VIBE sits down with fire spitta Riq Bubz for an exclusive interview on why he’s determined to bring a new change to the hip-hop game.
VIBE: Tell me more about yourself. Where did your name come from?
Riq Bubz: My name I got when I was about 16 after I moved from Newark to Paterson, Alabama with my mother to stay for a year. I was staying in the Alabama projects and everyone had crazy nicknames. But I was the only one getting called by my government name and everyone had cool nicknames, “Kool-Aid, Band-Aid, Headband” and the name they happened to give me was Riq Bubz.
What’s the story behind the mixtape Tatted & Gatted ? We can see that you’re crazy tatted [laughs].
It basically explains everything. I’m tatted; I have an addiction to tattoos. And gatted is just the way of life out here, it how a lot of people live out here. There’s a lot of gangbanging going on around here and a lot of people with guns that shouldn’t have them so you need one just to stay alive.
Your lyrics are really raw, you talk about the struggle and you don’t sugarcoat anything. Where do you think that comes from?
My life experience, growing up and seeing the things that I’ve seen and the people that I grew up around and put myself around. I grew up with a lot of real guys that just ran the streets who had a lot of control of my city. I was around the gangbangers and the hoodrat chicks. It’s my life experience and I just put all of that into my music.
Instead of becoming a product of your environment, you leaned towards music. How did you manage to stay on a positive track?
My stepfather raised me from when I was 3 to about 17 years old. I used to watch him rap. His name was Stack a Dolla, and when I watched him I knew I wanted to rap. I wanted a part of that. It just so happened that I took it a step further than what people thought. I just fell in love with music.
Do you have Jersey rappers that you look up to?
There’s a few artists that I mess with: Tsunami Surf, he’s a battle rapper and Shotgun Suge, those are my boys, and they shined the light on Jersey with that. We don’t really have a lot going on as far as music goes. When they came on the scene in the URL (Ultimate Rap League) it was big. Those are the two main guys I deal with from Jersey and they’re from my city.
So in an interview I saw you said you wanted to be the new “Voice of the North” and you even shined some light on Redman and his spot in rap. How can you be that next voice for Jersey?
Red had the ball in Newark, but he didn’t fully explain the story about what’s really going on down here. I’m young, I’m out here and I’m active, and I know everything that’s going on right now better than he did. Red was animated and I just want to give them a story. Not a lot of people know what’s going on in Newark. New Jersey is small compared to other states and I want to show them what it is out here.
Is that why you’re so active on Twitter with your fans?
Yea, because people get to see how I feel and how I am as an artist. I get a lot of responses from the tweets I put out. I try to keep it real 100 percent of the time.
What are some producers you would like to work with in the future?
I like Mike WiLL Made It (Juicy J, Future, 2 Chainz) and Young Chop (Chief Keef.) I feel like I can make all types of music but I want people to see my story first.
You’ve said that your specialty is “Ignorant Music,” what exactly is Ignorant music to you?
That’s the streets! The slang, the bad ladies, the strip clubs the spending money talk, just keeping it real. It’s another way of saying gangsta to me.
Gotcha! What are your plans for this year?
I want to keep touring, linking up with other artists, and I have a new mixtape coming out called “Street Certified that will” come out before the summer. I want the world to get ready for me. Once I get in, I’m in there. We’ve got a long way before it’s over with.