Black Album. The energy in the building was electric and sometimes tense.
These days were basically my crash course on the music industry. I saw the inner workings of a major label system, learning valuable lessons from both Artists and Executives. Kanye West, Ghostface, Lyor Cohen, Damon Dash, Jay-Z, Jim Jones, Kevin Liles, Randy Acker, Julie Greenwald, Mike Kyser, Ian Allen, L.A. Reid, Plain Pat, Rick Kleinman, Brie Greenberg, Isha Cole, Mick Luter, Erik Pettie, and Walter Randolph are just a few of the people who impacted me during my time in NY.
Those of us at Def Jam during that period witnessed the executive regime gradually change over from Lyor Cohen & Co. to L.A. Reid and his team. Soon after the leadership shifted, I began working as an assistant in L.A. Reid’s office and also started helping a few artists independently, eyeing a potential career as an Artist Manager.
While still at Def Jam, I began working with, Godwon (Nigeria/Houston), and became fully infatuated with the studio process during some of his recording sessions. Daily my mind was flooded more and more with artistic thoughts. Godwon’s music was also the catalyst that led to me meeting 730 of HHG and sharing these words with you today.
After a few months working in L.A. Reid’s office with no permanent position offered, my former boss, Randy Acker, invited me to work with him independent of a label. Our first job was providing music supervision for Jay Z’s film, “Fade To Black”.
This experience exposed me to world of music publishing and gave me some perspective of how documentary films are constructed. I continued to think more and more like an artist…for years I’d dutifully served coaches and bosses to compensate for left void by my Dad being gone. Finally, I started living closer to the way I wanted and standing up for myself, though irrational and immature at times in my approach.
Following the premier of “Fade To Black”, I lived a two-week period that changed things forever. I didn’t leave my apartment, save for a few excursions to the bodega. Chinese food and some other things were delivered regularly and I spent most of the time writing while partially watching movies, something I still do. I had officially caught the artist bug and began to accept my destiny as a Wordsmith.
I soon moved back to Michigan, stayed jobless, gave plasma and wrote for hours daily. At some point I booked 120 minutes of studio time and recorded two very rough songs. I sent the results to 730 at HHG, telling him they belonged to a new artist I’d met from Michigan, to ensure his objective opinion. His feedback was positive, encouraging the artist to keep working on his craft. I revealed to him that I was actually the one who’d created the songs and continued to develop my skills as a writer, performer and studio musician with unwavering persistence.
I traveled across the state regularly to record and hunted down each and every open mic opportunity available as I honed my craft.
Though I was slowly moving down my path as an artist, twice I interviewed for positions that would have taken me back to NYC. The first interview was for a marketing position at Koch (now E1). The second, a position working at Def Jam Enterprises with Lauren Wirtzer, which I was offered and turned down. Lauren is a great woman and I would have been working in the same offices as Russell Simmons! But Lauren told me I couldn’t talk to him about music… and I was already positive that I was going to release my own albums, even though I was nowhere near ready. I told her I was going to start an independent label and declined the job offer. I know, I know…”I’m an idiot and I should have taken the opportunity”…heard it all before. In that moment, I trusted my gut and made a full commitment to my craft.
Soon after stepping over the line, I met Ryan K. Wilson. I would eventually join his band, The Southpaw Players, and he would teach me much about what it meant be a musician. The two years I spent learning as a member of Southpaw were invaluable. We were often booked for shows requiring two or three long sets in one night. Being accustomed to swift 15 minute sets at open mics prior to joining the band, the longer sets proved to be a hefty adjustment. I gained essential performance experience and some good friends. Those are my guys. Coe, Michael, Ryan, and Sevan.
During that same period, I started working more regularly in the studio with Nixon, mostly on sample-based material. We eventually brought the two worlds together, merging samples with live instrumentation and forged more solid friendships in the process.
Nixon and Ryan K. Wilson are two of the main people responsible for my development as an artist and for the production on my newest release the 5iveit LP. The album features several artists who I’ve become friends with over the years… Molly Bouwsma Schultz, Mike Phillips Jr., Edye Evans Hyde, Coe Lacy, Michael Sullivan, AOK and DJ Eminent…as well as several inspired Mid-Western Emcees; Blueprint, Willie The Kid, Red Pill, Venson Dix, One Be Lo and Azizi Jasper, who all gave themselves to the album, I’m fully humbled by their contributions.
Okay. That’s a scattered version of some of my history. It surely could be told in more detail, more critically, and with a lot more names…maybe one day it will, but I wanted to give you at least an idea of where I’ve been so far on my journey.
What I do know is that I know nothing. I’m hungry and thirsty for knowledge and am in love with the exchange of energy that happens between people across music.
In the coming entries, I’ll talk more about what we have going on currently. There’s some pretty great shit happening. (In the past few months I’ve taken the music into schools, completed a marathon freestyle just shy of 17 hours straight, and taught my dog Willow to jump thru a hula hoop.)
Feel free to ask me any questions you may have…Let me know who you are, where you are, and what you love….I’ll talk to you all again in a bit.
Until then, you can check out a song from, the 5iveit LP, “Starving Artists” in the audio section of HHG. It’s produced by Nixon, features lyrical contributions from Blueprint & Red Pill, and a guitar solo by Michael Sullivan.
Also, keep an eye to the video section, there may be something posted over there as well.
To learn more about me and stream/purchase the 5iveit LP, please head over to rickchyme.com.
5iveit- Push It Past Potential Each Day Manifest Your Dreams.