RICH THE KID
“Listen, bro. I don’t believe in all that bullshit. i believe in none of that shit. I don’t even wanna think about that...I’m pouring up right now...”
This is Rich The Kid after the idea of an impending apocalypse is broached. And it makes sense. His album, The World Is Yours, recently hit number 2 on The Billboard 200, so why talk about doom? And why talk fear when you have hits across the board—the extraterrestrial trap ballad “Plug Walk,” which has notched over 200 million streams, and an ode to ice of all kinds—watches, diamond chains, rings— titled “New Freezer,” featuring Kendrick Lamar in an instantly unshakeable swagger-soaked banger. Why talk about anything but the fruits?
We’re on the phone. Rich doesn’t say much— exhaustion? Not giving a fuck? Savant-style ease? Who knows...
“Real fast. Like, ten minutes,” he says of the process of recording “Plug Walk.” Stardom now breeds in hyper-speed, ladies and gentleman, and the babies are Rolls- Royce whips, frozen wrists, and Louis Vuitton out the yin-yang. “I freestyle everything. A verse takes me, like, 5 minutes. A whole song takes me, like, 15 to 20 minutes. It depends on what mood I’m in. “Plug Walk”...I did that in, like, 12 minutes— the whole song.” Let that sink in. Now weep, because it all just might be that easy.
Does Rich have a shred of doubt inside of him? We have to wonder. He seems to have gone from a figment of his own imagination to the 25-year-old CEO of Rich Forever Music in a cosmic blink, spreading himself all over the Hip-Hop waves like wildfire. He is also signed to Interscope Records
and has collaborated with some of the biggest names out there: Future, Migos, Chris Brown, Khalid, Lil Wayne and beyond.
The mystique behind an artist can sometimes feel just as interesting as the accolades and work in front of them; Rich speaks in a paradoxically hoarse whisper, presumably care of Indica rolled up in his choice of Backwoods, but his charisma and beaming personality on stage and in music videos leaves you feeling something else. Like you want to be there in the video dancing next to him, amidst the fever dream of aliens, futuristic cars, twerking models, stacked cash, and general not-giving- a-fuckery. “There’s a time and a place for everything...” he grumbles, referring to his swaying moods of fluttering energy and zombie-like low- key floating.
The prelude to his fame sounds circuitous. Born in New York, his family is originally from Haiti, and he grew up speaking fluent Haitian Creole. After his parents’ divorce he moved with his mother, landing outside of Atlanta. “I played video games. Stealing stuff. Breaking into houses and shit,” he says when I ask him what he was up to before his career launched. He doesn’t seem to care for reminiscing. Currently settled in Los Angeles, he’s more focused on the now—a kind of Ram Dass of rap, a guru swimming in an eternal, glorious present.
All the while he recognizes the godfathers on whose shoulders he stands. In particular, Nas, who inspired the title of his recently released debut album, The World is Yours. Rich even begins to hum along to the tune mid-interview, “Whose world is this? The world is yours. The world is yours... it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s mine...”
We look into the crystal ball of destiny: “150 million records sold,” he utters, answering as to what he foresees as a sweet future. And your guess is as good as mine—150 million seems possible at this rate, and he’s even counting his blessings, saying one of the best parts of being a star is being able to share all of it with the people he loves.
But there is the mall conundrum. He can’t really go there anymore, unless he wants to be mobbed for autographs and selfies. “People randomly come up to me to take pictures,” he says of this new life phase.
And how does it feel, Rich?
“It’s pretty cool...sometimes. Except early in the morning when I’m tired...”
Cue the beat. Gas up the rocket ship. Let the stars twinkle. Rich The Kid is piloting this one. And we have no idea where we are going, but if we were to take a collective guess, I think we’d say the direction is up.
1. Fantasy rider submitted by Rich the Kid for pseudo-psychoanalytic analysis:
- A Roomba with a cat riding it
- Two 5 packs of Backwoods and 1/8th Marijuana, LOUD
- Bugatti Veyron with Goyard brand interior details
- A traptop playing Trap Talk
- The disco shoes with live fish in the heel
- An unopened, SEALED copy of Kazaam (1996) starring Shaq
- Starbursts, pink and red flavors ONLY2
2. Here we are presented with two colors: one pure, primary; the other softened. Rich has chosen a confection known as a “Starburst,” which at first connotes something celebratory, ecstatic. But when parsed the name takes on a new, more troubling subtext—“star” and “burst.” The candy as the locus of cathexis suggests a fixation on achieving a childlike, almost regressive satisfaction, while the purification ritual performed before Rich’s apprehension of his pleasure object invokes Dr. Pellier’s indispensible 1987 text Reading the Rainbow, which would frame the fixation on color as a psychodynamic metaphor for Rich’s own feelings of having risen through the ranks and leaving his competitors in the dust so to speak. Though the pink (a softened red) intermingling with the pure red suggests that Rich still feels he has room to reach an even higher, purer expression of his creative energies, if he can avoid the “star burst” that has claimed so many yellows and oranges (to further extrapolate Rich’s subconscious metaphor) before him.
Written by Augustus Britton
Photographed by Mason Poole
Styled by Zoe Costello
Groomed by Bekah Lesser
Film by Mowgly Lee