In addition to Rich The Kid’s Rich Forever gang, the Lost You recording artist has been mobbing closely with Fat Joe for almost 7 years now. In fact, the Terror Squad founder gave him a feature at the height of the success of “All The Way Up”, which says a lot about both his character and the talent Richie embodies.
Most recently, Richie wrapped up an explosive stint opening for Smokepurpp overseas on the Lost Planet Tour, performing for fans all across the world.
For those who don’t know, who is Richie Wess?
Richie Wess is an artist grinding, have a lot of history independent. Been moving around making noise for a minute but we about to apply big pressure right now. It’s time.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been creating music for over 10 years, just in the process of creating. But grinding, I been grinding in the industry for a solid 5 years at least.
Where do you fit in the realm of hip-hop and R&B?
In between hip-hop and R&B. I fit at the top of both. Anything you do, you want to be at the top of your game. If I’m doing hip-hop, I’m going for the top. If I’m doing my R&B — because I do R&B too.[laughs]not really. If I could top the hip-hop charts, I could do anything.
You’re born in Queens but come from Tampa, Florida?
I got connections in both, heritage from both. My family’s from New York, but we’re first generation Floridians. My brother was born in Tampa, I came to Tampa real young. It’s the best of both worlds. You got two cities you got connections to. New York’s li, a lot of homies in New York I rock with. Florida’s lit too, I enjoy both. My music’s a melting pot of everything I experience because I travel a lot too. I don’t let my music box me in. The slang or terms we use in Florida influence my music to still have that feeling in it.
How important is it to come to LA as an up and coming artist?
Huge, you gotta come and catch the vibe. LA’s a vibe. Even this past weekend, networking, seeing a lot of your peers out here working in search of that same goal of staying consistent and relevant in this industry. LA’s definitely on that checklist for an independent artist. LA, New York, Atlanta, you gotta experience where the culture’s moving.
What’s your favorite part about the West Coast?
The gas! The good gas. The women, weather, and weed baby. I like it all. I like the weather right now, it’s perfect. You get to work. Networking and working in my city, it’d take two months what you could accomplish in two weeks in LA. Everybody’s out here.
At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
When I got booked for my first show 5 years ago. I got paid for it. I said “okay if I could make money off of doing this, then I know it’s for real. I’ma keep going, keep applying pressure.” If you follow the same formula — staying consistent, stay working and setting goals for yourself — anything you do, you can grow from it.
What were you doing before the music?
Before the music, I was doing anything to get some money. [laughs] Either way music or not, we was getting that money.
What’s the inspiration behind your name?
It’s the part of Tampa we’re from, they call it Wes Wes. I played off of that. Before that, my first rap name was Johnny Kash, no Johnny. Money’s always been the motivation. I like to speak things into existence. By applying ‘rich’ to the name, it’s like “oh this rich ass n*gga” or “why you always looking like you rich?” I just encompassed it.
You were mobbing with Terror Squad for a sec. What’s your greatest memory with Fat Joe?
A lot. My first time going overseas was with him, we went to an island called Curacao. It was dope, it’s near Aruba. The first time I got out the country was with him. It was a 3-day festival, I got to meet a lot of artists in the game. My first networking experience, big homie opened those doors.
You just released your Lost You EP. How has the fan reception been?
It’s been good. Lost You is an EP but I tried something new on this project. Mostly people hear me rapping, I did records that were out the box on Lost You. Including the title track and “Frenemies,” which is like a harmonizing rhyming scheme. It was dope. I got to collab with my homie Rich the Kid, Young Scooter, Hoodrich Pablo Juan. It really encompasses everything I’ve been doing for the past year, those are the people I been really rocking with.
In “Yes,” you say “I told mama when I was young I want it all.” What does mama think now?
Mama’s happy. I just got back off of tour. I just left Europe, me and my brother surprised moms. She’s a 20-year hairstyle salon owner so we revamped her whole salon. We put some bread into it. Now it’s crazy updated. She’s excited. We posted on the Gram. She’s happy. The money we making off the music, we putting it back into the family and business. Mama proud. [laughs]
Talk about the independent grind?
The independent grind is exactly what it sounds like: the grind. Right now is the best time for the independent because so many things and outlets outside of the business are being opened. Even distribution opportunities are more available — not only by majors doing digital distribution platforms, but CD Baby and other distributors. You’re able to get your content out there to the consumer. In the past, you had to be with a label or sell it out your trunk.
The independent grind’s really having your business in order. At the end of the day, it’s still business. Have the business in order, set goals, and you’ll start seeing things come into fruition. Then you might have to do that situation situation. [chuckles]
What are some goals yourself as an artist at this point of your career?
Continue to grow, continue to tour, continue to make good music. Everything else will fall in line if you follow those things.
Talk about linking with Smokepurpp on “Party.”
Ha! Purpp my boy, Florida boy. We did “Party” in Poland. We were on Purrp’s last tour called Lost Planet Tour, I was support. We rocked out, did the whole tour. We did 24 countries in 32 days. Started off in Poland in the studio vibing out. The beat came up, we just went off the vibe of touring in Europe.
What is it you want fans to get from your story?
I want fans to get a story of hustle, motivation, consistency, and the real. We give you real music, real relatable, we don’t do any of the gimmicks. When you hear my music, you gon’ really understand who I am as a person. The trials and tribulations of what I go through, that’s what my music’s about. No cap.
How important is social media for your career?
Social media’s important for everybody’s career. It’s crazy, but you have to be social. You see artists like Cole who have this core following and he’s not really involved in the social media. He’s the 1%, but everybody else is trying to go viral. It’s like what lining? How do you deliver content with inactivity? You need a team who’s doing the activity for you, so it’s a catch-22. Social media’s so important for our generation of artists because everybody’s on their phone. I don’t even watch TV. I’m on Instagram, I’m streaming. If I turn on the TV, I’m on Netflix. You got to engage with where the people are at.
Favorite person to follow on IG?
You know what’s crazy? I’m on the Explore page. I watch the pages that post the most content because that’s the way you stay the loop. I can follow basically the whole IG that’s lit if I just follow The Shade Room, etc. I share with the homies if we see something funny, like “yo you see this shit?!”
What’s a normal day in the life? Walk us through.
Get up, roll a nice Backwood, check the trap. The trap could be your bank account, anything. Check the motivation, then get to it! Most of the time when I check my phone, that lets me know what I’m moving to next.
3 things you need in the studio?
Dope vibe, gotta have the vibe. If the vibe is off… the vibe could be so many things. There’s a wide range of vibes, but you know the vibe when it’s the vibe. Gotta have some good gas, and dope beats. All 3 of those create a banger.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
Something getting money. Maybe I’ll be a stockbroker. They play with money right? [laughs] They play with numbers. I’d be a stockbroker on Wall Street, 50th West St.
What’s the best encounter you had with a fan?
On this last tour, we had somebody who drove from Stuttgart, Germany, to Düsseldorf. Crazy thing is one of the shows got cancelled, they came to the next show and drove about 16 hours. Luckily, I was on the dark side of the DM (the side you don’t check) to see them out there and writing all that. I was like “oh shit, let me link with them.” The city we were in, I wrote on my Air Forces I performed in and gave it to them.
Somebody broke their leg at that same concert. It was a crazy ass performance experience. And he was still happy! He was like “fuck it, I broke my leg at your show!” Lit.
Who’s the most played artist on your phone?
Myself, Yung Dred, and the rest of the artists I rock with. Right now, I’m listening to that World Is Yours 2. “Save that,” when you hear the beat it’s going to make you like aye! I like “4 Phones” also.
Just for the checkbook of making all the people that put me on the music happy — and not for his current work right now, but classical — Nas. That’s some legendary music shit. Jay Z too. But if I could pick one, I’d definitely pick Nas.
Any shows in LA?
We’re going on tour starting June. It’s gonna be a deep tour. I don’t know everybody who’s confirmed, but I just spoke to the homies Yung Mal and Lil Quill. Their brothers, me and my brother are actually brothers and there’s another set of two brothers who are lit right now. It’s going to be a family matters type vibe.