Known for his dry-humoured raps, hard-hitting beats and absurdist world-view, Wallpaper’s rapper/songwriter, Ricky Reed, is a musical tour de force.
Following the success of their debut album “Ricky Reed Is Real” and supremely catchy pop-rooted ‘Drunken Hearts’ in SA, I caught up with the front man to chat art imitating life through lyrics and their crazy, unexpected SA fanbase.
TX: First off I have to tell you that I’m a huge fan. Your music screams summer vibes and good times to me. I want to jump into a convertible and turn your album up full blast, driving down the coast… sorry I’m getting a tad carried away… did you go into studio with any kind of specific tone for the album in mind?
RR: Thank you Texx! Honestly I was going in trying to make an even more honest record than I had before. Trying to make songs that take you deep into your heart the way you feel when you’ve had one too many and everything is right in the world. There is an honesty we uncover when we’re partying. I wanted the album to capture that feeling.
To box you into one genre would be stupid – the way you fuse together elements from multiple genres is genius – do you find it opens you up to being more creative with the music you make?
Yes, definitely. I’ve just always been a fan of different types of music. I’m too self-indulgent to limit myself. You hear exactly what my brain wants you to hear.
You’ve got quite a big following in South Africa and ‘Drunken Hearts’ went to #1 on one of our biggest commercial radio stations here. Were you surprised when you heard the news?
I was so surprised! That’s our first international #1! At this point I feel a genuine connection with the people down there and I want to come visit! You guys need to see our live show! That’s the good stuff.
Are there any music acts you’ve heard from South Africa that you quite like?
Well this may not be the most original answer but the first time I heard Die Antwoord I just about lost my mind. I also love a lot of South African and West African traditional music and highlife.
Are any of your songs inspired by real events/parties? And have there been a career-defining moment for you up to now, where you’ve looked around and gone, yeah I could get used to this…
Yes, those songs are all based on real experiences. Drunken Hearts was written barefoot on a roof. [Texx note: Okay I think I just officially fell in love with Ricky Reed] And career defining moments for me are always collaborations with my heroes. E-40, Andrew WK, Too Short etc. That’s the stuff I live for.
I like how you included the hashtag in your“#STUPiDFACEDD” EP, it speaks to our social media-minded generation. How important is engaging with your audience on social networking platforms?
Very important. But not as important as engaging with them in your songs and lyrics!
Give me your worst/best #STUPiDFACEDD story.
Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. College town. Drank 2 fifths of blue Smirnoff (the stronger one) and was literally found lying in a gutter a few hours later. #STUPiDFACEDD.
Thanks for your time Ricky, you’re the best. Drinks on me when you eventually tour SA. You will tour SA, riiight?
Like I said, we can’t wait to visit! We want to meet everyone and try some local alcoholic delicacies! Thanks for the interview dude see you Hesher bros soon!
Stream ‘Ricky Reed Is Real’ below on Deezer.