Philthy Rich is a Bay Area legend, and he continues to release the hardest-hitting street anthems possible for his incredibly dedicated fanbase. One of the gems to hail out of Oakland, the self-proclaimed Sem God is the definition of someone who turned their life around for the better, persevering through all obstacles life throws at him and rising from the trenches.
While he couldn’t see himself living past 21, the West Coast rapper shifted his hustle into his own music, recording and perfecting his craft any chance he could. Now a decade and a half deep into the game, Philthy is slowly breaking through from the underground to the mainstream, most recently with his newest project titled Motivational Purpose.
The 12-track project is exactly what the title embodies, giving his fans hope and motivation that if he can make his wildest dreams come true, they can too. Spearheaded by lead singles “”King Of Oakland” and “Motivational Purpose,” the album reels in all-star appearances from Jeremih, Rich The Kid, Icewear Vezzo, OBN Jay, Larry June, Seddy Hendrinx, and more.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to be where you are now, versus where you came from?
Philthy Rich: Man, I came a long way. I didn’t think I’d make it this far. Nah, I didn’t see myself making it this far at all. I don’t think kids from Oakland see themself… you know? I’m just happy to make it past 21. That was a blessing.
AllHipHop: Motivational Purpose out now, how are you feeling? I love the title, very inspirational.
Philthy Rich: Growing and coming of age, I wanted to start talking about different things. I don’t want to keep talking about the same things from the past. I’m into growth, I’m into change. I’m into being the boss: handling my business, taking care of my family. You don’t just want to motivate people, you’re also motivated by people. There’s a lot of people that motivate me also. I’m always looking to see and do bigger and better things.
AllHipHop: Who are some people that motivate you?
Philthy Rich: Music-wise? I like Meek. I like Lil Baby. I like whatever I can relate to. Whatever I can relate to, I like it. I like Ross also. I like Nip. People that want to do better.
AllHipHop: I love that you released a song called “King of Oakland.” Why are you the King of Oakland?
Philthy Rich: I feel like everybody’s kings. The competition’s not gonna say I’m the king because they’re not gon’ cheer for the other top dogs. The competition’s gonna give me my flowers so I’ll give myself my flowers. By me coming from where I came from and surpassing a whole lot of obstacles and overcoming everything makes me a king. Me taking care of my family makes me a king. So many different things. Me running a label and my different artists makes me a king. Me wanting to see other people shine and put people in position makes me a king. Me giving back to the community makes me a king. It’s not trying to talk down on nobody, s### on nobody or stunt on nobody, or big dog… you should carry yourself like that. The women should carry themselves like queens, the men should carry themselves like kings. Shouldn’t let nobody else tell them different.
AllHipHop: “I kept it independent just like Master P.” Talk about keeping it independent because a lot of people wish they could.
Philthy Rich: It’s the grind, the Bay Area grind. We were taught that young. When I first started rapping I started seeing man, I was making more money putting out more music. I’m like “okay I gotta stay putting out more music.” So the more music I put out, the more money I make.
AllHipHop: Because some people think they shouldn’t be dropping, you know?
Philthy Rich: The attention span is so short, they’ll be onto an album drop today and it’ll be over in 90 days. Back in the day, they’ll drop an album, you’ll tour for a year, drop another album next year. That’s the major label type thing, but a lot of artists flop that way because they be grinding the street. There’s a lot of artists that people have never seen before. I knew major artists from the city that got signed and people say “hey, what that guy look like? I’ve never seen him before.”
These same people that’s reppin’ Oakland, wherever they from, and people in Oakland never even seen you. If you start at the top, you gotta finish at the top. If you start at the bottom then make it to the top, you can fall off up here and come back down and relate, and then build yourself back up. You start here, blow up, then come back down and people still know you. If you blow up immediately and then come down, nobody don’t know you. [laughs] It’s like building a house, you’ve got to start from the ground up. You can’t work from top to bottom, it’s a foundation. You can start, get hot, get cold, get back hot, but at the end of the day, they watched you. They watched you build.
AllHipHop: What’s the reality of the grind for you? You just said you didn’t know if you would make it past 21.
Philthy Rich: Yeah, when I first started rapping. I was in the streets heavy: 4-way search clause, catching cases, having my second son, beefing with the dudes up the street, trying to rap. I’m like I need to do something different. Actually I got grabbed by homicide, they police are asking me “am I in my kids’ life?” I’m like “yeah.” They’re like “is your daddy in your life?” I’m like “no.” They’re like “well the way you’re going, you’re not going to be in their life.” I thought man I gotta do something different in my life before it be true, before I be a statistic.
AllHipHop: I interviewed Gunna 2 days ago. I asked him about what he thought about Bay artists claiming that he stole the term. He said it was just their lifestyle. How do you feel about the situation?
Philthy Rich: He might have felt like it’s just a lifestyle, but does he fit that lifestyle? Gunna, from Atlanta? How does he fit that lifestyle?
AllHipHop: Pushin P? Keeping it player?
Philthy Rich: No, that’s not just keeping it player. That’s not what that means.You could’ve just said “keepin it player” if that’s what that was.
AllHipHop: Okay, so what is Pushin P from a Baydestrian?
Philthy Rich: Pushin P can stand for a whole different thing. It can be what you just gave me right here [weed]. It could be dealing with females. His Pushin P ain’t the same because you can’t come from buying Berkins and trickin’ and all this, then be talkin about Pushin P. That’s something totally different, It don’t go together.
AllHipHop: But in the aspect of you guys all working your ass off to get to where you are in the rap game…
Philthy Rich: That has nothing to do with Pushin P. I’m talking about the lifestyle. Does he come from that lifestyle? Trickin’… and I ain’t saying nothing wrong with it. Shout out Gunna, I don’t have anything against you, Atlanta, whatever. But trickin’ does not go with Pushin P. That’s the Atlanta lifestyle, the South. If he made a song called Trickin’, people probably wouldn’t have felt a certain way. But you made a song called “Pushin P,” then in the song there’s certain things you’re not saying. Keep it real, I don’t care. It doesn’t bother me.
AllHipHop: Because a lot of your homies did care.
Philthy Rich: But you asked the question. I wasn’t in the comments mad or nothing. I’m just saying in general, how I look at that lifestyle from the South because I’ve been there, it’s totally different from the Bay Area and the meaning of what we feel is Pushin P. So he might feel however he feel, but we feel something totally different. That’s our lifestyle and I don’t feel like that’s their lifestyle. But shout out to Gunna,. I don’t really care. I don’t fall into the trends or the fads, or follow what everybody does. If he made a song saying that, okay cool. I’m not bothered by it. I just feel like it’s two different lifestyles from California to Atlanta.
AllHipHop: How do you feel about your peers feeling some type of way about it?
Philthy Rich: You can’t make everybody happy. I do stuff that they don’t like. No matter what: if everybody likes you, something’s wrong.
AllHipHop: Who’s on the cover art for Motivational Purpose?
Philthy Rich: Me, my kids, a couple houses, some cars. Dre Feddi my cousin that passed away, some money, some jewelry, I think that’s it. Motivational Purpose, this is what I do it for as in my kids and my cousin that passed away. You can have these things. You can accomplish these things if you grind. I’m not saying this is what it’s all about, but you can have these things.
AllHipHop: You put that song out “Broke Before.” What were you going through recording this one?
Philthy Rich: “Broke Before,” I just followed YG Teck lead. Really, I just sent him a beat. I’m a fan of his music. I like his music, he’s one of the biggest artists in Baltimore. I sent him the record, he sent it back. I listen to people I can relate, I can relate to him. I can’t do music with people I can’t relate to. I’ve been in the studio or people have sent me music to get on and I just couldn’t do it. Send me something else. It just didn’t work.
AllHipHop: What’s Philthy’s feature price?
Philthy Rich: [whistles] For the verse right now it’s $10K, for the show it’s $20K. $20K plus travel. Somebody just booked me today for Seattle.
AllHipHop: You excited?
Philthy Rich: I’ve been going at it for so long, I don’t really get excited like that anymore. My sister every time: “hey you need to get excited.” Even my birthday party, I’m always on the go so it’s normal life for me.
AllHipHop: But to perform the new project though?
Philthy Rich: I don’t perform it this soon. I wait. People don’t know it, unless we’re at a listening party and I’m playing the songs for you. I wait till they pick what song they’re vibing with, they do numbers and the people know it. I don’t like to get on stage and the people don’t know the music. So I wait. I just did a show in Kansas and I didn’t perform any of those songs. But I performed a couple of songs off like Phillip Beasley, that was before Solidified and Solidified was before Motivational Purpose. So I’m a let it generate a little bit. You get up there and rap it, they just looking at you stupid.
AllHipHop: I feel like real fans would know.
Philthy Rich: Yeah, the real fans gonna vibe to whatever it is. I want to be up there if I cut the mic, they’ll know to say the words.
AllHipHop: What is your favorite song to perform then?
Philthy Rich: I don’t know, they all got different vibes. I like to keep it real, but when I do “S63,” the second verse they quote that. When I do “Make A Living”, the second verse they quote that without the music. I like that type of stuff, interact with the crowd.
AllHipHop: You’ve got some fire features. How’d “Safe” with Jeremih come about?
Philthy Rich: Shout out my boy Hitmaka, you know he’s an A&R at EMPIRE. He also did a record off Phillip Beasley with Landstrip Chip out of Atlanta, he produced that one also. It was a dope record. We actually had Ty$ on it at first.
AllHipHop: What happened?
Philthy Rich: Clearance, clearance is crazy. We might be able to use it later on as a remix, but he had half the hook and a verse on there. Fire.
AllHipHop: I know Ty and Jeremih’s energy is crazy too.
Philthy Rich: People don’t understand like rapping is just part of, half of being a rapper. There’s so much different stuff you gotta do besides rapping. A lot of people don’t understand all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. Mind you, I’ve had that record two albums prior. They’ve been working on the clearance, trying to get it done. It was on the billboard of Phillip Beasley with Jeremih and Ty$ in it. We had to take it down and re-put it up because we didn’t get it cleared in time.
AllHipHop: That’s so irritating!
Philthy Rich: It’s just when different artists are on major labels, you gotta go through them and they gotta clear it. The lawyers have to approve it. If they got an album coming out, they don’t want nobody to drop no music because it can take away from their album. It’s a process.
AllHipHop: You know the artist Suigenersis? He got a NBA Youngboy feature and he said the same s###, it’s impossible.
Philthy Rich: My boy had an NBA Youngboy feature a long time ago, before he blew up. My boy Murdock, but they never put it out. See if that’s still independent, I would’ve just dropped it. I would’ve put that s### on SoundCloud, Youtube, just leaked it. When it came out, it would’ve blew up and they would’ve f##### witth it. I would’ve just put it out, but that’s the labels. When you sign to labels, they want their percentage. They want to cut of whatever you do. You can get a feature, then they can cease and desist it or they don’t clear it and you never can put it out. Even the people that pay for features. You can pay for a feature, but then if you don’t pay for that yellow paper, you can’t do nothing with it. And then when you pay for that yellow paper, that’s just the clearance. They still need a percentage off of whatever that record sells. They gon’ do the verse. They might do the verse for free for you, but you still gotta pay in the long run.
AllHipHop: How do you navigate the business? Obviously independent’s a little bit better.
Philthy Rich: It’s better for me because I don’t have to go through clearing records and all that type of stuff. You get a verse from me, you can throw it up the same day. I’m not into that. But dealing with the bigger artists that’s signed to majors, that’s how you gotta do it.
AllHipHop: I know you’ve got FOD Entertainment, you’re turning into a music exec. How’s that been?
Philthy Rich: I can’t say it’s been easy because I’ve got 12 artists. One right there: JUST BANG, Toohda Band$, Skinny T, Lil Trey, Lil Steve.
AllHipHop: I interviewed Sada Baby and he said he had 32 artists.
Philthy Rich: It’s hard when you’re actually doing something everyday, because I’m tryna drop music from each artist every month. Not each artist, but an artist from the label every month. We already got February, we got March, working on April. I’m trying to drop a tape every week and every month, from so many different artists. It shouldn’t be hard. And push it, like the old Master P.
AllHipHop: Talk about SemGod x Drank God Icewear Vezzo. Shoutout to Icewear, one of the hardest out of Detroit.
Philthy Rich: That’s my boy. I was rockin with Ice, Peezy, GT, Babyface back in the day. I love Detroit. Detroit’s my second home. Vezz, that’s my bro. Been rocking with him going to Detroit, him coming to Oakland. All of them, really. Really the whole Detroit, shout out to Detroit.
AllHipHop: Talk about relating, I feel like you and Vezzo have…
Philthy Rich: Yeah, we got the chemistry. Everybody wants to do a tape. We were gonna do one, but he ended up going down. That’s when he had went to the feds before he came home. We just haven’t got in there like that.
AllHipHop: Damn, y’all were tapped in before that? That’s wild.
Philthy Rich: We been tapped in before me and you did that interview. I done been stuck in the D for a week in the snow, couldn’t leave. Snowed in. Tee Grizzley before he blew up, really everybody. I love the D, for sure.
AllHipHop: I know you’re always drippy. What are your favorite places to shop?
Philthy Rich: Right now, Gucci. And the reason why is because I can just go in there… I just left there before I came here.
AllHipHop: On Rodeo?
Philthy Rich: Yeah, shoutout Lonsi. I can just go in there, throw a whole fit on and leave. So it’s easy. That’s the same way I used to be with Amiri, with Versace, even back in the day with True Religion and Rocawear. S### used to be the same way. I done did every designer. That’s just what I’m on right now.
AllHipHop: Talk about Real Bullies Back in Style, your dog breeding business.
Philthy Rich: That’s going good. I try to touch every aspect of revenue. Again with the rap industry, it’s a stepping stone to do everything else. Once you become a household name, once you build a platform, I could be charging n*ggas $50K for dogs right now. I don’t but I could because of who I am. Okay cool, give me $50K. I’m a drop the dog off, we gonna take a picture, sign an autograph, and then bye. I don’t be wanting to try to overdo the dog game and try to take over. Then the community be mad at me because “oh he thinks he’s poppin’ because he’s a rapper.” I really want to be in it. I really take the dogs to the vet everyday, I ain’t got nobody else doing it. I really get the progesterone tests and the breeding, all the shots.
AllHipHop: That’s a lot, how many dogs do you have?
Philthy Rich: I used to have a kennel, but right now I’ve got like 10. This is all I do everyday. He’ll tell you, I get up everyday at 6 in the morning. Let the dogs out, put the other dogs on the side. Feed them, give them they medicine. I let them out, feed them back, the other dogs when they gotta be bred. I take ‘em out myself. I’ve got my own dog car, he be mad. He’s like “bro, this your dog car?” Yeah, this a million dollar car. Let’s get them to the vet back and forth. I do it all myself.
AllHipHop: Did you always have a love for dogs?
Philthy Rich: Yeah, even since a kid. I had pitbulls and rottweilers, all that.
AllHipHop: How does it feel to be this entrepreneur, rapper?
Philthy Rich: I mean, it’s the same way when I hustled when I was in the streets. When I was in the streets and I was young coming up, it’s the same way I hustled then. It’s just a different game now. I know how to rap hustle. I know how to dog hustle. I’ma put my mind to it, I’ma get it right.
AllHipHop: What are you most excited for next? Do you have any goals?
Philthy Rich: Make a million dollars off Cameo. This new app, this new partnership we doing right now. Hit me up for some shoutouts: birthdays, I do quinceaneras. I do it all man. Just continue to grow, continue to be blessed, continue to be great. See my people grow, be great. That’s the type of vibe I’m on.
AllHipHop: If there’s one song you want people to listen to off of the new project, what should it be?
Philthy Rich: “Motivational Purpose,” the title track. That’s it. That’s the best song on there for me. I had put it up, it had did numbers, I had to take it down because of Youtube. There was a female in there and she was dancing, then they made it age restricted. I had to take it down then put it up on Vevo, it was going crazy at first. Then I go see somebody’s video over here, they got 20 girls twerking and dancing. There’s one girl in my video, I’m like “what?” Why this ain’t age restricted or taken down?. I’m no hater or no snitch to be like “hey bro, y’all don’t take his down,” but damn! I got one girl for half a shot. I hate when they do that bro. I’ve got a few videos on there that would do numbers, but they do that. That’s just the life, another obstacle you’ve got to overcome. Shoutout to Vevo though because they accepted it. They rocking with it so that’s what I’m rocking with from here on out.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Philthy Rich: That’s it man. Grab that Motivational Purpose, it’s doing what it’s doing right now. Probably gonna drop another video soon. This weekend, I have that VERZUZ with [Mistah] Fab in the Bay. Me and Fab are doing a VERZUZ in the Bay. Not through the Triller company, but we’re gonna do it ourselves. You gotta come out.
I grew up on Mr. Fab! That’s so epic, where’s it going to be?
Oakland. I’m going out there from here.
I grew up on the Hyphy movement!
Oh you on that side then. Over there, on that side. We over here, the streets over here. It’s the streets versus Hyphy.
Who’s gonna win?
It ain’t about winning, picking or whatever. Just rapping, celebrating, but we know who got the numbers. We know who got the numbers when you put the numbers up.