Philthy Rich is a Bay Area legend, period. The Oakland native is a lot of things, describing himself as “a person who started from the bottom man and worked his way to where he’s at.” Whether he’s playing the father, businessman, rapper, or CEO hat, real name Phillip Beasley prides himself in his relentless work ethic — something he attributes to his ever-growing success today.
With over a decade in the rap game and over 100 mixtapes, Philthy continues to unleash bangers for his ever-growing fanbase. Hailing over 453K followers on Instagram alone, he proves to be a role model for anyone who’s chasing their dreams and looking to change their life for the better. Off his current lifestyle alone, his actions on and off-line subconsciously motivates listeners to go our and get theirs, no matter what their circumstances.
Most recently, he unleashed his new album titled Big 59, a 30-track project dedicated to his neighborhood in Oakland. Standout singles “Stash House” featuring Sage The Gemini and “Best Life” have been in serious rotation, as audiences are also reminded of his thriving businesses and endeavors.
Flaunt Mag caught up with Philthy during his few days in Los Angeles (shortly after press stops in New York, Atlanta, and Louisiana) to discuss his different avenues of income, experiences behind bars.
Prezi said you’re the hardest working in the industry right now. What does that entail?
It’s a given, that’s how I got to where I’m at. Not the battle rapping, the hip-hop, the bars, the metaphors and all that, mine was just outworking everyone.
Why are you the East Oakland legend?
Because the things I did for my generation, my side of Oakland, haven’t been done how I did it. That’s the reason why just by making it — not even just in music but in life, as far as I have. Not too many do that. It’s how you carry yourself, how you respect people. It’s how you stand your principles, morals, and manners. It’s your upbringing.
Guapdad told me Oakland doesn’t show you love in the beginning, is that the same case for you?
I wouldn’t say Oakland as a fanbase. If anything, I’d say the people that I knew. If you say Oakland ain’t showing love, I don’t know if he’s talking about his friends or the city. I feel like the city embraced me because they knew me. I won the city and my fans over before I won my peers, because they didn’t know if I was going to take it serious or not. If I was just doing it for whatever.
At what point did you start to take music seriously?
When I started seeing revenue. When I started seeing my fan base, because I was on a free tour. I saw I had a line of people up there looking for me, I’m like “okay, something’s working”.
How much revenue were you getting?
Yeah. Even with my iTunes, I remember one time I was with this distribution company called Rapbay. I was going up there, getting a little $50 every month to pay my Metro bill. One month I got $500, then one day I got $5,000. This is years ago. I was with someone when we picked it up, he’s like “hold on, how the hell? Something must be wrong.” She’s like “he got more projects than you. He’s putting out more music.” That’s when it clicked like “okay.” In the drug game, the music would be the drug.
Was it hard to walk away from the streets?
Of course. But the reason why I chose music: it was an eye opener, I was going down the wrong path. I decided to do different things ‘cause I already seen where I was going. The people around me that I so called “love” in the streets, they weren’t the ones that was telling me “this is where you are going.” It had to be someone else. When I heard that, that’s when I decided to focus on music.
How long ago was that?
That was probably 2006 when I first started to rap. I didn’t put out my first album out until 2009 because I kept going back and forth to jail.
How long were you locked up for?
It was spontaneous times: a year here, a year there, etc.
People me acting like a year ain’t shit, that’s crazy.
I mean, it ain’t shit to the numbers I hear! N*ggas be getting 15’s, 45’s, all that. That ain’t shit. I remember I used to want to go to jail, to get a little 90-day clean out. Going through shit in the streets, damn near feeling safer in jail than in the streets. Especially when you got the police against you AND you’re beefing.
Once you’re back there though, I’m guessing you hate it?
Yeah. I haven’t done multiple years like that but I’ve done enough time to know how to cope with it. Like I said, there were times when I’d want to go to jail just to clean myself out. Get focused.
What was the last straw?
Well I’ve been out since 2010. I guess it was paying attention then what was going on in my life, what was getting me back to that side. Then in 2010, I was getting a buzz so I’m like “man I gotta stay off this.” I had to turn myself in on my birthday. In 2010, I turned myself in on my birthday so I could stay out for my son’s birthday.
Talk about being a father on top of all that you do. How old are your kids?
16 and 13, it’s hard for sure. It’s hard because you be on the road a lot. You miss a lot, especially when you’re trying to be in their life on the daily. You just have to stay grounded. Stay in contact with them, stay on the phone with them, texting with them, Facetiming with them.
What’s their favorite Philthy Rich song?
Anthony’s is “My Two Sons,” which is a song about both of them. That’s probably the same for Phil too.
You just unleashed the visual for “The 5.” What was the reality growing up in your hood in Oakland?
It’s the hood everywhere, just typical hood shit. Kids looking up to the drug dealers, wanting to be like them. Wanting to have what they have, wanting to shine like they shine, wanting to look like them. Some of us went to middle school, high school, some of us didn’t. Everywhere I go, even my core fanbase when I do shows, I be in these people’s hoods. It’s the norm to me.
Did you go to middle school?
Yeah, I got kicked out of school twice. I got kicked out of school in the third grade, just being bad and rebelling, having no father in my life. I went to jail for my first time when I was 11. In San Leandro, we were going out there beating up kids and taking their bikes. Then I got kicked out of high school and my mama sent me to Job Corps.
What keeps you back home?
It’s crazy because as I got more popular, I wanted to move out. Every time I come home, I go there [the hood]. I don’t want to say it keeps me grounded, but that’s where I feel comfortable at.
You say “the big homie I make sure everybody eat.” Talk about your people and taking care of them.
With that one, I was talking about dealing with everybody I’ve dealt with. Whoever I deal with, I want to see the best for them. I want to see them eat. If it’s giving you some game or advice about something that you know nothing about, connecting you with a play, or coaching you through something, that’s me showing you that I give a fuck enough to even help you.
What’s one thing you want fans to get from Big 59?
A lot of people associate what we do in Oakland as violent, gangs, or negative. Even all my titles, Sem God, SemCity Money Man, that’s not just me. That could be anyone from where I’m from and feel that way. Sem God was: we’re gods and kings. That’s my hood so I’m a god of that. SemCity Money Man: a n*gga from the hood that’s getting money. That’s not just me, it’s whoever’s getting to the bag and feeling how they’re feeling. The Big 59: 59 that’s my hood. We the big dogs from the hood. OGs, the big homies, same thing.
Where you at?
I’m a big dog for sure. It’s not just I gave myself that, I proved it. People graduate. At one time, I was the little dog. I was the underdog.
Who do you look up to?
To the niggas that I still look up to. If they’re alive, I have to still look up to them because they made it this far.
“Amen” is real personal, are you religious?
Yes, I believe in God. I’m not going to sit up here and say I go to church every Sunday, but I do pray. Ask for forgiveness.
Best memory from the “Stash House” visual with Sage? Talk about linking with him.
I had seen Sage at Iamsu’s iamsummer tour. I asked him “what’s up man, we ever gonna do a song or what? What is it, you got something against me?” You know, there’s people like that. He’s like “nah man it’s good, just send me one of them Philthy songs.” I’m like “alright,” so I fished through a few beats. When I work with other artists, I want to go off their feel, over their vibes. If I do a song with Ash, bam. I want her to send me the song because of how I might be feeling at that time. I might be working on an album, a deep album, so my choice of beats might be different from what she wants. She might want something uptempo.
Best memory from shooting the visual?
I made that n*gga wait out there hella long to shoot the video [chuckles], because I was shooting dice. He been ready to go. He was out there from morning until night time, I was shooting dice.
How much have you made off it?
In the casino, I’ve done hit about $50K before.
That’s just pure luck though right?
Nah. [laughs] There has to be a strategy to it. My strategy, I go in the morning when ain’t nobody at the Craps table. I can shoot by myself and I up the bet to $100 instead of $15. Most people that shoot, they be like “oh it’s 15 on the table.” When I raise it to $100, they don’t want to get in it. If I’m the only person there, then I’ma keep getting the dice back and forth so it makes it easier for me to get on fire and hit. But if I stand at the table, everybody’s right here and I’m just betting, by the time it gets back to me, I’m broke. Because everybody has to lose if it gets back to me, right?
Did you just put us on game?
See I was helping you right there, make sure you eat.
What exactly happened with Mozzy?
What exactly happened was… somebody decided to deal with somebody that I don’t deal with. Not just me saying this, everybody felt it was disrespectful. Just by not even making context, especially if you feel like this is your brother. This is your friend. Somebody you been dealing with.
Were you guys hella tight?
I mean, you tell me.
You guys cool now?
I haven’t talked to him.
What do you make of hip-hop beef nowadays?
I wouldn’t recommend it. When you’re in the streets, there’s certain ways you go about handling things. Another thing you got to understand: for a person to make a diss song about you — and I’ve been through this before, a person made a diss song about me numerous times, I’ma pass it to them — so that means that the person they’re talking about, did it to them. Or if you didn’t do it, now they’re investigating it. Now they in your business, so it’s hard for you to have something to happen when you’re both out there disrespecting each other. What I recommend for anybody rapping, if you’re really going to do something, then don’t rap about it.
We gon’ get Drake and Meek situation where you guys link up and create a banger?
I don’t know man, I create bangers by myself.
You have so many businesses: Hood Rich clothing Store in Las Vegas, Killzone Gelato cannabis strain, Real Bullies Back In Style dog breeders, and Royalty Salon a thriving hair salon in Vallejo, CA. How did those come about?
I breed bulldogs, and I have a modelling company.
How do you juggle so many endeavors?
Text messages. [chuckles] It ain’t that hard.
How many sources of income is that?
Weed, rapping, modeling, dogs… everything is branded. Everything that I mention is branded. My first mixtape was named Hoodrich. Killzone is my hood, that’s the Big 59. Royalty because I felt if you a woman, you go to a salon you want to feel like royalty. The modeling thing is called Teen Philthy modeling, that was my handle with the girls back in the day. Real Bullies Back In Style I had an album called Real N*ggas Back In Style.
You got your own bulldog?
I have about 20 something dogs. Not all in my cribs, they’re spread around. I got some in the kennel, some in different houses.
What’s your love for bulldogs?
I was just buying them at first as pets. The person I was buying them from was like “you should start breeding them.” I started seeing how you can make a whole lot of money off this shit.
Out of all this, what brings you the most money?
The rap is good.
You recently gave back to the community with the 100 Red Bottoms Giveaway (a philanthropic mission for students with 3.0 GPA or higher). How’d that come about?
I told somebody I was going to do it, so I had to do it. That accumulated over the past some years. I was looking at them like “damn, I don’t know what to do with them. Should I sell them? I had a vision and I said it in an interview. They have to be a 3.0 because it was a reward, it wasn’t just given to kids that were being bad in school.
What grades were you getting in school?
I didn’t have no grades, I wasn’t going to class. I was in the hallways. I got a diploma out there in Job Corps, I got kicked out of school.
What are some goals for yourself at this point of your career?
Just keep trying to make my brand bigger and bigger. Build and push whoever’s around me that’s solid. They want to be in this music industry or whatever it is, try to keep them on the straight arrow. Give them as much advice as I got and keep it all the genuine.