Ridgio is a 22-year-old MC and future producer from the west side of Chicago. Growing up in a split household, he had to always battle his beliefs. In one house with his mother, the word of God was prominent and he was expected to live in a spiritually minded fashion.
In the other house with his father, there was no importance of the Lord and the home was traditionally modern. Wanting to become a musician by the age of 17 wasn’t an accepted concept by his mother or father, and was seen as a typical way to go about life for a young Israelite or so-called “African American”.
Soon after, at the age of 18, he was kicked out of his mother’s home because of his heavy use of drugs, lack of motivation for furthering his education, and rebellious attitude. After a year of fighting depression and straying completely away from the word of God, Ridgio found a light at the end of the tunnel when a once important past relationship fell through, and he regained strong faith in God.
Now, completely inspired by life itself, the creativity behind it, and most importantly the Lord, Ridgio has chosen to dedicate his music career to expressing through hip-hop a righteous way to live, while explaining his dark past.
1.) Do you remember the moment you wanted to be a hip-hop artist?
Yeah, I remember just being in the attic of my aunt’s house with my cousins. We played the piano, had a T-pain auto-tune microphone, and recorded everything from my IPOD. We used to make about 5 songs a night.
I used to take those songs and show some people I knew, and they either liked or hated them, but I knew then that I could take this way more serious than rapping in the attic. I was about 17 around that time.
2.) What was it like creating your last project?
The last project I released was an EP called “Twęnty łł Wįntęrs” This is actually the 2nd edition to an annual collection of EPs I release on my birthday. It was exhilarating the whole way through to make. I wrote ten songs initially but cut down a few to get the best ones.
I think my favorite track has to be either “Twęnty łł Wįntęrs” or “The Results”. Both songs are heavy-hitting and have good build ups tied along with an interesting storyline.
3.) What are you trying to achieve with the project?
I just want the audience to get a better understanding of who I am, and what life is about according to what I’ve learned. The “Winters” series is a huge deal for me since all throughout the year I usually cover differing topics besides myself.
So it’s a great time to get introspective about the things going on within me and I’d love for people to be able to dive into that world with ease, comfort, and better understanding overall.
4.) What are your thoughts on staying independent or signing to a major label?
Well personally, I’ll just wait it out and learn more about the business. Soon after I’ll see what works best for me. I’m not a die-hard independent pusher and am not going to act like it. It’s all about what works for the artist.
So if I see that signing a major deal will be worth the risk then I’ll go down that route. But, for now, I’m good with being independent until I gain adequate knowledge on everything around me.
5.) How do you feel about the independent hip hop industry right now?
It’s simply inspirational. Just to think that ANYBODY, with a little bit of dedication, networking, and proper support can make it. I have high hopes for the future of this industry. The fans are extremely loyal to it, and us artist are always geared up to put out more material for them. So all in all everyone wins. I’m loving it and can’t wait to grow within it.
6) As an independent hip-hop artist grinding it out, what sort of promotion and marketing are you doing to stand out from the rest?
I’m still learning about marketing and proper promotion but I’m confident I’ll be successful at it.The Lord blessed me with a few creative ideas for a promotion that I’m going to put to use. One of em are putting up posters all over the city then going to social media to tell nearby fans to find the poster and if they do they’ll get an unreleased song for free.
Once again, everyone wins. I hope other artists can learn from my techniques and I learn from them. I’ve come to realize that this isn’t as much as a competition as it is a game. Meaning, we don’t have to defeat each other to win. AND we all can win.
It’s beautiful and learning from websites like yours let me know the importance in having a marketing budget while paying people for their promotional services. Thank you.
7) How do you currently make money as an independent artist?
I don’t. I drive Uber/Lyft and make all of my money from them. I literally just sold my first song a few weeks ago, so honestly, I have no means to tell you how much money I’m making from this. I’m broke.
8) How do you feel about hip-hop today?
Hip-hop, just like the world needs a savior. DESPERATELY. There’s only a few good artist out there that’s making money from this while staying true to themselves in a positive fashion. It’s so many people in Chicago that have positive messages but aren’t on.
And I believe its two reasons why. The Lord HAS to be with you for you to properly push positivity and you have to have the knowledge and put it to use. A lot of guys who can be superstars don’t put their industry knowledge to use or simply contradict themselves through their actions. I know it’s tough being a big bad hardcore rapper while staying positive and spitting the truth but you don’t even have to go that route. Just be you and work hard.
I’m loving the path God has given me and am going to stay true to that the whole way through.
9) What artists in the game today do you look at for inspiration?
Since I live in Chicago it’s easy to say Chance but nah. I get inspired by singers nowadays. People like this artist named Alley Ahern make me want to push the boundaries with my sound. I found an artist named Maggie Rogers that simply sweeps me off of my feet. I love the sonics behind their music.
I know Kid Cudi changed the game a lot when it comes down to what’s to be expected of rappers and I love and respect that so I’m most definitely fixing to go in that same mindset. STRAY FROM WHAT’S COMFORTABLE. And to keep it relevant I’m inspired by Big Sean because he’s the artist that formed my earlier flows and kept me motivated years ago with songs like “Celebrity”.
10) Who are your top 3 rappers dead or alive?
- Big Sean
- Lil Wayne