You’ve been working with Juelz for awhile now. Do you feel like that grind is starting to pay off now?
Yeah. I’m just waiting for it to pay off eventually, you know.
Does having patience ever get hard?
Yeah. It gets frustrating because you’re waiting and you gotta wait for a certain situation and it’s a crew and a movement but it’s cool. I ain’t tripping. Sometimes when you’re waiting, it can happen better than you thought it would happen, like Kanye. Sometimes it can be good and sometimes it can be bad. My whole thing is to be loyal. I’m going to always have my own grind and as long as I grind on my own or whatever the situation is, it’s still the same. It’s all about just going hard and working hard.
You first met Twin when you guys were in college. How did you decide to do business with him like that?
It was cool because we met before he even got a deal or anything like that. He was just rhyming. He was in a group called Draft Picks with his friend Malik. With Twin, it was before the money came into play and all of that. It wasn’t like we met when the wealth came. It was like we met before he even met Cam and all of them. It was good. It was original.
Do you feel like your career is moving where it needs to be?
Yeah, yeah. Twin knows what he’s doing. At the same time, it’s his first time doing it as well. He’s learning as he’s doing it and the first time, you can make mistakes in the game. It’s not bad. But at the same time, I push myself hard too so I’m not just dependent on what he do for me.
You’ve released two mixtapes, Basic Training and Road to Stardom. How important were those to laying the groundwork for your fans?
Oh, they played a major part. Basic Training was the first mixtape I ever tried doing. I used to sit around and go to the studio and I was just putting out who I was. When I was first writing and putting music out, people could see what kind of music I made.
Your new song is “Make ‘Em Say” where you’re talking about being fly and what you’re about. In your opinion, what is fly in 2010?
Being fly is being original. It’s just being original and dressing the way you dress and staying up with the trends. Fly is just being that dude and when people see you, they know that’s fly. It’s swagger through the roof and soaring over them.
How far can that single go?
I want it going through the roof, man. I’m not even lying. I want it to go so far. That’s like the first record that I put out to make the radio and that I tried to put out as a single. I never did it before but I really liked the record. I feel like it’s a really good song. I just gotta get the people to feel what I’m about and what it is and show them who’s behind the music. Like nowadays, when people buy the songs, they don’t buy them for the artist and I want them to buy them for the artist.
What do you have to do to get fans to buy into Richmond Rab the solo artist?
You know, the one thing about me is I just have to be myself, man. If they don’t like me for who I am, I just go out and speak on how I’m feeling. I speak what I do every day. Everybody got people in the world that can relate to what they’re going through. Everybody’s different. You still got people that are going through the same situations that you go through daily.
How do you approach being a solo artist differently from rhyming in Skull Gang?
I feel like all that shit has our own identity. Me, I bring a southern swag to it. When I get on a track I have to floss. It ain’t like nothing you’ve heard before. And sometimes my flow switches up. I feel like I can ride the beat different from a lot of people and it’s a new sound that people never heard of and that’s one thing that people are scared to do now. People will follow trends. Be you. Follow trends but at the same time, be you and don’t try to sound like the next man. That’s how I feel. Once the world gets used to it they’re going to understand and I feel like they’re going to love it. I got a lot of songs and I’m not an arrogant person at all. I’m my worst critic so I’m not going to sit there and say it’s hot because it’s me and that’s what a lot of people got a problem with. They’ll say their song is hot because it’s them but I won’t do that. If it ain’t hot I won’t say it but I could be wrong too. But at the end of the day, man, I know I’m going to make it, man. Definitely.
Do you think you’d be a better fit at a major label or an indie?
I feel like my music is powerful and it’s different. I have people in the game coming to me and telling me that they feel it’s going to blow like Spliff Star, Juelz, Lil’ Wayne and Gucci Mane. They tell me I’m hot and for people on that level to come at you and say something, it means something. And I’m a humble guy and I don’t take it and run with it and get big-headed. Me, I feel like I have the destiny to make a major. We’re going to see. But we’re going to make sure it happens though. Believe that because I won’t stop going hard.
What kind of trouble do you get in with Juelz on the road?
I appreciate it because I get to see things. That’s not to say he’s doing something wrong but I can see how he deals with those things so when it’s time for me to deal with them I know what steps to take to make it successful.
Who’s got more game with the ladies, you or Juelz?
I don’t get caught up in all of that so it’s gotta be the rest of them, man. I don’t even get caught up in all of that. I’m just so focused on the music that I don’t even get caught up in all of that.
Then why are you rapping?
(laughs) I got kids and a family to take care of, man. I ain’t even got time for all of that. I’m just trying to be successful, man. You know, we make the songs and everything and it’s cool but I be chilling, man. I be doing what I need to do to be successful.
If you’re not chasing groupies, how do you pass the time on the road?
I write. I write in the studio and I’m always doing something, music-wise. I don’t get caught up in all of that. I like to make money. I don’t spend money to chase girls. Some girls will chase you for the money and I don’t have time for that.
What’s the best way to spot a gold-digger?
There’s just certain things that go on and you can see how they react to certain things. It’s all about reading the person from the time that you’re around them. It’ll all show.
What’s the Richmond hip-hop scene like today?
Oh, Richmond’s got a lot of talent. That’s something that people don’t realize. It’s just hard to get it out because we don’t have an outlet. It’s almost like you gotta go outside of Richmond and make it happen and then come back. A lot of people are rapping and they have talent. The music is definitely big but these labels and stuff haven’t seen too many people come out of there so they don’t think it’s there but it’s there. There’s a lot of hot music out there.
Who are your favorite Richmond artists today?
Besides myself? There’s a kid, he’s my man, I’m feeling a couple of people out there. J Mack is hot. There’s this one kid that DJ Khaled just signed, Red Rum. He’s on We the Best Records. He’s from Richmond. He’s doing his thing and he’s signed with Khaled. We’re making noise and people will come through and you’re going to see a lot of hot talent coming out of Richmond. I believe in that because as soon as one person gets out, all we need is the outlet and me, I’m going to create that. I’m going to create an outlet for a lot of people to get out there. That’s something that I want to do.
Do you think Richmond gets overlooked when talking about the DMV?
Oh yeah. Definitely. Richmond definitely gets overlooked. There’s Hampton, Norfolk and all that. They got their own different thing they do. D.C., they got their own thing. Maryland got their own thing. They got more superstar status up there with people in the music industry in those areas to where Richmond where the closest person we have in the music industry that’s known is Trey Songz and D’Angelo. But they’re R&B singers, not taking nothing away from them, but they’re not rappers. And we have Mad Skillz but he raps on a different kind of thing. He don’t rap like the street music. We get overlooked because we never had that one person to come up that was street or “makes ‘hood music.”
Do you think Virginia and more specifically Richmond should be included in the DMV or should the regions not be lumped together?
I feel like we’re a part of it. We’re a part of Virginia but there’s a lot of talent out here in these areas too. I feel like we’re a part of it. We just gotta show people that we’re a part of it. We haven’t had that chance to show too much but we’re definitely about to show and prove that we definitely have talent too on our side of things. D.C. got so hot and a lot of people don’t try to come and look for talent in these areas but there’s a lot of talent out here.
How do you plan on taking over the game from here on out?