If your dream is to make it on-air as a radio personality or DJ, learn from Ferrari Simmons. The Florida native went from producer to Music Director at Atlanta’s top hip-hop radio station, Streetz 94.5 — while hosting his show on Baller Alert (covering trending topics), while deejaying at all the hottest clubs and functions, while being a husband and father to 4 beautiful children, while putting out his own singles, while being an entrepreneur, while starting his own reading program and remaining active in his community.
When it comes to the music industry, work ethic, relationships, knowledge, passion, and experience is everything, and Ferrari captures each one to the fullest. By creating a strong presence for himself in the community early on, the ladies couldn’t help but exclaim “hey Ferrari” when they saw him.
Fast forward to 2020, Ferrari is proud to have discovered rap’s current superstars super early on in the game, from Lil Baby to Megan The Stallion to DaBaby.
Having an ear for good music and a pulse to the streets, he just hopes to leave a long-lasting impact on the world through his genuine personality and loving heart. Most recently, he releases his new single “All Booties Matter” featuring Lil Donald and 1501 Entertainment’s Erica Banks.
AllHipHop caught up with Ferrari who was literally on air at the station, to discuss how he got his start, love for music, fatherhood, discovering Lil Baby, Meg, and DaBaby years before they popped, and more!
AllHipHop: Where are you located?
Ferrari Simmons: I’m in Atlanta, Georgia. The A is lit. It’s actually super lit right now with the protesting going on downtown, I’m right in the middle of it.
AllHipHop: Being from Florida, what was the household like growing up?
Ferrari Simmons: Florida was fun. I grew up in South Florida so we never really had cold weather ever. I never experienced snow on Christmas growing up in Florida. It was cool, a lot of sports in my household. Parents were working all the time so I took to sports and music. I always deejayed in high school, I hosted the pep rallies for school. I was one of the kids in school always on the microphone getting everyone to calm down, leading the pep rallies, deejaying high school parties. Same thing in college, I was always active.
AllHipHop: Did you fall in love with deejaying in high school?
Ferrari Simmons: As weird as it sounds, yeah. I stopped because I was trying to be a rapper. I ran track too, so I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I got a scholarship and went to USF in Tampa. That’s the only reason I went to college to be honest. I tried to start rapping a little bit, my songs were pretty good. The only reason I could get it played on the campus radio station was because I did my own radio show. Everyone listened to my radio show, even the president of the school. It was pretty dope, that’s when I thought I was really good at radio. I started taking that serious my senior year in school.
AllHipHop: Was there someone you aspired to be when you were coming up, like “ooh, I want to be like them”?
Ferrari Simmons: Yeah actually, DJ Khaled. He was on the radio when I was younger. I’d come to Atlanta every summer, my sister at the time lived in Suwanee. When I’d come spend time with her, I’d listen to Greg Street, Frank Ski, Ryan Cameron. I saw people who looked exactly like me on the radio. They weren’t rapping, they weren’t being an athlete. They’re talking on the radio, I thought “man this is a super cool job, I want to do that.” I tried to do it in Tampa, it’s a little rough because I didn’t have any opportunities available for me. I moved to Atlanta after I graduated.
AllHipHop: Talk about taking over as Music Director for Streetz 94.5 Atlanta’s New Hip Hop Station.
Ferrari Simmons: I kind of was the Music Director before they gave me the job. I started picking the songs anyway, and I was right. I remember I had this big argument with my boss, the PD, about the Rich the Kid’s “Plug Walk.” First time he heard it, he hated it. I said “that’s about to be a #1 song, it’s about to do numbers.” He said “yeah right.” We had a little wager and I was right. After that, he started asking me for real. When my contract was up, he asked “you want to be Music Director?” I said “sure.”
AllHipHop: So you have your own show?
Ferrari Simmons: Yeah, did the night show with me and Fly Guy DC. 6pm to 10pm here in Atlanta, Monday through Friday. Towards the end of my first contract 2018 going into 2019, he offered me the Music Director job and I took it.
AllHipHop: Talk about balancing your career and being a father to 4 kids.
Ferrari Simmons: It’s a lot because my wife needs attention, too. We came up with a dope concept: I decided to take off Sundays. Sunday: phone off, phone on silent. You can’t even reach me, all dedicated to her and my family. I lay low, I’m relaxing. For the most part, I do a lot with them during the week too. With school being out, I was able to just spend time with them all day. I leave to go to work, then come right home. The clubs are starting to open back up, but I’m still not going into the clubs yet. I’ma wait a little bit. I’m spending a whole bunch of time with my kids.
AllHipHop: Are you deejaying at the clubs or are going to have fun?
Ferrari Simmons: Nooo, I go to deejay. That’s the last place I want to go to have fun. I want to go travel. Since the Coronavirus, I haven’t been doing anything.
Ferrari Simmons: I have a knack for picking out artists and records early, interviewing them. I remember we interviewed DaBaby in 2017, Megan Thee Stallion in 2017, Lil Baby in 2017. Way before they popped. That’s around the time we first got our show, me and Fly Guy DC were getting in trouble for interviewing no name artists. You know radio: if your PD doesn’t know who they are or they’re not big, they over here like “why ya’ll keep interviewing these people?” That’s why you can go right on my Instagram, scroll down a little bit, Lil Baby stops the interview and says “I want to thank ya’ll for jumping on me early, before everybody.” Same thing with DaBaby, I remember I had to sneak him to do an interview with him.
AllHipHop: Was that when Walker Texas Ranger was out, or before that?
Ferrari Simmons: Before that. I actually had him do The Dungeon in here, where he comes and freestyles. 2017, you could tell he doesn’t even look how he looks now. He went by Baby Jesus at the time. We have a knack for hearing who’s new. We’re not 100% right but the times we’re right, we’re right. Same thing with Megan. She didn’t go by Megan Thee Stallion, she went by Tina Snow. I was introduced to her with 1501, Carl. We had a meeting with him with his new artist Ericka Banks coming up. We had a knack for creating that energy with new artists. It was our time and we rose with them. People already know when it’s a new record, who’s hot, I get a phone call. Fly Guy DC gets a phone call.
AllHipHop: I feel like the percentage is low for artists who actually do end up poppin’ off. How does it feel to have your pulse on the top artists of our generation?
Ferrari Simmons: It feels great. At first, we weren’t getting credit. The bigger and bigger they got, the more so they saw Rari was there. Jack Harlow, I found him right out of high school. As soon as he made it through high school, he came right in here and did a Dungeon for me. DJ Drama found him off my Instagram page, signed him. True story.
AllHipHop: What are your relationships with these people now? Do you do interviews and reminisce on the early days?
Ferrari Simmons: Our last interview with Jack Harlow, he said the same thing. Gave us our credit. It was dope but as it’s happening, I’m like “wait a minute. Wait, did I connect some dots that I could’ve got paid for…?”
AllHipHop: I was finna say, you get a cut from that?
Ferrari Simmons: Nah in the beginning, I didn’t understand. We didn’t know what we were doing. I wanted to help people win, put people in a position to win. It’s cool. Lil Baby if I need something, he answers the phone. If I send him a text, he replies back. DaBaby, same thing. It’s all love. It’s all g, everything’s going smooth.
AllHipHop: Talk about your work ethic and what you had to do to get where you are.
Ferrari Simmons: It was a little hard for me because I came from a non-intern background. If you’re trying to do radio… I interned as an adult. [laughs] I had graduated college already at this point, I was an adult trying to get a radio job. I did intern, but I didn’t do it through college like most people do. After you graduate, if you prove yourself you’ll get hired. The whole 9. I didn’t have that story. I graduated from college, was all over the place trying to figure it out.
I started surrounding myself around people who could advance my career, told them what I wanted to do. I learned. An opportunity came when DJ Holiday got his show. I was able to get in the building and I learned how to do everything. I learned how to run his whole show. I learned how to create an aircheck. I created an aircheck and submitted it, they liked me and put me on air. I got better every week. When Holiday needed the day off, I did his whole entire show. When the afternoon person needed a day off, I did his whole entire show. Morning show needed a day off, I did their entire show. I learned how to cut commercials, then I learned how to deejay. I made sure I knew everything so if someone’s getting fired, I’m going to be one of the last people they let go.
AllHipHop: That’s crucial in times like this. Me being furloughed, I feel like I’m replaceable.
Ferrari Simmons: Not necessarily. Nobody from promotions is here either. That’s across the country because there’s nothing to do. There’s no clubs, there’s no live broadcast. There’s no remotes, no nothing. You’re coming back.
AllHipHop: “All Booties Matter” ft Lil Donald & Erica Banks. Are you producing or is this just your beat?
Ferrari Simmons: I signed the producer, so I manage the producer who made the beat. That’s a good play for me. This is the reason why, it segues right here. I’m always putting people together right? “You should do a song with this person.” Lil Donald had that song already.
AllHipHop: Who is that by the way?
Ferrari Simmons: He’s a local rapper here in Atlanta, he’s pretty dope. He had a couple songs that did really good on the streams and local radio. He had a little twerk song, I said “what you doing with that song?” He’s like “I ain’t really doing nothing.” I said “let me get that, I have somebody I want to put on it.” Ericka Banks, Carl with 1501 got something to prove with the Megan Thee Stallion drama. I figure “hey, let me get her on there. That’s going to be a good look for her, a good look for them.” They’re pushing the single for her, why not have one of the most important people in the city have a single with her on it? That’ll look good for her anyway, let me put her on it. Ferrari Simmons “All Booties Matter” the remix, let’s go. That’s a play that I did, it’s doing good. I actually didn’t think it’d do anything. I never really dropped a song like that so let me put it out there and see what it does. I gained support from everybody, it’s super dope.
AllHipHop: Can we expect an album from you?
Ferrari Simmons: Yeah, I already drop mixtapes and playlists. We’re going to do the same thing but it’s going to be my songs. Artists are sending me songs, I got some dope content. I got some dope full songs ready to go, look for that around August 20th.
AllHipHop: How is it releasing your own music, do you go through a distro company?
Ferrari Simmons: Yeah, I went through Stem Music. I like Stem, they did a dope roll out. Helped me out with some playlists, set me up on YouTube Music, Spotify. All DSPs, it’s everywhere. Amazon Music, Pandora, they got me everywhere. I thought it was dope to go through them. It was hands-on. I definitely don’t want to go anywhere else. I’ma stick with them.
AllHipHop: Who’s your Top 5 artists in rotation?
Of course Lil Baby, that’s my favorite rapper right now. Crazy, I’ma say DaBaby. Of course, I like Meg. I’ma throw in an unsigned artist, her name is Omeretta. She’s fire, you’ll be hearing about her soon. Super fire. I like NBA YoungBoy, but I do like me some Rylo Rodriguez from Alabama. I’m rocking with him right now.
AllHipHop: Is there an interview in the last year that’s your favorite?
Ferrari Simmons: Man, I’ve had so many memorable interviews. I’d say Future. We did his last interview, he doesn’t do interviews anymore. He came to the station, it was super cool. It blew me away because he knew everything about me and my co-host. I was humbled. I froze up a little bit like damn, you’re one of my favorite rappers.
AllHipHop: Why doesn’t he do interviews anymore?
Ferrari Simmons: He said he doesn’t need to do them anymore. [laughs] We did his last radio interview, he was promoting his album. Last year he’s doing his last little run, he’s like “I gotta do Rari and DC.” Came up here, I was definitely humbled. That humbled me all the way down.
AllHipHop: How much research do you do? Future has so much s##t in the vault.
Ferrari Simmons: I didn’t have to prep for Future because I know everything about him. He’s one of my favorite artists, so it was easy. It was open conversation. We talked about everything. That’s around the time when Gucci put that mask with the lip. That’s one of the questions I asked him: “is Gucci canceled?” He’s like “nah.” [laugh] I remember that.
AllHipHop: What’s your favorite Future song?
Ferrari Simmons: Wow, you put me on the spot. “Lie to Me.”
AllHipHop: “March Madness” is my favorite Future song.
Ferrari Simmons: “March Madness” is everybody’s. That still goes off in the club. You have to go in the vault and listen to some old school Future.
AllHipHop: What are some goals for yourself?
Ferrari Simmons: Right now, I want to continue to release dope content. I’m in a new area, I’m in a new lane releasing music. I grew up listening to DJ Khaled. The route he took, I hope I can follow in his footsteps. That’s a high bar, but why not?
AllHipHop: You said entrepreneur, what do you have your hands in?
Ferrari Simmons: I sell my own hats. I got my own Rari hat. I’m actually not wearing one today. I always wear one. It came from people not knowing who my name was or who I was in the beginning, so it’s my logo on the hat. They do good whenever I drop them, I’m super excited about that.
AllHipHop: Bring us back to when the phrase “Hey Ferrari” came about.
Ferrari Simmons: It’s normal. When ladies see me, they be like “hey Ferrari!” I had an intern 4 years ago say “hey Ferrari,” I put a little echo on it. It’s normal: “hey Ferrari!”
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Ferrari Simmons: Album coming out soon, I’m dropping some new content. I’ma drop a song in July, I’ma drop a song in August. Then I’ma drop an EP end of August.