Rich Amiri Had a Talk With God and Then Made “One Call”

Complex talked to Rich Amiri about the making of "One Call," his thoughts on the SoundCloud rap community, if the Illuminati is real, and more.


Rich Amiri knew “One Call” was going to be a hit the moment he finished recording the track. He partially credits the creation of the song to the presence of a higher being—which allowed him to enter a “flow state” while recording the song. 

“It was almost like God talking to me and telling me what to say,” Amiri told Complex. “Or I was reciting a song that I had listened to before. It was just flowing.”

The 20-year-old Boston rapper is one of the most exciting voices to emerge from a new generation of genre-blurring underground rappers; these rappers, like Yeat and Ken Carson, operate in a developing rage-rap world that is of their own design. Amiri first got into music listening to The Weeknd and Speaker Knockerz, before gravitating towards the Atlanta rap soundscape, tapping in with artists like Young Thug and Lil Keed. As he started rapping, he looked to artists like Future and even R&B singer Giveon to figure out what flows he can use because they share the same deep baritone voice as him.

“I just feel like tonally, our voices are very similar,” Amiri said. “Their tone of voice is really similar to mine. So when it comes to finding flows that I know are going to match my voice, I get a lot of inspiration from them.”

But don’t get it confused, Rich Amiri is not just a Future clone. The rapper’s unique voice defined his early songs, like 2021’s “Decide” and “Relocate”—where you can really hear his affinity for Atlanta coming through with Lil Yachty-inspired flows. His standout album so far has been last year’s Ghetto Fabulous, a project where he took a hands-on approach to crafting the production. Ghetto Fabulous came laced with “One Call,” which gave Amiri his first Billboard Hot 100 entry, debuting on the charts at No. 79. 

With a song climbing the charts and a well of energy on his side, Rich Amiri is prepared to make his mark in the continuously evolving rap landscape. While in the middle of his Fabolous Tour, Complex caught up with Rich Amiri to talk about his viral single, “One Call,” the state of SoundCloud rap, if the Illuminati is real, and more.

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Do you like being famous?
At times, but there's times where I wish shit could be normal. Nah, I’m capping [Laughs]. I wouldn't want this shit any other way. I guess it would be cool to be able to do normal shit. I feel like there's certain places I can't go because people will recognize me or certain shit I can't do because it would just be a bad look. But I really wouldn't want this shit no other way. The pros outweigh the cons.

How would you describe your fanbase? And why are they so loyal that they’d tie your shoes while on stage?
Bro, those aren't even fans. I feel like those are my real life friends. I feel like those are people that I've known for years that I grew up with, even though I don't know him like that. They’re loyal. I couldn't ask for a better fanbase at all, period. I love them.

What does an average day look like for you?
Wake up at like 2:00 AM, go to the studio for eight hours. Go back to the hotel, sleep. Do it again. But since I'm on tour, I've been doing a lot more linking up with people, shopping, pop ups, events, all different types of stuff. But the average day is really just studio for damn near the entire day.

How much unreleased music would you estimate you have in the vault?
As of right now, it got to be at least a thousand songs because I've made almost 200 songs this year alone. So it's probably more than that. But I would say a thousand if I had to put a number on it.

I’ve seen you get compared to a lot of different artists, from Lil Yachty to Travis Scott and Playboi Carti. Who are some of your artist inspirations?
When I first got into listening to music, I was listening to The Weeknd, Speaker Knockerz, Lil Keed, all them Atlanta boys—Young Thug, Future. But when I started making music, I shifted over to more internet artists like Lil Tecca. Rather than the street type stuff, just more Internet kids. I was listening to all them and finding my own little spot in that community. 

You’re also close with Lil Tecca. Why do you like working with him so much? That’s just my boy, I feel like he probably inspired me in ways that I don't actually realize. Which is probably the reason why we worked so well together when we’re actually in the studio. That was really the first artist that I was an actual fan of rather than just their music. He probably inspired me in ways, and that just helps with our chemistry when it comes to making music together.

“One Call” has become one of your most successful songs, charting on the Billboard Hot 100. Did it feel like it would be when you first made it?
Yeah, absolutely. I didn't know about Billboard because that just seemed so out of reach at the time. So when it actually hit Billboard, that was insane to me. But I knew the song was going to be big. There's some songs where you'll preview them and you'll be like, “I wonder if they're going to fuck with this.” Or it'll be something you're trying to experiment and get fans to fuck with a new sound. But “One Call” was definitely like, “Yeah, this is going to probably be my biggest song for sure,” right after I made it. 

What is it about the song that people gravitate towards?
It's just catchy, relatable, and the way I structure the song, it’s just perfect. I feel like it's definitely my best put together song.

What do you remember about that session making it?
Just being in this flow state. A lot of times when I'll make a song, I'll be like, “Damn, what am I going to say next?” Or, “Damn, should I do this or should I do that?” But with “One Call,” it was just almost like God talking to me and telling me what to say. Or I was reciting a song that I had listened to before. It was just flowing.

What’s your favorite thing about Ghetto Fabolous? What makes you proud about it?
That was the first project where I really went in and organized everything. I really edited the songs after I made them, and I really had a hand in production and everything. Not just the song production, but the instrumentals too. I had a hand in creating those, but that was the first project that really opened my eyes to the different aspects of music and how there's more to music than just getting on a beat, putting down your hook and then putting. There's more to music, there's changing things up. That was definitely my intro into actual music production.

What does the phrase “ghetto fabulous” mean to you?
The dictionary definition of “ghetto fabulous” is like flexing when you don't really got it. And I just think that there's a little bit of that in everyone, just like the culture of everything right now. Social media and just life in general, where people are trying to portray a better life than what they're actually living. That’s ghetto fabulous.

You named a song “Illuminati.” Is the illuminati real?
That’s a funny question. This is my personal opinion, but people go out of their way to make these conspiracy theories when the truth be in their face. I feel like the people that's really on top [of society], they're not hiding this shit. You can do 10 minutes of research and really find this shit. The Illuminati in a way that the average viewer thinks about it. I don't believe in, don't believe in that. But it's like, this shit is really in front of your face. Everything they're doing, they're not covering their tracks.

You also called one song “Codeine Crazy,” which is obviously a nod to Future. Why did you want to name a song after one of his most legendary songs?
I didn't even realize it until after the song was made. I have that little part where I said, “New drink coming in, codeine crazy.” Maybe I was subconsciously—but I wasn't really thinking about the Future song. I just felt like it was a recognizable title, so I put it, it wasn't really much to it.

Why do you look up to Future?I just feel like tonally, our voices are very similar. I have artists like Giveon and Future that I listen to because their tone of voice is really similar to mine. So when it comes to finding flows that I know are going to match my voice, I get a lot of inspiration from them.

How has Atlanta rap, in general, influenced you?
I've been listening to it since [I was a] kid, even before I realized where all them artists were from. That's really the only type of rap I consumed since I was a little kid. So lord knows how it influenced me. I couldn't even really pinpoint it, but it's just always been there my whole life.

People associate you with an “underground” rap scene. Do you identify as an underground artist?
I know a lot of people don't fuck with it, but I don't really have any qualms with it personally. It's just a label on the style of music. I don't really have any feelings about it at all. I know a lot of people think the term “underground” can be demeaning but I don't have no issue with it. 

How would you describe your sound?
I would say diverse because I know I haven't put out a lot of different types of music, but especially the new music and the new album that I'm working on right now, I've been doing a whole lot of sounds. I've got some rock shit. I got some rap shit. I got some R&B. I got a mix of R&B and rap. So I would say diverse. I really don't feel like there's one bubble as of right now that I could put myself in.

What are your thoughts on the label of “TikTok music?” How has the platform impacted your career?
I don't really care too much about that because the people that be saying that are the same people that spend six hours on [TikTok]. So it's like, you're the target audience. You’re the reason why labels are pushing artist’s songs on TikTok. I'm not really too worried about that. I feel like that's just such a hypocritical thing to say, “Oh, I found this song on TikTok, therefore it's a TikTok song.” That don't make no sense to me. But yeah, I hear it a lot. Sometimes it'll get on my nerves just because of what I said, but I don't really care for the most part.

What do you think will happen to new music discovery if the app gets banned?
I feel like it'll just go back to the way it was before TikTok. TikTok opened up a new way for unsigned artists to get discovered and independent artists to get discovered. But artists that have that backing—like the label backing—they'll always always have that. And that'll always be like the defining difference. So I feel like it'll just go back to the way it was, however music blew up before the app.

In 2021, you tweeted, “the soundcloud community is so fuckin stupid i hate all these stupid ass niggas.” How do you think the SoundCloud scene has changed over time?
It’s kind of weird now. I don't feel like it's all about the music no more. I feel like back then, not the 2016 era, I'm talking about the 2021, a lot of those guys were coming up because they had a different sound from everything that's going on. And it was really just all about the music because there really wasn't no other way to get discovered rather than having music that speaks for itself. But I feel like nowadays, it's not too much about the music, it's not too much about breaking barriers and it's more about who a person is and their story. Not to diminish anybody or take credit from anybody, but me personally, I feel like that's what I've seen.

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Do you think the community has changed for the better or for worse now?There's no really saying if it's good or bad because the people that are coming up, they would say it's good. A few years ago, they probably wouldn't have been able to do what they're doing. I think the quality of music isn't as up to par as it was back then, but there's no saying if it's good or bad. Things just change.

What’s the biggest misconception about you? What do people get wrong?I feel like people think I'm dumb. I feel like people don't think I know exactly what I'm doing. People think that a lot of my success can be attributed to a look. But not to toot my own horn, everything is purposeful. Everything was handcrafted, so I would say that's the biggest misconception or that's at least the only misconception that I see where it kind of gets on my nerves.

What’s the smartest thing you’ve ever done?
Start rapping, that shit changed my life. To be more specific, though, it’s not one thing. The way I approached putting myself out there. At the time where I first had my little blow up, where I was able to meet with labels and my career was actually taking some steps, I just wish there was a camera where people could see what I did around that time because it was just so perfect. I just executed perfectly. But definitely start raping was the best decision I ever made. Maybe not the smartest thing I've ever done, but the best decision.

What does success look like for you?
I feel like it's a lot of things. It's bigger than just followers and Instagram likes. And it also is bigger than being able to perform at a show and I have thousands of people see you. To me, personally, it's just being able to take care of the people that's around me. Just being able to change the people around you lives, being able to put the people around you in a better position. I feel like that's really what success is. I think it's bigger than just material possessions, or fam, but just everybody straight.

Ever since I was a little kid, I felt like I was always going to be famous. They say that's like a symptom of schizophrenia. I've always lived life as if one day it's not going to matter. I've always had that mindset where I really didn't give a fuck [about school] because I was just so sure what the future was going to be.

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