Retch is one of rap's bubbling young personalities, but his career got put on hold when he was booked in February earlier this year for violating probation. He's made some positive news since coming home, though, as his voice is featured prominently throughout N.E.R.D.'s forthcoming album No One Ever Really Dies, most noticeably on the Rihanna-assisted track "Lemon." He also dropped two impressive songs in "First Day Home" and Still Up's first single "2-Eleven." Now he looks to capitalize on those moves with a new EP which boasts no guest appearances and features production from TakenForGranted, J. Dot, and J Breez. "2-Eleven," "I Need," and "Ordinary" are the standouts for me so far. He also dropped the video for his second single off the project, "Pop Me A Pint"—you can watch that above.)
We talked to Retch about what he learned about himself while he was incarcerated, how his voice ended up on the new N.E.R.D. album, how his personality has sometimes overshadowed his music in the past, and more.
Check out the album stream and read our interview below.
I remember you mentioning when we were on a shoot last year smoking a blunt that Pharrell reached out to you. You wasn't sure how he was going to use it, though. How does it feel to be all over the first N.E.R.D. album in years?
It all happened kinda organically. I made a video on Instagram that went viral in, I don't know, 2013? I was out with Action Bronson at some shit for Revolt TV and they told me and Big Body Bes to go to a designated smoking area. We were out there chillin' and what not, smoking something under the Hollywood sign, when a bunch of older people popped up and interrupted our whole flow. But it was casual, so I made the video and it took off. Fast forward, and I guess Pharrell was feeling the audio content and the rest is history.
Did you get a chance to talk to Pharrell?
Nah, his people were the ones that hit my people up. I haven't talked to him.
They use the sample throughout the whole album. Are they treating it like sample or are you getting a feature credit?
They definitely treated it like a sample. I'm out here, man! They did right by me. Pharrell also used it for a Kirk Franklin record last year. A lot of people didn't catch that one—they're probably not checkin' for Kirk Franklin.
And the "Lemon" record came out at a perfect time. You had just came home and dropped "First Day Home." What's the first thing you're gonna do when you go pop?
You know me outside of all this shit already, bro. You know how we coming with it. I’m gonna get me a pop bitch. TMZ it up, get into some scandals.
I always tell you that you could be a star because your music is good and you have a magnetic personality. But do you feel a way about getting more recognition for your antics instead of the music?
When you talk about shit like social media, people get attracted to lifestyles and personality. I do feel like my personality overshadows my music sometimes. I make good music with credible people, fly shit, but I think it works with each other compared to my earlier days. My personality is what draws people in, and I think they bounce of each other better now. People would see a video and do research and realize that my music is good. My personality is there. You can't change who you are.