Interview: Rich the Kid on How He Finessed His Way Into Becoming Rap’s Hardest Working Rookie

"In 2016, I’m not playing no games, at all."

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Dimitri Rogers, a.k.a. Rich the Kid, has slowly but surely become one of the more promising artists within the Atlanta rap scene. He's been a constant presence on songs from Young Thug, PeeWee Longway, and OG Maco, but the Migos-affiliatedrapper also has an impressive list of guest stars supporting his own movement. In just a year, he’s managed to get on songs with DJ Carnage, PARTYNEXTDOOR, YG, Wiz Khalifa, and most recently, shocked the world after posting a photo with the ever-elusive Frank Ocean. They've since hit the studio together, too.  

The real question has gone from, "Who is Rich the Kid?" to, "How the hell he has managed to finesse himself into the conversation?" Through dab or high water, his name is going to be in the conversation for a large part of 2016. He's embarking on the “Young Hustle Tour” starting next month, and the Dab Tour with the Migos starting soon after that. Plus, he's got a ton of collabs and some projects in the works, too. We spoke with Rich about his work ethic, how he found Frank Ocean, and his role in the creation of “the dab.”

How did you initially link up with Migos?
We pretty much grew up together in the same house. I heard about them, then I hit up their DJ at the time. The same night we met, I practically moved in their house because my grandmother kicked me out because I kept going to jail.

You’re probably the hardest working rapper in Atlanta, as far as linking up with a wide variety of artists. How did you manage to finesse your way into these positions?
Everybody realized how hard I work. I deserve it. When real niggas link up, that’s just how it goes. Like you said I’m the hardest working in Atlanta, everyone else says that too [when I meet them]. It’s just about time that my time comes. Everything is going good for me right now.

Most of the time [when I meet another rapper], they already know my songs. YG already knew “Coupe Goin Crazy,” because that’s a real West Coast sounding song. Wiz Khalifa is like my brother, he’s a real nigga. I remember watching him come up, and when I finally met him he recognized my hustle, too. That’s the difference between just making music and having a personal relationship with someone.

Would you say you have a personal relationship with every artist you work with?
Pretty much. A lot of these rappers and artists are fake as shit. There’s only a particular people in this industry that I think are real—who will call me and I’ll chop it up with them all the time.

Do you ever worry that all of these collaborations will effect your solo music?
No, I feel like they are going to realize that I’m the hardest working in this industry, period. I’ve worked with everybody, it’s not like I’m the guy who has a lot of [collaborations]. I see it as me just working, not being the [collaboration rapper].

Are Migos surprised? You’ve worked with a lot of people that they haven’t even worked with yet.
No. They know what I’m capable of. That’s why they fuck with me so hard. They know that Rich the Kid is going to go out and get shit done. He’s going to link up with PARTYNEXTDOOR, Frank Ocean, or Hit-Boy because that’s what I do.

Speaking of Frank Ocean, how did you two meet up?
Frank is my boy. We met at the studio in L.A. about four or five months ago, and we said that we were going to work on music together, so I basically just hit him back when I got [back in the city]. I’m a big follow through person. Everything I do, and everyone I meet, I follow through with it. Everybody’s trying to find him, and he doesn’t mess with a lot of people, but obviously he respects my grind because he sees that I’m out here working. That’s why we’re cool.

What happened during the Facetime call?
I was shooting a video with Wiz, and when I got a break, I hit up Frank because I know he’s in L.A. a lot. When I Facetimed him, he was in the studio. He’s been working. He told me to come to the studio to knock some songs out, and we worked the following day.

Can you give us any clues on where your collaboration will end up?
I can’t really speak on that right now.

Let's talk about dabbing. Where did it start?
Dabbing started with us—QC the label—Jose Guapo, Migos, Skippa Da Flippa, PeeWee Longway. When we performed, we just dabbed, and everyone started running with it. People would do the dance, but no one would say what it was. I took the initiative to make [an instructional video] with Andy Milonakisabout four months before it got hot on Worldstar. It has over a million views. I helped bring it to the forefront. Then Wiz dabbed during a performance on live TV, and I texted him to say thank you right after I saw it. This was literally a year ago. I feel very accomplished, but the dab is bigger than me now. Everybody is doing it. It’s worldwide. 2 Chainz made a lot of money on the dab, and that’s crazy.

How did you feel about Bow Wow’s “definition” of the dab?
That was really lame for him to say something like that. I didn’t like how he hated on the dab, telling people not to dab. Telling kids not to dab. It was really, like, lame. Guapo called me when it happened, and I got on Twitter and spoke my mind.

What do you have to say about people who claim you use your relationship with Migos to get big name features?
By now, people should know who I am. I have established myself as Rich the Kid, so people respect me. I put big moves together, and I do big shit. In 2016, I’m not playing no games, at all.

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