"If you ain't got no haters, you ain't poppin" isn't just the standout line on the hook of Rico Richie's buzzing street single, "Poppin," but it's also the motto the Atlanta rapper lives by. With all of the new music that comes out of Atlanta on a daily basis, Rico is focused on setting himself apart from the rest of the scene, and through the success of "Poppin," he's ready to prove that he belongs.
With a strong buzz though comes controversy, and Rico is seeing that first hand with the unauthorized remixes of his hit, notably the remix featuring Meek Mill, Chris Brown, and French Montana, which surfaced online this week. In light of everything going on, we talked to Rico about the buzz of "Poppin," the situation surrounding Meek's version, and how he was led to believe that he was supposed to be involved with the remix. In fact, Rico says that yesterday morning was the first time he heard Meek's version of the song, and while he understands the business, he's still honored that they decided to make something out of his track. With this momentum, Rico is poised to have a strong summer with the official video for "Poppin" coming next week, as well as the actual remix and a new project in the coming weeks that is sure to open eyes and ears to what he can bring to the table.
When did you first release "Poppin"?
"Poppin" was released like three months ago, at the end of March, beginning of April. Everything pretty much got done within three to four days. I made the song, then I got it mixed the next day, then I took it to the clubs, and really instantly we put it up on iTunes, so it was like a real fast process.
When did you notice that the song started to get buzz?
Shit, really instantly. All the Internet and that kind of stuff just kind of picked up now, but in Atlanta, it was almost instant for real. It was less than a week and it was already going crazy in Atlanta.
How Did Meek Mill hear about the song?
The DJ network mostly. Ya know, DJ Ace, Compound, MLK, they were going crazy.
Did you give them the instrumental?
Nah, I never gave them the instrumental. They don't even have the real instrumental, you know what I'm saying. That story came about because Southside, one of the producers of the beat, had a loop of his version of what he worked on with the beat, because he kinda started the beat off, then Squat finished it off and erased it. So the beat that they have really isn't the same beat that I have.
Originally I guess there was a conversation going on where we were supposed to be doing an official remix, and trying to figure that out, but somewhere in the conversation between Southside and French, Chris, and Meek, somehow that conversation got changed up and they just wanted to put it out in the streets.
So you knew about a remix, but you thought you were involved?
Yeah, the whole time I was led to believe that I was supposed to be involved in the remix. It was a lot of conversations going on basically saying they wanted to hook up, meet up, and after that conversation I had with them, I stopped paying attention to it and went back to pushing "Poppin." That's the record, you know what I'm saying. All those remixes and all that, that don't really mean anything to me. I mean, at the end of the day, with them doing it, that's amazing in itself. I'm a new artist, you know. I'm from Atlanta, I'm not from L.A., and I'm not from New York, so for a situation like that where they're in the studio together and they collab together and get on the song, like that's major for me.
How do you feel about the changes to the song for the remix?
I can’t really look at it like that. They just was fuckin' with the vibe of the song, they was fuckin' with the sound of the song, they was fuckin' with the wave of the song, and they wanted to be a part of it. They wanted to try their best to put what they would have done to make it original for themselves. I can’t control the way that they were gon do it. I can’t control the business of the way that they was gon do it. They did it the way that they wanted to do it. So it is what it is. I wish it could have been done differently. I wish it could have been a situation where we could have sat down and did something official. But that’s out of my control.
Did you hear their version of the remix yet?
Yeah, I heard it for the first time on the Internet today.
Do you want do your own official remix?
There is an official remix being put together right now.
Who is that with?
I can't tell you that….
Nah, I can’t tell you that because the whole process of the song, pushing it has been for the remix. That was the reason I was trying to have a conversation with them. I think that’s probably the reason why they dropped it so abruptly because I was trying to put a timeline on the official remix. They wanted it to be out right now for summer. They wanted to be a part of the summer wave. But as far as it goes for me, the song ain’t been out nothing but three months. I haven’t even really gotten the chance to get it all the way on fire yet across the country. And I wanted to give everybody who hasn’t listened to the song yet the opportunity to hear the original verse before I put out the remix.
Do you have a video coming?
Oh yeah, video coming! Video's gonna be out in a week!
What else do you have planned? Do you have a project coming out?
The mixtape gon be out in the next two weeks.
Who’s going be on that? Producers, features?
I’m working with a couple different producers. 808 Mafia obviously, Squat obviously, Ayo produces on this. My boy Lil Lodi on here, Big Tone on here, Big Herg, Track is on here. As far as features go I have a real strong, hard ass song with [Young] Thug. As far as that goes that’s probably my only main feature I have on the tape for real. But I got a couple more features that I do have in mind.
Being real we having this conversation, the people that’s on the song they wanted to buy the song from me. I could have sold them the song, that’s what they wanted, for me to sell them the song. Everybody can draw their own conclusions from that. “Oh wow, whatever happened with that?” I look at it is I just did what they did. I still know who I am, I still know where I came from, like for me that’s monumental in the hood. You gotta think to yourself where I come from and the people that know me and the people that grew up with me this is all they talkin' bout. “Ah man, this nigga Rico, man, Chris Brown got on this man’s song. French Montana got on this man’s song. Meek Mill got on this man’s song.” They don’t know the music business, so as far as that go as being legendary for where I’m from, this don’t happen to everybody. Even in Atlanta, and Atlanta got a lot of…we got the spotlight on us with all the new wave of rappers coming out. And even with all of them, this ain’t really happening for 'em. So the streets is going crazy over all of this right now where I’m from.
Are you performing at Birthday Bash?
Yeah, as of right now I am. I think they got something set up for me like the pre show. Right now we might have a little bit of a surprise after what’s going on with all this. We working on that right now. Like I said to you earlier, this record is still young, and everybody don’t understand that. I’ve been paying attention to the music ever since I was a kid, and I can’t remember the last time, especially in my adult career, of being around all these cats in the music industry from the 2 Chainzs, to the Futures, to the T.I.s to the Young Thugs, all these guys being around all these guys listening to all their music, I can’t remember the last time something like this has happened where somebody dropped the record in three months and then three months later it was this crazy. That’s what I’m honored about like, damn, I just made history in my own city and nobody even looked at me like as the rapper nigga. I wasn’t never the cat like, “Oh I’m just a rapper, I’m just the big homie Rico.” This is my real life.