Anyone who spent time enough listening to Los Angeles radio last year probably heard RJ’s “Get Rich” a lot. It was simply a local hit that fed into every aspirational middle finger. Before then, he was more known as an associate of DJ Mustard’s Ten Summers label who made a few key appearances on YG’s acclaimed debut My Krazy Life. Today [May 12], he’s dropping the third entry in his popular OMMIO series which comes from his label meaning On My Momma I’m On. He’s managed to prove just that following everything from sold out shows all around Southern California to getting his music selected for NBA2K16’s soundtrack.
Much has changed personally as well for RJ. Besides the pressure of being a local celebrity on the cusp of a mainstream crossover, he welcomed a daughter into the world around the same time “Get Rich” blew up and a son this year. The stakes for success could be higher, but when HipHopDX meets him at an undisclosed recording studio in Torrance, CA he seems like his normal overtly confident self. The RJ and his frequent collaborator Authentic are the only rap act there amidst the mainly aspiring rock artists. He’s finishing the final touches to OMMIO 3 where he sits and discusses everything from maintaining momentum, watching out for haters and how fatherhood has changed him.
RJ Is Only Competing With Time
HipHopDX: “OMG” is an interesting lead-off to what you had in store for OMMIO 3. What birth the idea?
RJ: We felt the “OMG” record was a perfect way to start the promo for OMMIO 3. It was a good song. It’s not the single off the tape, but a single off the tape. It was a different approach from what we usually take. We felt it’s been a year since we dropped the tape and the streets were quiet in terms of new music. We put that out there and give them a taste and sample of what’s going on or what’s been building up. We felt it was a dope track.
DX: 2015 was huge outside of OMMIO 2 with “Get Rich” being a huge hit, sold out shows, being featured on Game’s Documentary 2.5 and the NBA2K16 look among others. How does one continue to evolve after such a strong year?
RJ: The key word was maintaining momentum. Just continuing the momentum. That’s all it is. We’re not even trying to top nothing. “Get Rich” is old to me now. I could perform that song ten years from now and it’ll still give you that same feeling. That is our main goal which is to make music we can perform ten years or so down the line. Will it be relevant ten years from now? We’re not competing with OMMIO 1 or OMMIO 2 anymore. We just want to be great. If you notice, all my singles are always different. They’re not the same type of feel because that’s what we push for. We don’t need another “Get Rich,” we just need music. I thrive on good music. If you check the area out, we’re the only Hip Hop act in this building.
DX: I was just about to ask you about that. Why here all the way out here?
RJ: It’s out the way. No one knows what’s going on. No one even knows the area I’m in. I want to keep that close because I’m still in the streets. We don’t want nobody coming to take us out or nothing like that. I feel like this vibe is good. You got all these kind of rock bands in this whole building and we’re the only Hip Hop here. I feel like that allows us to tap into different genres. It taps into our psyche and spirit. It brings a different vibe. We’re just trying to make dope music. We’re just trying to make the best music period. If anything, if I’m competing with anything, it’s just with time. That’s it because it’ll never stop ticking. I just gotta keep working and I live so long and I have much more to say.
OMMIO 3 Creation Was A Party In Itself
DX: You brought female fans from shows to the studio during the recording of OMMIO 3. That’s an interesting take on fan interaction.
RJ: I brought groupie fans though. That’s the difference. I ain’t even going to lie. I can’t say this feels like a party mixtape, but we were definitely partying throughout the recording of this tape. I know we were doing a lot of partying. Getting faded, getting fucked up and living. It’s a lot of authentic shit, but it’s a lot of me. I’m not holding back on this. Other tapes I would hold back from saying stuff. This tape is more me. It is what it is. It’s not dissing nobody or shitting on nobody. It’s just me. I love this tape. It’s less party anthems like “Hoes Come Easy” or “Get Rich.” I’ve had a lot of party anthems in my career, but this time I have concepts and all of that. And we don’t need no features. I gave you four mixtapes with features. This one is about the fans knowing me. I want people to feel like I’m their brother. Like how Lil Wayne made me feel. I never met Wayne, but his music spoke to me.
DX: You’ve been in this studio around three or so months. Did it rub off on you in some way?
RJ: Definitely, we got my producer Authentic here. He’ll sit here, make a beat off the drums they’re playing right now. Just take they vibe and bring it to the Hip Hop world. I feel like that’s needed in LA. It’s out there, you got different type of sounds like that, but in LA’s Hip Hop world, these type of different genres are needed right now. They got dope ass sounds. Authentic’s beats tell the story for me. His beats and my life coincide with each other.
DX: Talk about the OMMIO 3’s production for a moment.
RJ: DJ Official is on the single of course, Authentic, DJ Mustard. Larry J of course. He’s from my hood so I always keep him around to big up the hood. Let them know that there’s more than me who can make it out this shit. I got another producer G5. I reached out to some in Sacramento and got Dave-O. I’ve been recording with June Onna Beat who did a lot of early Nef The Pharaoh. Local producers besides DJ Mustard. I try to stick to the script. I try to seek out who is hungry. Obviously, Mustard is at the top and is hungry where he reigns supreme.
DX: What’s the relationship with Mustard now since he’s really done a great job in crossing over to mainstream pop while still working with local LA cats?
RJ: Mustard came from the streets so that’s never going to leave him. All he’s doing is shinning light on the street. If he goes pop for ten years, it’s still street to me because it don’t lack that feeling of a street nigga. It’s easy to fuck with me because my sound isn’t just Hip Hop, my sound is worldly. It’s so intertwined with this universe. It’s street, but worldly type shit. It’s melodic, deep at times, playful at times and an all around thing. I think it’s easy to fuck with artists like me because I’m ghetto. Shout out to Mustard.
DX: You just mentioned not wanting anyone to know your location. What’s changed for you in that regard?
RJ: I still walk places and go places by myself, though. As far as shows, I can’t go to shows by myself. There are certain things I can’t do because of my local celebrity. That’s changed. When I go to certain places, they notice me off bat. Then it turns into pictures and asking for my phone number or follow on social media. That’s changed as far as me being a somebody now.
DX: Did you feel like a somebody last year or was there a moment where the situation clicked?
RJ: I did. I felt like a somebody last year because I been grinding for a minute and been known what’s been happening. When I dropped “Get Rich,” it was street solidified. Okay, he’s going to be here for a minute because he has all these other songs and “Get Rich” now that hit the radio. It went across airwaves. I’m rich to the hood. To the streets, I’m rich and out of here. I’m on, but to this big world, I’m on the come-up. I notice the difference. I’m not dumb. It humbles me because I got so much more to prove.
Cause white folks will look at you like he’s going to bring that bullshit to my club so we’re not going to book him. I’m already a victim of my environment, I don’t want to bring that negative energy to my positive business.
DX: Even with being a local celebrity, you still have to worry about predators eh?
RJ: I’m still in the streets fighting. It’s crazy because now, I’m at the point to where predators want to use me as a stepping stool to get on. All by hating on me. I got a lot of love though. Don’t get it twisted, but the predators want to use me as bait for their own celebrity. I fed into it once. I don’t feed into it no more because once I fed into it, I realize it could damage my money. I’m no good to the community if I can’t get no money. All this music will be nothing because they don’t respect you if you’re not getting money at the end of the day. They do, but to a certain extent. If you’re not out here grinding and showing people you shining, the streets don’t respect you period. You gotta get bread so I can’t be out here fighting everyday or fighting with any Tom, Dick and Harry because they got a problem with me. I don’t have no problem with anybody. Just because they have a problem with my existence, I can’t indulge in that because that could cease all the bread and profits. My whole intention is to bring jobs to the community and shit. I want to put people in positions to help better their lives. That’s my goal for this shit. Them hater niggas is stopping the bread. Cause white folks will look at you like he’s going to bring that bullshit to my club so we’re not going to book him. I’m already a victim of my environment, I don’t want to bring that negative energy to my positive business. People trying to take away my blessings and I’m trying to count all of mine. Shit real out here. Look at Jay Z, he wasn’t able to really do what he wanted to do in his community until he got his purse up. Obama brought us healthcare and all that shit, he wouldn’t be able to do that shit broke. I don’t want to fuck up the money, but I ain’t no bitch. So, by me knowing I ain’t no bitch, I gotta stay away from that. When I get negative comments on my social media, I intentionally respond to the positive comments and delete and block the negative shit. I block them muthafuckas. I don’t even want that bullshit on my page. All I want is positivity. Sucka ass niggas always trying to stop some shit.
DX: You’re handling that sort of pressure pretty well I’d like to say.
RJ: What can I say? God is good. I pray every night. I try to pray every morning, but that sleep and wake up, that’s another story. I pray all throughout the day and talk to God.
DX: Did you have a big flexin’ moment last year?
RJ: The funny thing about that is that I got a song on this project where I’m talking about flexin’ where I’m like don’t make me flex on these nobodies. I don’t be flexin. A lot of people will come and floss they bread and all that shit. I try not to shit on niggas cause the world is already shitting on us. Media and all this TV shit is shitting on us. They shitting on us daily. Telling us what we should wear, how you should talk and telling you the shit that you got ain’t shit. You could just get a new car and someone will pull up in some sick shit telling you that you ain’t shit. Telling you your car ain’t nothing. Me personally, I don’t try to bring that energy into the world. I just try to bring money motivating music to the world because when I’m dead and gone, that music is still going to be there. I got the song because I can flex on niggas. Last year, the biggest moment was my daughter. This year, my biggest moment is my son.
DX: How has fatherhood changed you?
RJ: It makes me think about shit more. If I thought deep then, I think deeper now cause I always think how I would want my daughter and son to be. I want them to be genuine and themselves. I want them to be 100 percent them no matter what they do. I want them to be the best and respectful. I don’t want them to take no shit, but I don’t want them to be a dick. I just want them to be solid individuals. I really try to be like that. I’m understanding because I’m a leader. I’m leading my squad. I gotta be stern and on my shit, but I’m respectful and I hear people out. I’m considerate. I’m in a position to say yo shit don’t matter, but I’m respectful of other people’s opinions. If we’re on the same page, we move faster and we get there faster.