Editor-In-Chief, Jonas Mullins, sits down with one of rap’s biggest undiscovered talents, Rikki Blu, to discuss his latest album,You Can’t Make Me, and his extensive journey around the US alongside some of the industry’s biggest talents. From sharing the stage alongside the talents of Ash Riser, SZA, OG Maco and more, Blu has cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with.
JM: Thanks for taking the time to chat man, tell me… for those who are not familiar with Dallas, TX, what was growing up in this turbulent neighborhood of Pleasant Grove like? How did it impact your music + creative process?
RB: Man, honestly it’s just as sad as it was helpful. Growing up in a violent area, having a strong mother and father helped me develop and see past the negative aspects of my environment. Most people don’t know, but my father was ex-military and Black Panther. His disciplines were strict as fuck.
JM: Damn, as the son of a Panther, which you reference in the song (Youth), how did his ideals help mold you as a man?
RB: Man, on top of the ideals of The Black Panther Movement, his religious background was just as powerful. Growing up as a Hebrew Israelite, the structure and concept of finding the roots of our history was something very important to him, thus engraining in my mind as a child.
JM: You’ve lived all around the country. That tag ‘journeyman’ seems to fit well. Although you are TX made, how has the constant change of scenery affected your music + inspirations?
RB: Yeah, I grew up on just about everything. Interestingly enough, my Dad was into everything from Linkin Park + Nickleback to old UGK. The ‘Trill Texas’ shit has always been a part of me, but the inspirations are much more diverse. Shit like SoundGarden. People don’t understand that nigga’s from ‘the Grove’ love Rock Music too.
JM: They don’t even know that Rock N Roll was invented within the black community! Having all those different influences are definitely heard in your music. That’s dope. When you first started making music, what was the first piece of production equipment you copped?
RB: Ha! Man, shit was a Streetbox 246. Eventually my brother ended up buying me a MPC1000 when I got into high-school. And man, you are completely right. I had to look into my intentions. My words are powerful and they affect those around me. I’m constantly questioning my music as an artist like: ‘Nigga, what do you really want from this shit’.. does it align with my morals, my family values etc? Knowing that message and vision is more important than the track itself.
JM: It clearly resonates with your listeners. My favorite track you have made up until this point would have to be ‘Youth’. In the intro, the first few lines speak on police brutality. They struck me hard. ‘They say I’m an animal, you think that it’s true? I’m a human like you, food for thought w/ the …’ Lines like these are powerful. Going back to your vision and message, how important is it to see it impacting individuals from all over the world?
RB: It’s a blessing. All of this content is shit that I have experienced and seen. Moving all across the country and experiencing the socio-economic noose they hold on the black community really impacted me. People need to hear what’s really going on out here, even if it isn’t comfortable. Ya feel me?
JM: 100. Up until this point, out of all of the music you have recorded.. what was the most poignant/personal track for you to put out for the world?
RB: Easily ‘All of The Light’.. I had never touched on my struggles with depression, anger and inner demons up until then. There is a stigma within the black community regarding mental illness, whether it stems from poor access to health care, or whatever you want to call it. This music has my heart in it. Every bar, every line. ‘You Can’t Make Me’ was that source of inner rebellion and passion that I was able to show my fans.
JM: You heard it homies. The spirit of Rikki Blu has resonated with thousands across the globe, now it’s your turn. Go cop it!
Follow Rikki on Twitter + Instagram @RikkiBlu. Album available everywhere!