By Shirley Ju
“I be feelin’ like the man when I walk through!”
I still remember when I played “Walk Thru” by Rich Homie Quan in the car as my girl and I were on our way to a Clippers job fair. She got the job, I didn’t. And I always told her she got the job because I played her that record.
Back then, that song was our anthem. That song gave you immediate confidence no matter what situation you were in. Mind you, we were club rats at the time (that ship has definitely sailed). But most of our evenings were happily spent dancing and hearing the DJ’s spin the hottest music out — which also included “Flex” and “Type Of Way” by the Atlanta-native. For a time, this man had the rap game on lock.
“Feeling some type of way” in turn became one of the most popular phrases in the urban community, and beyond. It became a subtle way of saying you were upset without hurting anyone’s feelings. And then one day, Rich disappeared. After the success of “Lifestyle” featuring Birdman and Young Thug, the industry got the best of him.
After years of independent grinding and the usual music industry mishaps that come with dealing with major labels, Rich has bounced right back, finding a new home at Motown Records. Now, after all this time, we finally have his debut album, Rich as In Spirit. Fitting to the name, this project details Rich’s comeback, whether you like him or not.
On “Reflecting,” the project’s opening track, Rich sings/raps, “Sittin’ back reminiscin’ on my past / I’m focusin’ on the money reflecting on my accomplishments / Knock me down, I got right back up and laughed / I know that I made ‘em mad, showed these folks I done, done this shit / Counted me out and I know they wasn’t in my favor.”
With new records “Changed,” “F**ck Wit Me,” and “34” following suit, it’s immediately apparent Rich is wearing his heart on his sleeve, holding nothing back on all 19 tracks.
On this beautiful Monday afternoon, I was greeted by a poised, high-spirited Rich Homie Quan at the Capitol Records building in Hollywood. We were led into our own space away from his entourage for a more intimate conversation. I asked him if he had any plans while he was in the city of Angels, and he revealed his only plans were hit the studio.
I asked him with who he planned on recording, and he said no-one. He was going to record by himself, after just releasing his debut album. It suddenly dawned on me, people don’t give these artists enough credit. In front of me was an individual who truly cares about perfecting his craft. No matter what obstacles come about, the studio was his safe place. The only company he needed at this point was some good Cali weed.
Congrats on the release of your new album, Rich As In Spirit. How has the fan reception been?
The reception has been great on the album. It’s been a minute since I dropped music. Basically, I’m in a good space right now. I feel good. The fans are responding better than I thought they would.
I actually heard it yesterday. I really respect that you’re putting your story out there. And you’re singing!
It’s like me really releasing my energy from within – my spirit, my soul. So when I’m singing I want you to feel it.
You have a lot to tell with your story, and this album clocks in at 19 tracks. Talk about your creative vision and what sets it apart from your previous full-length projects.
It’s more personal, for one. Everything else was mixtapes and this is my debut album. So when I put this body of music together, I wanted to take it a little more serious than I would take a mixtape because I’ve yet to drop an album. In the day and age we’re in, nobody is really talking about content in music. So I wanted to stay me and tell my story, raw and uncut, not caring who it effects. All I know is that I kept it real with myself — that was really my goal.
How did working with Birdman early on in your career shape the way you do business today?
Aw man, a lot. You know, you learn a lot from Bird. You hear a lot of people shade him and all that, but I really can’t shade Birdman or throw him under the bus because he never did bad business with me. I learned how to keep a business mind about everything and learn how to separate the artist from the business. Other than that, I don’t have anything bad to say about Bird.
I saw in your Rolling Stone interview, all you need in the studio is Henny, weed, and fruit snacks. Can I ask what brand fruit snacks?
I really like a lot of them. Welch’s. The little small kind that kids eat — any kind of those. The mini size, not too big. The mini size just tastes better. I know I can run through a lot of those, but yeah. Anything in the small bags. Gushers. Fruit Roll-Ups.
What about weed? What strains do you like and what do each do for you?
To be honest, I’m from Atlanta, Georgia. So down there, it’s really OG Kush always. I really like Kush. But when I come out to LA, I ain’t gon’ lie, I’m on so much different weed. And it’s exotic, but it has to be a Hybrid. I like a Hybrid, I’m high now.
I’m jealous. If we weren’t at Capitol, I’d bring you a blunt, for sure. Tell us about a time you had a wild trip off edibles.
Aw man, I remember one time I was on tour with Wiz. This was my first tour, the Under The Influence Tour. And I think we got edibles from Denver, Colorado if I’m not mistaken. I ate edibles before, but I think on this particular day, we didn’t have a lot of weed. So I started tripping, like going crazy. And I ate a lot. They had this thing that looks like the milk chocolate Hershey bar, something like that. And I used to like that in school and stuff. So I ate the whole bar. And I kid you not, the next day I woke up and threw up for a long time. I threw up for like two hours and I told myself I’ll never try edibles again. And to this day, I’ve stayed away from edibles.
I gave up edibles too. Speaking of, back in 2015, you got the highest you’ve ever been with Wiz. Are there any other artists that have out-smoked you since?
Since then… nah, because I don’t really let anybody. Wiz out-smoked me. We even smoked together inside of a Walmart. We were skateboarding. It’s the dopest smoking story.
What city was this?
I forgot. It was like the second tour date. [Editor’s note: We do our research, the second show of that tour was in Camden, NJ] But after every show, Wiz liked to stop at a Walmart. So is this particular instance, I go in and he’s just skateboarding down the aisle. We put our back on the wall and just spark a blunt in the middle of Walmart.
Is there anyone else that can give you a run for smoking?
Snoop Dogg. Every time I see Snoop. Snoop gonna always give me a run.
You mention you wouldn’t mind walking away from rap. What other business ventures are you looking at? Anything with marijuana?
Of course, because I would definitely love to open a dispensary. Because I know how much money they make. They need to pass that law in Georgia, so we can stop getting pulled over and stuff. But I would definitely invest in weed. But when I said that, I was really in a bad space. Right now, all I want to do is focus on music. But if I wasn’t doing music, I could also see myself being a sports analyst.
Who’s your team?
It’s not so much a team, I can just talk about all types of sports. I wanna be like a Stephen A. Smith or something like that.
This past weekend, I actually got to visit Lil Peep’s pop-up shop in DTLA. What are your thoughts on addiction in hip-hop, especially in the South?
I don’t really be for that, but I’m not really here to preach or talk about it because I had my share of drugs that I wasn’t supposed to be on. But I’m in a good space now. If you’re addicted to any kind of drugs, I just say man, it’s a time and a place for it. Because who I am, I have to practice what I preach. The kids are the future, so I just don’t like when they promote it hard like that.
Atlanta actually somewhat decriminalized marijuana last year. Has it helped?
A little bit. We can get pulled over with less than an ounce in the city and it’s like a $75 fine. So, at least you don’t have to go to jail for it anymore. But they didn’t pass it all the way, so we still can’t go around smoking.
How do you feel weed prohibition in the South has allowed police to profile black people?
I really think that’s the part that is fucked up. If they smell weed, that gives them probable cause to do whatever they want and it isn’t really that serious. I don’t like that part of the law because that put me in a lot messed up situations. I went to jail and got pulled over so many times because they said the car smelled like weed. And it’s usually just grounds and shake.
Lastly, I got to visit ATL for the first time last weekend. I couldn’t help but notice the quality of weed compared to California. How do you compare the two?
Cali weed is way better. In Atlanta, it’s so many people trying to hustle so there are so many different names. Next time you come to Atlanta, you should just come out there with me. You gotta just get some OG — don’t put any name on it.
I was at the Street Execs studio and they were telling me that you just have to keep smoking, because the weed isn’t as strong.
Yeah, it isn’t at all.
I think that’s so interesting because I’m used to the best quality out here.
The weed is just so different. That’s why I’ve been high since this morning it feels like. [smirks] And at home, I have to smoke so many blunts.
What about your own strain, what happened with that?
Like I said, I wasn’t focusing on weed at the time. I was young. I didn’t know what I know now, but I’m going to get my own strain back popping.
How do you roll up?
I prefer to roll my weed in Backwoods.
Oh okay, Backwoods is the hype.
Well, Backwoods is the hype but I like the …
It’s smoother. No more cigarillos, you can taste the glue. I’m trying to adapt to papers though, you like papers?
I do. I like joints. But, so many of my people have been on Backwoods, that I’m used to them now.
I like the taste. They just taste so natural, so I like Backwoods. But other than that, stay high.