Better Late Than Never: Rich Amiri Is Here To Stay

At just 20 years old, Rich Amiri is reveling in his viral fame after ‘Ghetto Fabulous’ cut “ONE CALL” blew up on TikTok. The rapper told Hypebeast more about the album’s making and the evolution of his artistry.

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Despite raking up 78 million streams and counting on “ONE CALL” plus over 160K TikToks backed by the track’s catchy chorus, and even making his debut on the Billboard charts all at just 19 years old, Rich Amiri doesn’t feel like he’s made it quite yet.

“Seeing my face on a billboard was cool, but I want that physical plaque in my hand,” the now-20-year-old rapper told Hypebeast.

Now, “plugg&B” – a slurry blend of soul and trap that’s been taking over the internet – is where Amiri’s found his pocket. Just like many Gen-Z’s, the rising rapper spent many days scrolling TikTok “from sunup to sundown,” mastering the formula for virality.

During a recent trip to NYC for the end of New York Fashion Week – fashion is crucial to Amiri’s artistry, though his name does not stem from the high-fashion imprint – and to hit the studio with Queens-based Lil Tecca, Amiri sat down with Hypebeast at Sweet Chick to discuss on closing out his teens with almost 100 million streams and his experimental taste.

You just turned 20 and hit over 75 million streams on “ONE CALL.” How does that feel?

I still feel like I’m a kid. The only word is “unreal” – especially when I compare it to how old some other rappers were when they hit significant milestones.

Were you surprised “ONE CALL” was the track from the album that went viral?

Not at all. As I was making the song I just knew it was one of those songs.

If it were up to you, which track from Ghetto Fabulous would’ve blown up?

“OUTTA THERE” for sure. That’s my favorite song to listen to on the album. That whole album took about five months to make, but there were songs I put on there from a year and a half back. I’m a perfectionist. It wasn’t even about the actual creation of the album, but the curation of it and the little details. I spent so long on the post-production. All of the songs were done and I spent weeks tweaking hi-hats and little things like that. Even the tracklist took a long time to finalize.

When did you make your first song?

When I was a sophomore in high school. It was in my friend’s basement on GarageBand. It was an NLE Choppa-type song, not melodic at all. I don’t consider that my first “real” song though. I uploaded my first “real” song on Soundcloud about a month later because it took me that long to learn all the features of GarageBand. The song was called “Me For Me.” It didn’t do any numbers but it was a big moment personally. It doesn’t sound good now, but you know what? It sounded good to me at the time.

 

What were you listening to when you started making music?

I grew up on the Soundcloud scene. When other kids were growing up on the radio, I listened to Trippie Redd, XXXTentacion, Famous Dex, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, Future and Young Thug.

What albums had the biggest influence on you?

Three really influential albums for me were Starboy by The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. I also came up in the YouTube era, so I’d watch a lot of those. I was really into Lil Keed, Speaker Knockerz, Migos – the Culture album, specifically. All of the Lyrical Lemonade people, too – Diego Money and Warhol.SS.

Are you thinking of the video while you are building a song or do the visuals come afterwards?

It’s always after. When I’m making music, I’m just really focused on the music. I’m zoned in. I’ll pull visual inspiration from anywhere. I’ll watch a random TV show and incorporate it into a music video. There’s this scene from The Wolf of Wall Street that influenced my next video. It’s the Jordan Belfort “Straight Line” commercial. I drew a lot of inspiration from the art style and cinematography.

How have you evolved since your first song?

I don’t feel like my base approach to music is any different, but rather my accessibility has changed. I can execute my ideas better. When you’re in your closet making beats on FL Studio, it’s a lot harder than when you’re in a studio with a bunch of different producers who each have their own ideas and can help you execute whatever vision you want. I think my mindset is really the same, but I’m so much more comfortable carrying out my ideas now.

“I’m really into things that look different. I want to look like a character almost. I want to look like I’ve got my super suit on.”

Let’s talk about your fashion choices – how does your personal style play into your artistry?

My brain registers clothes and music completely different. I know a lot of artists combine the two but I just love clothes. I put on what I love and feel comfortable in. I’m not really focused on brands though. If you look at most of my fits, they look very “runway” but I couldn’t tell you what the brands are. I’m really into things that look different. I want to look like a character almost. I want to look like I’ve got my super suit on.

What can fans expect from you in 2024?

Whole new sounds. I’m being way more experimental with everything I’m doing in music and fashion and pulling ideas from anything. I’ve enjoyed the music I most recently recorded more than anything I’ve put out so far. New everything. New style. New visuals. I’m coming different.


Stream ‘Ghetto Fabulous’ everywhere now. 

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