Rico Love doesn't have to sing. He's written enough hits to pay for his Miami Beach pad and his shiny jewelry and his Rolls-Royce sedan. The SESAC songwriter of the year three years in a row has penned hits like Usher's "There Goes My Baby" and Kelly Rowland's "Motivation," so he's stacked enough paper that he'll be seeing nice royalty checks for the foreseeable future.
So his new EP, Discrete Luxury, which drops tomorrow on Interscope, is not a money move. It's more of a pesonal project, a statement on the strange relationships that form between men and women at the highest levels of the music industry. Songs like "To My Ex" (which we premiered earlier today) and "Everybody's Girl" open a door to a hidden world that most of us only dream about—a world of private jets and beautiful women who are willing to do just about anything to live that lifestyle. Complex got on the phone with Mr. Love to talk about the girls behind the stories behind the songs.
Interview by Rob Kenner (@boomshots)
I've been listening to Discrete Luxury and I noticed that there’s a theme to this EP. As a songwriter who has made so many hits for other people, it seems like you made this one more of a personal project.
Yeah man, absolutely. I was telling people, it started happening when I wrote um “Heart Attack” for Trey Songz. When I wrote uh Melanie Fiona’s “4 A.M.” and Mary J. Blige's "Mr. Wrong." Just through all the hurt in the music I could see I was going through something serious in my relationship.
I was writing about it but I didn’t even realize it. I was going through this thing and it just started coming out on paper. So I saw the transition, because never in my career had I written songs that were about me or coming from such a personal place. I started writing these kinds of songs I realized I was really in a really bad time in my life. I was going through this terrible breakup with my son's mom and I was really feeling it and I was like, "Shit man it’s really starting to become personal. And it's showing."
But let’s talk about the good times too because when you’re talking about "Champagne is my Viagra," I mean that’s definitely a rare feeling. That’s an experience that not everybody has.
Believe it or not, that was always true. As long as I got some champagne in my system, we all good.
You attract a lot more women when you're in a position to take care of them. And that can f*ck your head up. It gives you a certain type of power mentally. You start feeling like, 'You know what? I can do what I want to do. Everywhere I go, women want me.'
What happened even in "Champagne," that was like me making fun of myself. It was a situation where I had hung out with this young lady and she ended up you know doing some corny shit— taking pictures of my jewelry.
And that's a no-no?
She posted it on her Facebook and it got all over MediaTakeout and it was like, Oh you know Rico Love hangs with this groupie and this this and that. She got us in all this craziness. So I made the "Champagne" record as a fun way to talk about it. To kind of like make fun of myself. And when I say "Please don’t take no pictures/Especially with my jewelry on/Damn you so so vicious..." I was having fun and showing how those type of things happen.
I wanted to make sure everything was real and true to me. I didn’t want to make any matter of fact songs, like, OK well let’s talk about top and bottoms or let’s talk about this. Nah, I want it to be true to me in some way or another. And to make it interesting. To make sure I set myself apart from all artists—not just song writers who become artists and producers who become artists. And I don’t want to say "become artists" because I always have been an artist. It’s always been where I started and how I got in.
It’s just something that I gave up on for a minute and it was, it takes a bit of courage to be able to step back out there and say, "You know what? That has always been your dream. Stop denying your dream."
No question. But you had a lot of success as a behind-the-scenes person and a lot of nice checks came in. What kind of an affect does all that money have on your personal life?
All women are attracted to power. I don’t think it’s a necessarily a groupie thing. All women love men who can take care of them if need be. And some women are out to get a man who can take care of them but some women they're not looking for somebody to take care of them. Still it’s always good to know, like, "Yo, if something happens, I got a man who is in a position to make sure that I’m gonna be OK."
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Not at all. As a man our job is to take care of a woman. That’s what I was always taught. So a lot of times you attract a lot more women when you're in a position to take care of them. That can fuck your head up, man. It gives you a certain type of power mentally. You start feeling like, "You know what? I can do what I want to do. Everywhere I go, women want me."
It’s so great that I was able to learn and go through all of those things, those trials and errors of being in that quote-unquote position of power and status financially, because now I’m in a position where I’ve grown out of a lot of things. When I speak about songs like "Everybody’s Girl" I’ve actually dated those type of girls. I’ve seen that because when you’re in this position, they come at you.
You might be hanging out with a girl this weekend and then next weekend you see them with another rapper, and then you see them with another songwriter, and then you see them with a basketball player, and they you see it’s like, those are everybody’s girls. Those records are true to me because of my experiences and how I view things. Even “Bitches Be Like,” which won’t make the EP, but it’s just one of my favorite songs, it’s just like another situation where I was able to observe things that were going on.
Well honestly I don’t know how that level of stuff goes. I wouldn’t mind getting to know but... Seriously that song “Everybody’s Girl” is a page out of your experiences? How did that go down when you realized it for the first time. Was it shocking to you?
I said before, I ran around with a lot of, um... Well, what happened, one of my first managers he’s just now getting ready to get out of the penitentiary in November. He was there for 10 years. So he’s from the streets and that’s all I was around. He was a major drug dealer in Atlanta and that’s where I got my start, in Atlanta.
Being around him all the time I saw how it is and how status can change and how you’re treated and just observed all the different women. Cause I was the guy who didn’t have money then and I didn’t get the same attention that I got when I did get money. I observed those things and I learned a lot from those women. Even how to handle situations. You know you got guys who out here ready to kill somebody because their girlfriend cheated, but not realizing like, "Yo man, she’s everybody’s girl. This is not a wifey. This is everybody’s girl."
Now it’s not a knock to women. A lot of times um when people hear the record they're kind of like, "Oh he’s pretty harsh." But it’s real. I have to be harsh. I have to real. I have to be true so we could start the conversation. Because I obviously want a daughter one day, and I want her to look down on this pornish type of girl. I want girls who hear this record to be like, "I don’t know if I want to." If it’s them, I want them to be like, "I don’t know if I want to be this anymore." And if it’s not them I want them to be like, "You know what? I’m glad that it’s not me." So it’s very true, it’s very real. Everybody’s girl is out there. Guys are really going crazy and losing their minds over females that position themselves to be for everyone.
And sometimes the guys have no clue?
A lot of times guys know and don’t want to really admit it.
Oh man. That’s deep.
Seriously. Like, you know how it is when a girl is really for you. If a girl is really for you, you know the feeling. You know that she answers whenever you call. You know she’s gonna go out her way to see you. You know that there’s never gonna be a situation where she’s gonna be too busy for you.
You got guys who out here ready to kill somebody because their girlfriend cheated, but not realizing, like, 'Yo man, she’s everybody’s girl. This is not a wifey.'
So when those situations arise and there is a woman not giving you that attention, not going out of her way to see you, and I’m not talking about a woman who’s busy working and good in her career—let’s make that clear.
I’m talking about a woman who would rather go to All-Star weekend and Super Bowl than hang out with you.
And you see that Instagram and these exotic looking pictures.
Yeah, Yeah. Exactly. And nothing against them, let’s just make it clear. Like I even say at the end of the record, I ain’t knocking their hustle. I can never be mad at they grind. I’m just saying if you would kill somebody over her, I hope they burn you in the jail. I hope you go under the jail if you would go that far, you know what I mean?
So for a young man getting in the game now, let’s say you blow up off of a record and you're experiencing your first taste of fame and fortune. What are the rules for dealing with these industry girls, groupies, or whatever you want to call them. How do you spot them?
You’re not going to have to spot them, they’re gonna spot you. It’s not even... Nah man. You gonna know it. It’s not even something you can really so much explain. You know, you get in this life, you get successful, there’s certain type of women that will give you a certain type of attention. If it is what it is you gonna get it. And then what will happen is you’ll realize that she’s really popular with everyone. You know what I mean?
Now how you view it is this man, it is what it is. Enjoy yourself and if you’re gonna hang out with them enjoy it for what it is. But, um and a lot of the times they want to enjoy it for what it is. But don’t go crazy and don’t kill yourself over this situation over somebody that’s everybody’s girl. If a girl is just, today she ain’t with you in the, in the club and then next week she’s with this guy in the club and she, and this guy buys her plane ticket and fly’s her here and next week you buy a plane ticket and fly her there, next week another guy buys her a plane ticket to Pennsylvania, this is everybody’s girl. You know what I mean. It’s rotation.
When most people who listen to this would not believe in this life and be like that’s fucked up but it’s not, it’s the truth. It’s the raw honest truth and this is something that we view and this is something that is very real in the world so you know, I just I just say look accept it for what it is, pay attention to it, and don’t get so caught up in it. I would hope that a woman would hear this and be like I wouldn’t want to be that type of girl.