The Break Presents: RJ
As the West Coast continues to churn out talented new artists like Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Ty Dolla $ign, Vince Staples and plenty more, the music being created is leaving a lasting impact in hip-hop. Now RJ, a new face who's been carving out a niche for himself over the years, is putting his mark on the game.
The Los Angeles rapper turned heads on DJ Mustard's 2013 project Ketchup and continued to build momentum when he was featured on YG's debut album, My Krazy Life, with impressive verses. YG, Mustard and RJ form a deadly trio.
"My manager Lemmie, he hooked me up with everything," RJ explains to XXL about meeting Mustard and YG. "When I came into the picture this wasn’t RJ the artist, I was just the homie. He wasn’t even my manager yet. He was they homie. Their brand became a corporation and I was the homie that was hard as fuck and they said, 'I’mma fuck with you.' It’s really simple how we all met. We met in the streets and we took it to another plateau."
RJ has gained a following of his own through 10 Summers: The Mixtape Vol. 1, his impressive O.M.M.I.O mixtape series and hit singles like "Get Rich." After recently dropping O.M.M.I.O 3 last month, RJ looks like the next one up in the wild, wild West. Pay attention.
Hometown: South Central, L.A.
I grew up listening to: "I grew up listening to East Coast rap, West Coast rap, at one point, the South. Once the Internet hit, we were able to listen to what we want to. I would bump some Nas I fuck with him heavy.
"My mom put me on rap, Snoop Dogg. One of the first songs was 'Regulator' by Warren G, that’s super memorable. I remember we were driving around in my dad’s Mercedes Benz, that’s what grasps my attention to West Coast rap.
"I wrote my first rap at 9 years old, it was a movie that I was watching. I think it was South Central. I didn’t see it in the theater but I seen it and that made me want to rap. I started to take it serious when my homie passed away. I started writing heavy. It was just a way of venting. I couldn’t really speak to nobody. I was real anti social. It was a way of venting about the daily things of my life. It wasn’t just bad shit it was everything.
"[I improved because] of my competitor spirit, I come from playing sports and my competitiveness made me improve. I knew what was tight and I knew what wasn’t. I think when I moved to Georgia, I moved out there for like four years, I got my own recording studio. I used to write, probably write a whole 16, and I used to take the hardest bar in that 16 and start over. I just always tried to make shit better until I got a page of just fire shit. I got a little bit craftier with it and that’s how it came about. To a point where I don’t even have to write. Everything I spit means something. Even if you don’t think it does. If it’s not a super bar inside of a bar then it’s a story behind that regular bar."
Most people don’t know: "Growing up I played sports heavy. When my pops was alive he had us playing sports, baseball, basketball, football, I box, at one point, we played golf. He just had me occupied all the time. When he passed away, a lot of it stopped because I didn’t have that extra push. But one thing he did say, I never forget this shit, when he was on his deathbed he said, 'Get out the streets and…,' 'cause he was sick. So I hit the streets to fend for mu family. When he was passing he actually told me to go to school, get in an English class and finish my rap shit."
My style’s been compared to: "When I first came out it was Suga Free or Kurupt cause of how I spit, my lyrical content and the pimp game. It’s not about being a pimp, its just owning your mind. It’s owning yourself, your mentality, your mental capacity, what makes you.
"Now, its just RJ, which is dope as fuck. I’m not trying to be nobody else and truthfully I’m not trying to do something different. Sittin’ up here trying to be weird. I might be weird sometimes but that’s me that’s what I do. I just want this music to be real genuine and I want people to see that at the show."
My standout records and/or moments to date have been: "Standout song is for sure 'Get Rich.' We toured and had shows for a whole year off that song. If we want to take a single moment It’s when I sold out the Novo theater (formerly known as Nokia Theater) in L.A. Fans were screaming my name, I could barely rap. We can count the NBA2K experience. How may people can say they were on NBA2K. Real shit, God is Good."
My goal in hip-hop is: "To be remembered as a genuine person. Through all the bullshit I just want to remember as genuine no matter how far I go. That I made my mark as a genuine person."
I’m gonna be the next: "Be the next god, not the God, but someone great."
Standout: O.M.M.I.O 3
Rich Off Mackin
"Ride With Me"
"When I Was Gone"
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