Despite what it alludes to, Zone 4/Interscope Records rap signee Rich Boy insists his moniker is just a neighborhood nickname ("It doesn't stand for being rich or anything like that.") not a glimpse into his finances. Maybe so, but with the multifaceted talents that 21 year old Marece Richards possesses, his nom de plume will be even more fitting shortly with the release of his debut album, Product of Tha Hustle. Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Rich Boy grew up in a typical hood upbringing with both positive and negative influences. "My dad all he did was work all day." His father owns a liquor store in the middle of the hood and it's where Rich Boy witnessed dope fiends, drive bys and all types of mischief first hand. "Instead of having role models, I looked up to drug dealers," he admits. "I'm hanging out and rolling with dope boys doing something I have no business doing," he says of those times before mentioning why he decided to fall back. "I don't want to get into all the shit I did [but] I ainï¿½t ever made my momma cry before. Once I saw the impact my actions were having on her I decided to try something positive rather than being on the streets doing bullshit. My momma always did her part to keep me in church to balance me out even though I did make some wrong turns." This balance in his life allowed him to enroll at Tuskegee University as a mechanical engineering major. His first semester there is when his career commenced, but not as a rapper. "I heard a beat in the hallway when I was walking back to my dorm room, I stopped 'cuase he had the door open," remembers Rich Boy of that fateful day. "I asked what CD was on and he said it was a beat he had just made. I was so shocked that I was like 'You gotta show me how to do that.'" From there he started making beats everyday. Having played drums in church as a youth, production came naturally and he became so enriched in his newfound craft that school became secondary. Within in a year Roy Jones Jr. had come upon one of his beat CDs and ended up purchasing tracks. "That was my first real step in the door as far as professional music is concerned," says Rich Boy. The first check was small but enough to make him start thinking he had a future in the rap business. After his freshman year he decided to step out on faith and leave school to pursue his dreams of becoming a full time producer. "I took the money I was supposed to use to pay for school and brought equipment with it," he reveals. "I took a big gamble". Maybe a name like Rich Boy helped his odds? As a youngster he was influenced by Southern rap legends like UGK, 8-Ball & MJG, Crime Boss, ESG & Too Short. The rap scene in Mobile always thrived but he admits that getting on the radio is no easy task, keeping local artists just that, local. Undaunted, he would finagle his way into the local radio station (93 WBLX) by claiming to have an appointment with a station DJ in order to get by reception. "I decided to rap over one of my own beats and [try] to put in on the radio" explains Rich Boy. He eventually got his music into the hands of evening personality Nick at Nite, The Krunkmonster, who started playing Rich Boy's "Cold as Ice". "After really listening to the song, he went crazy and started playing it every night," remembers Rich Boy. Soon after, Atlanta based rap outfit Jim Crow came through the station promoting their latest album and Rich Boy made it his business to hand a copy of his CD to group member Polow the Don. "Polow just so happened to call me back one day and said, 'I think you ought to rap." Polow then flew Rich Boy out to Atlanta to get him into the studio recording, coincidently enough this was around the same time Jazze Pha also heard Rich Boys music and coordinated to fly him down to see Cash Money's Mannie Fresh, and he started building relationships with both camps. In Atlanta Rich Boy stayed with another local rapper Bubba Sparxxx and got on the grind making music and signing with Polowï¿½s own Zone 4 Entertainment which eventually partnered with Interscope Records. "They made a lot of legends at Interscope," rationalizes Rich Boy. "I don't feel they've broke an act out of the South, and I figure I can be one of the first." He has the goods to do just that. His thick Southern drawl permeates throughout his insightful lyricism, making it hit home that much harder. But the beauty of Rich Boy's flow is his ability to keep listeners guessing. "I got a lot of different characters and different flows. I don't rap the same way everytime," he says. The Mannie Fresh produced track "D-Boyz" is a rowdy track that showcases his agile flow and elastic delivery over snappy drum programming. "'D-Boyz' represents anybody who is going through the struggle and has to get their money illegally." "Get Down" features more vocal chest thumping over tumbling percussion and an eerie vocal loop while "Role Models" finds Birmingham, AL rapper Attitude and David Banner joining in on the fun. "Boy Lookee Here" is a Southern fried heater, "That just represents the country in me; it represents Mobile because you don't go to New York and say that. I was raised around horses and shit," he says with a chuckle. Rich Boy raps about what he's seen coming up in Mobile but he isn't content on simply regurgitating the rap 'same ol' 'same ol'. On the reggae infused "Lost Girls" he explores in rhyme the plights of insecure young women. "I made that song off of true experiences," says Rich Boy. "I noticed a lot of girls throwing their life away chasing men for money. I felt I had to put some positive on the album, it couldn't be all about drugs, dope boys and cars." The album is bloated with intoxicating beats and production credits including Timbaland, Kanye West, Polow, Jazze Pha, and Needlez to name a few. Overall, Rich Boy's album will offer a glimpse into all the experiences of making him who he is, while making sure your neck snaps to the beats and grooves. "Certain songs might tell you a little something about my upbringing. Certain songs might tell you how I relate to others life experiences. On the album I never get specific on all my dirt because I don't feel I need to talk about that. I want to put the spotlight on Mobile, and give the listeners an idea of what's going on here from a young black mans perspective." Listen up! Book Rich Boy for shows and concerts at Heavy Rotation booking agency. Worldwide Bookings with HR Booking. Rich Boy Booking, Book Rich Boy. 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