Despite his age and wild rap persona, Rich the Kid is one of the brightest and most calculated young hip-hop minds in the game today — how did he do it?
Rich the Kid might just be the smartest 25-year-old working in hip-hop today.
Now you might’ve seen some of his past interviews and think to yourself that there’s absolutely no way that’s true, but there is actually a lot more to Rich than meets the eye. His entrepreneurial grind as a rapper and label head surpasses even some of the biggest artists in hip-hop today like Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole.
Unlike those superstars, Rich has been very hands-on with his label Rich Forever Music and invested a lot of time into developing and promoting new talent. His first signee was Chicago-based rapper Famous Dex, who has now become a rap star in his own right after his single “Pick It Up” caught fire in late 2017.
But Rich didn’t stop there. He went on to sign New York rapper Jay Critch, who is also having a banner year coming off the success of his song “Fashion” and a big look from Donald Glover’s FX series ‘Atlanta’ which featured his track “Did It Again” with Rich. Earlier this year, Rich brought Blac Chyna’s new boo YBN Almighty Jay into the Rich Forever Music fold, who has also been doing big things as part of the YBN collective alongside YBN Nahmir.
In addition to the rappers he’s already put on, Rich also has his own career that is blossoming and already feels like an established rap game vet despite his young age — probably because he’s been in the game for a minute.
Rich dropped his debut mixtape ‘Been About the Benjamins’ and a pair of collaborative mixtapes with Migos called ‘Streets on Lock’ in 2013. He has released 15 mixtapes since and collaborated with every current hip-hop star you can think of: Wiz Khalifa, 2 Chainz, Lil Yachty, Playboi Carti, 21 Savage and Young Thug, just to name a few. Name a rapper, Rich has probably worked with them in some capacity.
In September 2016, before the “Icon” hype, Rich even collaborated with Jaden Smith on a track called “Like This.” While the collaboration itself might not be immensely significant, the timing certainly was. This was really before anyone took Jaden rapping seriously and he was seen as more of the wannabe cool kid son of Will Smith. He was on his way, but the over 20 million views on YouTube for “Like This” helped Jaden get to the next level of his hip-hop career and Rich had a big role in that.
With his debut album ‘The World Is Yours’ set for a March 30 release date, there’s really no telling where Rich can go from here. The album’s lead single “New Freezer” featuring Kendrick Lamar is already a certified smash with nearly 100 million Spotify streams and another 40 million-plus YouTube views for the music video as of late March. His follow-up single “Plug Walk” is also hit and Rich took the No. 1 spot on the ‘Billboard’ Emerging Artists list in early March.
In a hip-hop landscape where so many young rappers are chewed up and spit out, Rich is an anomaly. Outside of his own career, he is helping guide others to stardom and also become something of an influencer who can spot raw talent and help mould it. Rich might not be the most talented rapper out right now, but his ridiculous hustle and grind are what the greats built their hip-hop careers. It’s refreshing to see someone as young as Rich get it and not get taken advantage of just because he has one or two hot songs. He is setting himself up for longevity in a game that almost never offers any and that alone is an incredible feat.
Words by Patrick Cwiklinski – Photos by Vicky Grout for Ssense.