Rico Love is a certified hitmaker. In 2011 alone, the multi talented producer has helped craft hit singles for Kelly Rowland (“Motivation”) and David Guetta (“Promise” feat. Usher). With his own label Division 1 (Young Chris, Teairra Mari) gaining steam and momentum, the future looks bright for this mogul-on-rise. VIBE’s editorial director Datwon Thomas recently spoke with Rico about his December 2nd B-Day Bash in Miami at Club Play, upcoming projects and the producer’s drive to be number 1 (Stay tuned for your chance to win two VIP tickets to Rico’s birthday celebration).
VIBE: What’s going on for you on December 2nd?
Rico Love: Aww man, the biggest party of the century, my 29th birthday, got Mary J. Blige, got Usher and got Puff Daddy hosting. It’s gonna be epic, an epic affair, ya know? It’s all going down at Club Play in Miami.
Not only have you provided hits for them, but they are now gonna rock your party, how real is that for you?
Man, it’s crazy, it’s like a dream come true. I mean Mary J, Puff and Usher [being] the one putting me on in the business and being a big brother and mentor to me…it’s only right.
Your work ethic comes across strongly on Twitter, you have a saying that “Grown men should be up and doing something constructive before Noon.”
I believe that strongly.
Where do you get those convictions from, as a lot of it seems like self-help tips?
It comes from a lot of friends that I had that wanted to be something but didn’t want to put the work in to be anything. So they end up just with their hands out, so I started noticing the patterns and the trends and knowing the things that was keeping them stagnant. So I put those things out there that if you get up and be about something… The first thing anybody that’s an adult does when they get up in the morning is get dressed.
If you sit around in your pajamas all day, that means you are sleeping. That’s like a metaphor for what you are doing with your life. In your everyday life you are just sitting around waiting for something to happen and you’re never ready. So imagine if you’re a grown man and at 2pm in the afternoon you get a call like, ‘Come over here, I got some money for us to go and get,’ and you’re like, ‘Hold on, I got to get dressed. Give me 20 minutes.’ You missed your opportunity, you missed your window and that’s how life is. I try to promote that to all people, females as well. People will sit around and wait. Don’t wait, life will pass you up.
Why do you care to let people know about that? You are a successful producer, you could just go about your way and just make hits.
I feel like that’s why God blessed me and but me in the position that he’s put me in. He gave me an obligation and as long as I keep doing the right thing, as much as I can, cus nobody is perfect. Sometimes the things that are in my mind may not be as honorable as I’m on, but at the end of the day, more so than not, I try to say something positive, cus that means that God is trusting in my success. When giving the right opportunity you are going to say the right things. It’s something that I thought of while growing up as a kid that God me a blessing, an anointing so I’ve got to make sure I use it wisely.
Another Tweet of yours was “Front row at the Latin Grammy’s”. What was it like having your music transcend your original area of urban pop/R&B music?
It was amazing man, sitting in there not even understanding what anybody was saying, just enjoying the show. When I saw the reaction of the crowd when they were singing my song…it was amazing, epic. I couldn’t believe it. Some of the biggest artists in the world sing my songs. It was like being in a whole ‘nother world, like being in a different country. To see all of those people sing that song to the top of their lungs, crying and singing the lyrics, is a amazing. It’s basically an affirmation that the world is ours man. We can go wherever we want to go.
Another thing that you do well is calling out hits. You’re kind of like the Babe Ruth of songwriting right now. You’re pointing out a hit song, and saying it’s gonna be #1 on the charts.
That’s the only way I play the game, to be the best or be number one. If you don’t notice, I don’t even talk about the records that don’t go #1. There are so many other records that I wrote, I don’t even talk about those. I don’t even mention my #2s. I’m only happy with my #1s. I want to be the best. I make sure that my songs are willing to perform at that level. I call the record company, I stay on their nerves. Like, “why isn’t this working?”
So how do you know which artists would work on Division 1 ?
I decided I wanted to work with artists that could be superstars, and I make the songs that I feel like would make them succeed and work for the radio. At the end of the day, it’s up to them to do their hustle and ground work to make sure they stay relevant and current. I apply the same thing to hit records for I make for others. I stress (to my artists), it’s about the song, after that you’ve to grind. The hit? That’s the easy part, after that, it’s time to put in the work. -Datwon Thomas