Riky Rick

Talks Gucci, Kid Cudi, and being a South African rap artist

Photographer: Jonny Wilson // @jonnywilson
Stylist: Samantha Ria // @samantharia
Assistant Stylist: Danny Walker // @uncommondanny
Interviewer: Johnson Gold // @JohnsonGold
Artist: Riky Rick // @rikyrickworld

Dreaming of Gucci since 13

Ricardo Makhado aka Riky Rick is a talented South African rap artist known for his eccentric style which is never missed. He discusses his biggest influence in music being is Kid Cudi, how powerful music sounds can be even when we don’t understand the language and dreaming of Gucci since 13 years old, which has become his ultimate fashion drug.

Top, Trousers and Trainers – All Gucci @ Flannels, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Your real name is Ricardo? How did you come up with the name Riky Rick?

In South Africa, we have a thing in our crew that everybody that has a name has to have two names. You can’t just be Ricky or Ricardo you have to have a double name. My full name is Ricardo Makhado, and I couldn’t use that name. But I said Riky, then it was Ricky Rick and there’s a saying that if you have a double name you will be successful.

Wow, is that how it works?

Yes, you have Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, Rick Ross, Lil Wayne. You see what I’m saying, so when you have two names it sticks. So yeah, Riky Rick.

When did your music career start and how did you get into the industry in South Africa?

I pretty much got into the music industry by mistake because I was at film school and I wanted to study film and was in love with film and photography. In my second year actually in my first year, I started doing sound for like films and doing sound for films made me realise that I could be in the studio and actually make songs. I’ve always rapped my whole life and I never knew how to make beats so going to film school gave me the confidence to learn how to make beats. Then from that year, I became a real musician.

So you produce your own music as well?

Yeah, produce everything and rap.

And write your own lyrics as well?

Yes, of course. That never used to be a question a few years ago. 

Top and collar – J.W. Anderson @ Browns Fashion, Trousers – 3.Paradis, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Jumper, Trousers and Trainers – All Givenchy @ Flannels

I know, because usually people do it for them but now you get a lot more artists that are producing and making their own stuff. You even get people that are going from being a producer to an artist.

That was the whole like…the best music is made out of necessity and the best guys that make music that really got H.A.M lack opportunity. So they never had producers, they never had a rapper or a good singer to sing their songs and they end up having to do it themselves. That’s why you see so many people crossing into every field. You might not have a fashion brand that wants to dress you so you end up making your own merch and everyone is sort of dipping into everything. 

How would you describe your music?

My music is eclectic and a bit confused in some sense. I’m like a Kwaito artist, Kwaito is like my main genre. Kwaito is like slowed-down house music, 95bpm but like rapping with a Kwaito flavour. Kwaito is basically rapping in our own language, Zulu or whatever it is and creating a vibe out of that. So that’s my like sort of traditional music and then I got into making Soul Hip-Hop music and Trap music so I try and mix all those things together and make different type of songs for everybody.

What’s the difference between South African music to American and UK Hip-Hop? How does it differentiate from other countries?

I think it’s much smaller, in terms of the thinking. In South Africa, we don’t make songs for the world you know. We literally make songs for our neighbourhood and our culture which is like good for South African people as a tradition but it’s bad because a lot of people outside never get to understand. So it takes a while for it to build.

But I feel like American music is so quick, things move so fast. In South Africa, we’re very like nostalgic and we want to hang on to what we know and love. Things move a bit slower but I was just thinking maybe it’s just language barriers as well.

Because you rap in your language right?

I rap in my language but I rap in English also like I got back and forth.

You just did a show in Budapest and you’ve got fans there as well. How does it feel to know you have fans enjoying your music in another country?

Yeah I mean there are no borders when it comes to music. I was shit scared about that performance in Budapest but you get so surprised when I play and a song and they know it, number one, they dance to it, number two and number three they actually try and say the words. They hardly speak any English or anything. Music is really universal it’s all about the sound.

It’s all about making a catchy tune. Everyone is singing this Despacito song and no one probably knows what this means. It’s like the biggest song in the world and probably like 90% of the people don’t understand.

Jacket, Top, Jeans – All Off White @ Browns Fashion, Trainers – Air Jordan 1, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Shirt, Trousers and Jacket – All Marcelo Burlon, Trainers – Giuseppe Zanotti, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Is there one person that’s inspired your music?

“My biggest influence was always Kid Cudi. In terms of like trying to find melodies, not really like 100% sonically but Kid Cudi was at the stage where I was learning to make music. I was listening to him a lot, trying to find melodies and sort of taught me that you can be a songwriter but you can also be a very good melody maker, like find the melodies in the music.”


What’s your favourite song you’ve done so far?

My favourite song has never come out.

Oh, so you haven’t released your favourite song? Why not?

I’m a music snob in some way. I know the difference between my job and what I like, you know? The music that I listen to is probably like the complete polar opposite of who I am as Riky Rick you know?

And what kind of music is that?

It’s much more chilled. I listen to very slow music. Like right now the only thing I’m listening to is Sampha that’s like my rotation for like the past three months.

Would you ever try making that kind of music?

I think because I don’t know how to play an instrument it’s really tough you know? I admire people who know how to play instruments and like work a keyboard or a guitar. I really admire that.

Jacket and shirt – Marcelo Burlon, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Suit and Jumper – Givenchy, Sunglasses – Moncler (All available @ Flannels)

If you had one artist you could collaborate with, who would it be?

In the UK or anywhere?

One in the UK and one from anywhere.

I think from the UK it would probably be Sampha. He’s like really ahead. And then just around the world…I don’t know. I’ve collaborated with people and it doesn’t always turn out the way you envisage it. It’s sort of like it’s nicer to just collaborate with your friends. Out of my rotation, I think like…I’m listening to a lot of Frank Ocean and a lot of Sampha right now.

Where’s your favourite place to hang out in South Africa?

Home. home. My favourite place is being at home. Like South Africa is nice but when you’re there for too long it’s really the same cycle, you know. And we’re not very good as yet, to introducing new things. We’re still getting back at introducing new things to the kids. So sometimes it can get a bit boring, especially if you’re from the big cities. I’m from the big city so I’ve seen everything from the age of 21. There’s nothing more I can see. But there are people that come from towns and smaller cities that are more excited. But for me, I really like being at home with my family because I’m always everywhere, so being at home is the best place.

I can see you’re a big fan of Gucci. What’s your favourite Gucci piece that you own?

Yes, yes! Jesus that’s so hard. There’s a denim jacket that I have, that I’ve been wearing for like six months. But I feel like, when I was growing up I told myself I just need Gucci, I need Louis Vuitton. That was like my dream, you know? And then when I became a little bit successful it was like I could really start exploring that. I really fell in love with the brand. It really did make me feel the way I thought I would feel when I was 13, dreaming of Gucci. It actually gave me the confidence to feel that I can push further you know? So it’s like for me, it’s like the pieces are almost like my drug. Gucci is like my drug. It makes you feel better when you buy a piece. The feeling when you wear it it’s like none other you know?

What kind of brands are in your wardrobe?

Gucci, number one. You’ll find a lot of Balenciaga. A lot of Martine Rose. But I give away like half of my clothes that I don’t wear.

Top, Trousers and Trainers – All Gucci @ Flannels, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Jumper and Trousers – Drifter, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Really? Where do you give it away?

Just to family or to people, just let it go. Because a lot of stuff you can’t wear all the time. So I’ll wear something for a show or whatever then I can’t wear it again. You mentioned the fur jacket that I have like I can’t wear it because it doesn’t suit the weather conditions or whatever, so I can’t wear it again.

So you give back, it’s like your way of giving back.

Yeah, even my shoes. I have a lot of shoes that I give away to people.

What inspired that fur look you wore to South Africa fashion week?

In the 2000s, Cam’ron wore a pink fur coat to fashion week, to New York Fashion Week. I always told myself that when I go to Fashion Week, I wanna pull up in a fur coat and just be like whatever anybody else is wearing, everybody will just be talking about my coat. So that was the inspiration, just to shock people.

Describe your style in one word.

I think unpredictable. Because I’ve always said I’m not a fashion person, I don’t know anything about fashion and that gives me the opportunity to try different things. So sometimes I would have someone [stylist] who dresses me and buys me clothes and gives them to me. They have time to just look at different clothes and give them to me to try. I don’t want to have like a set style. A lot of people have their set style but I still need to explore, this is my first time in London since I was a kid. It’s like, I’m not going to come to London and not try what I see. So what I see on the street can inspire me to dress like this or that.

Top and collar – J.W. Anderson @ Browns Fashion, Trousers – 3.Paradis, Trainers – Givenchy @ Flannels, Glasses – Stylist’s own

Where do you get your inspiration from in terms of fashion?

Erm, I wouldn’t even know. Just Instagram. It used to be like when we first discovered that fashion was online, we used to have to go on the online blogs. But now like all the blogs are on Instagram. I don’t get too inspired at home, in South Africa the fashion style is still very mild. So you don’t just walk out your house and see people instantly. People don’t dress up, people are always in the car not just walking in the street. It’s hard for you to get inspired by people on the street, street fashion like you say.

Jacket, Top, Jeans – All Off White @ Browns Fashion, Glasses – Stylist’s own

What can we expect from you in the future in terms of your music?

I’m working on a new album so that’s where I’m at right now. I’m getting in the zone to release a new album, I just did a label deal with Sony and we’re working on getting that new music out. It’s gonna be amazing.

Check out Riky Rick’s latest single

‘Buy It Out’

Available on iTunes

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