“When it comes to TIG Entertainment, we believe in artist development,” says former artist turned CEO Fly of T.I.G. (Think It’s A Game), the label that Atlanta native Rich Homie Quan calls home. The two have been mashing out and staking claim amongst ATL’s new generation of rhyme-slingers and indie labels with breakneck speed since Quan dropped his “Still Going In” mixtape in 2012.
“Music is transitioning back to real rap and true story telling,” says Fly. “The very moment we’re in now calls for fresh, new talent.”
If a talented cat with a story to tell is what he’s after, it looks like Fly has hit the jackpot with Quan. While the first single “Differences” off his 2012 mixtape “Going In” opened a few of doors, his follow up “Some Type Of Way” from the 2013 mixtape “Still Going In Reloaded“ proceeded to blow them off the hinges. Two years later, Quan is a household name, appearing on tracks with 2 Chainz, YG, Young Jeezy, Yo Gotti, August Alsina, Problem and Young Thug.
Now, with an album in the works and the world at his fingers, Quan takes a brake from touring to talk to TUD about his road to fame, his favorite author, being a father and everything in between.
THEURBANDAILY.COM: Things have really picked up for you since your mixtape dropped. What’s the rush of success been like for you?
Rich Homie Quan : Man, it’s been a great experience, coming from nothing to now exploring the world and seeing as many new things as you could possible see. Dreams coming true you never thought would come true… so it’s been a great experience.
Now what’s the label situation? Because your wiki page says you’re at Def Jam…
That’s where I’m calling from now… but I’m not signed, I have not signed, never signed to a major label. I’m independent, signed to T.I.G. I have talked to Def Jam, we been in cahoots. Hopefully something will come out of it real soon. But as of now, I’m unsigned.
You’re making a lot of moves for an unsigned dude. Has staying indie always been the plan?
Winning comes with dedication man, you put your mind to it, you can do it. I just try to stay focused at all times, keep my circle small and keep God first.
Have you been dealing with a lot of “new friends” trying to come around since things started rolling?
Not new friends… but you meet a lot of new people. When I say I keep my circle small I mean mostly like family. You keep your family around you. You know family always want the best for you at all times. So yeah, I meet a lot of new people but even as far as artists, I trey to get as much important information as I can get, just to help me get to the next level.
There’s a lot of new blood in the industry looking for the next level too. What do you do to stand apart from them musically?
I stay to my story. I know no ones story is like my story. Like, everything I rap about is a real life situation. Not saying 100% of the stuff I rap about is true, but 90% of the stuff I’m rapping about is real life situations. Stuff I’ve been through, things I’ve seen people go through, I really rap from the heart. I feel like that’s the differentiation from other artists. I stay to my story, stick to my story and just keep it one thousand at all times.
There are plenty of stories to be told in ATL, but you guys have managed to jump ahead of the pack independently. What’s your secret?
Really, me being from Atlanta we didn’t hit the Atlanta market first, but went outside of Atlanta. I think I got my first show booked in Tennessee. Tennessee booked me first. So it’s like once Atlanta started seeing other cities mess with me, they jumped on then. So I wanted to come with like a different tactic cause in Atlanta right now, everybody wants to rap. So with me, I wanted to bring something different to rap so I tell my story. I know my story is different. I know no one has been through what I been through. We all have similarities but no ones story is like this story.
Another things that sticks out is your flow. You’re almost singing. Where did that come from?
Man, that came from Kilo Ali. Kilo Ali had a big influence on me growing up. He’s an Atlanta artist you know? A lot of Atlanta music man, like Outkast… but I wouldn’t call it singing man, that be the pain… that comes from the heart. It’s not singing to me, it’s pain. It is melodic but I call it pain cause it comes from the heart and it’s real.
You’ve been killing with singles. What’s the plan for the album?
I’m working on the album as we speak. I’d say I’m sixty-percent done. I’m a huge studio junkie… I’m finna get ready to go on tour with Wiz [Khalifa] in July and I just wrote with Boosie, that was a big experience for me. One of my biggest experiences. For Boosie to notice me with him being locked up and me being a new artist, it made me feel some type of way in a good way. For him to want me to be on his album? I felt like that was a great look man. I really appreciate Boosie for reaching out man, I had met him at a show, I think he liked my performance, we got together, linked up and it was murder she wrote man. We got a great new banger.
You go from getting your first show in Tennessee to rubbing shoulders with some of the most talked about artists out. Thats gotta be nuts…
It’s a whole new experience, cause you gotta look at it like this. They be more excited to see me than I think I am to see them. Because the people I see are people I’m a fan of. You got Jeezy, Lil Wayne…I kick it with Birdman… I been around everybody. I just try to stay humble at all times cause I know at any moment, God can take it away from me. So I just try to take advantage of every opportunity I have in front of me. (Laughs) I’m just trying to make smart decisions about the new paper that’s coming in. I don’t wanna leave a one-hit wonder or I’m here now and nowhere to be found next year. So I’m making a lot of power moves.
Will this be under TIG or will your own record label be one of these new power moves?
Nah, I got my own thing set up. I got my own label, Rich Homie Quan entertainment. I’m still under T.I.G. but I wanna make myself a boss at the same time, so I founded my own label. I’m looking for talent; I don’t want to be a rapper forever. I’ll be coming out with a clothing line in the fall. Me and Young Thug coming out with an EP. I can’t tell you when but we putting it together.
Young Thug has certainly been making noise lately too. How’s it been working with him?
That’s my brother man. We both from Atlanta, from the struggle, we come from nothing man. Similar situations man, we went to the same middle school and now we trying to make it out the hood the best way we can, telling that story. That’s my brother though.
I don’t see you pulling guns out your pocket like him though…
(Laughs) Nah, I don’t pull guns out of my pocket. That’s not me; I wasn’t on it like that you know? It’s a way you do thing you feel me? I’m trying to set an example for the young kids man; it’s all about the kids and the future. I mean, that’s what I do my music for man, the future, the kids. I try to make my music for everybody. I try to make it friendly where everybody can relate to it like the “Some Type Of Way” track. I’m pretty sure you feel some type of way about something whether it’s good or its bad. So I just try to keep the songs friendly where everybody can relate.
Do you have kids? Is that what’s made you so child conscience? Because you sound like a father right now…
I do sir; I just had a new boy, two weeks old. His name is Royal Rich. It does change you cause you got someone to do it for. You got somebody who looks up to you. You got someone who’s gone do everything they see you do. So you gotta set an example and make sure you do things the right way. So it has changed me at 24. You got kids a family and you still gotta life to live. People only know about what’s happening on TV. They don’t know about the flights, they don’t know about the hotel rooms, they don’t know about the sacrifices you had to make to get in the position you’re in.
To those people you just blew up overnight.
Exactly. And I’ve been doing it for a while. You had to think, I’ve always been into music but I didn’t get serious with rapping until like high school. It started with poetry… In middle school I got locked up and started reading books. Not that I read my first book, I graduated with a 3.2 GPA so I could always read, but to understand it. I could pronounce words great but I never knew what I was reading about till I got locked up and I just seen how powerful reading was. Id rather read a book before I watch a movie. To this day, reading has become one of my favorite hobbies.
Who’s your favorite author?
Yeah, people don’t even look at Rich Homie Quan and expect me to be a reader. I didn’t even know I had an interest in books until I just read one. I love James Patterson. He’s the best to me, in my opinion.
Tell us something else about you that no one else would think.
I have a fetish for women with pretty feet. Pretty feet, nice hands… they gotta have small hands though.
Wait… why small hands?
Cause if your hands are bigger than mine it means something’s wrong, something is absolutely wrong. If your wife’s hands are bigger than yours, you might wanna go check that out man. (Laughs)
Well you did play baseball so I guess you’ve got athlete hands.
Baseball is my favorite sport; I was pretty good at it. I played from four to eighteen. I had love for the sport. I went to the batting cage when I got out of jail; I guess its like writing. You can’t forget how to write. I just don’t have love for the sport anymore. I’m more football and basketball now. I like the fights. I went to the fight in Vegas. That was my first time going to Vegas. It was a great fight… I’d love to see a rematch. I don’t want to say more… Floyd might knock me out. (Laughs)
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Rich Homie Quan: “I Don’t Want To Be A Rapper Forever” was originally published on theurbandaily.com