Soweto-born, but raised in South Africa’s oldest township, Alexandra, the young rapper known as Richi Rich has been active as a rapper since 2010 when he was part of YunGunz crew alongside Suup Zulu and Hip Nautic Sean. “We all were different, so we all chose to go our individual ways and do different stuff, but we were still going to support each other,” explains Richi Rich.
As a solo artist Richi Rich has released three mixtapes and an EP, most recently dropping the ‘NORTHGOMORA MIXTAPE’. With Alexandra, or Alex as it’s called, on the border of ‘the North’ aka Sandton, the title alludes to the two worlds which Richi occupies. “I’ve been to the North, I’ve been to Alex. I’m where the suburbs and the hood meet.”
Having found hip-hop at an early age, Richi Rich describes himself as an influencer in his circle of friends, introducing them to sounds such as G-Unit when it first came out. In terms of influences on his sound he holds The Notorious B.I.G. and Okmalumkoolkat in high regard. “When I saw Okmalumkoolkat and the ‘Sebenza’ song that changed the whole perspective of music for me. (To) actually create South African hip-hop. People in America don’t want to hear what they do. They want to hear something new, something from South Africa, something from Africa. So I feel like we should push that.”
For Richi Rich creating something new isn’t just about the music he makes but everything that surrounds it too, from the fashion to the slang. It’s a lifestyle. “We’ve created something new. It’s not like we took something from someone and just carried on doing it. Everything is new. Because we’re young people. We’re trying to grow into becoming superstars, we’ve evolved like crazy.”
While Richi Rich is focused on originality, he acknowledges the influence Alex has had on him and his aesthetic. “The influence comes from Alex. What we say, how we live, what we do and how we dress, most of the influence comes from where we come from. Being in the hood you learn a whole lot of stuff. Life lessons. People giving you advice.”
Ultimately, Richi Rich is trying to show people a side of Alex they might not be familiar with. “I feel like that’s what makes me special. I don’t believe in everybody sounding the same. Like Youngsta, you can tell that he’s from Cape Town. That makes him special. It makes him more interesting; you want to listen to him more, you want to learn more about Cape Town, where he comes from. So I feel like it does make me special. Me being from Alex and bringing Alex to the world.”
Richi Rich hopes that people enjoy his music, but also learn something from it too. “When you listen to my music I want you to learn something. Not just come out of it like that’s good. When you’re finished with my mixtape I want it to be that you’ve learnt something from Richi. I want you to take knowledge from me, what I’ve learnt in the hood.”