Behind The Beat: A Conversation with Saucelord Rich of FKI Production Duo
FKI’s Saucelord Rich Is Making Major Moves In & Outside of The Booth
He’s the man behind some of your most favorite artists and songs of today’s generation. Hailing from ‘The Empire State’, New York, Saucelord Rich is 1/2 of one of the most well-respected production duos in the game right now, FKI.
Using his creative master mind to nurture the art of music, Saucelord Rich started making beats at an early age. By the time he reached junior high, Rich had uprooted from New York and moved to Atlanta. From an aspiring basketball star to perfecting his craft as a musical genius, it wasn’t long before he learned that music was his destined path in life.
Upon his arrival, he met FKI 1st, a producer and artist we featured not too long ago. FKI 1st shared the same love for music as Saucelord Rich and the pair became partners. The two spent many afternoons, listening to the hottest beats and collectively mixing their talents together. After some time dreaming of success, the two finally sought out to make their dreams a reality. FKI was officially born.
Growing an amazing track record over the course of the last several years, FKI is most notable for their work with heavyweight artists, such as, Post Malone, Iggy Azalea, Tyga, Travis Porter, and 2 Chainz.
An impressive discography and an undeniable musical vision, their work speaks for itself. However, Saucelord Rich proves that—even by himself, he is a force to be reckoned with.
Known for being a beast at engineering and sound development, the producer turned rapper is also no stranger to the booth. Let’s just say, don’t count him out.
Saucelord Rich just recently released a video to his song, “What You Want”—which channels his inner ‘Basquiat’. He also made his solo debut with new album, Know Me; King Wolf.
Delivering hit after hit, you just can’t help but love the Saucelord. Check out our interview with him as we talk about the beginning, his journey in FKI, solo endeavors and much more…
Parlé Mag: Before all of the success of your career came, at what point did you realize that music was truly what you wanted to do?
Saucelord Rich: Um, it was back when I was a kid. I had a laptop and a computer. My father didn’t know about programs; he put me on punishment for a really, really long time. But, he didn’t know that laptops and computers were like—you can do fun stuff on them. He thought it was like all educational. So, I was just making beats and, right then and there, I knew, if you can get away with this right under your father’s nose, it’s got to be something that’s definitely meant to be. He took everything—TV, phone. I didn’t have anything but that computer, and he did not know. So, that’s when I really knew, right there. [laughs] I stopped playing basketball and everything. I thought I was going to be a basketball star. I thought I was nice; I wanted to be Ray Allen. I started making beats from that day on and I never stopped. I stopped playing basketball. I think I made the right decision.
Parlé Mag: So, how did your journey as being a part of FKI production team began? How did that come about?
Saucelord Rich: That started back in high school. I moved from New York and 1st moved from Cincinnati; he was already there. He’d been in Atlanta for way longer than I had. But, I moved. It was around the eighth grade, ninth grade. Then, first, he was in my class. At this time, I was like the biggest Nas fan because I thought he was the flyest person ever, and he was like the biggest Jay-Z fan. Not to say that I was wrong because I’m a Jay-Z fan now. I’m still a Nas and a Jay-Z fan. So, we had that argument in class and we ended up getting on the same bus. We lived in the same neighborhood. So, that argument would follow us to our houses. It was like, ‘you make beats; I make beats’, and it kinda started from there.
Parlé Mag: Oh, wow. So, I guess it was meant to be?
Saucelord Rich: Definitely.
Parlé Mag: You’ve worked with so many people and have accomplished great things. What would you say was that one moment in your career where you realized that your hard work was really paying off?
Saucelord Rich: [sighs] My hard work was really paying off? When I actually started seeing, you know, people who we were coming in contact with. Like, if they had a little bit of a name, it was really no name at all. Maybe a little bit; maybe certain people knew about them. When we took those people and made them like incredible—you know what I mean? Like Post Malone, Natasha Mosley—they were doing things before, but when they got with us, it’s like it went from here to the next level. Regardless of what we did, what I did, or 1st did. Collectively as a team, we took people who people didn’t really care for or knew about, or were just coming out. You know what I’m saying? That’s when I knew it had to be more than something just—we made hits before with people. Travis Porter back in the day, “Watch Out” with 2 Chainz, but, it was nothing like somebody that nobody really knows. Like, when you take a guy or girl, and you be like, ‘This person’s dope. Believe us.’, and the world kinda believes you. So, that’s when you kinda know, like, ‘Wow, we’re doing something bigger than life.’
Parle Mag: Right!
Saucelord Rich: Changing people’s lives. That’s all I want to do.
Parlé Mag: So, the world of music is constantly evolving. As a producer, how do you manage to create a sound that evolves with time as well?
Saucelord Rich: I mean, I’m just—FKI in general, we’re just into different sounds. We’re into Daft Punk; we’re into Gorillaz. You know, just different—a wide range of music. We’re into rock music. I don’t know too many people who would listen to as many genres of music as us. That’s how we even branched into the EDM world and all of that. We knew before a bunch of people thought it was even going to be anything. We’re already ahead of our time. So, it’s like, just listening to music that most people don’t listen to, you can get an idea from anything. You can learn from fool, but you can’t really learn from someone who thinks they know everything [laughs]. A fool will tell you something to change your life. Like, ‘Don’t wear black ever in your life.’ and the first time you wear black something happens. You gon’ remember that fool, like, ‘man’. So, it’s just going through different genres of music and not cutting any genre out. I’ll do country if it comes my way. Most people be like, ‘I’ll never do that’. I’m not trying to blend—well, we’re trying to blend, all types of music. You know? So, any race—any person, can like our music. We want to make real hits. People make beats that might be stuck in like a trap era. They might just be like, ‘Oh, I make trap beats.’, or ‘I just make a certain type of beat.’ I want to make all types of beats. I want to work with everybody, and our stature and our list lets you know that we work from here to there. So, that’s what we’ve always wanted to do from the beginning. Like, Pharrell is my favorite; he goes from here to there.
Parlé Mag: Right! So, it’s basically no limits?
Saucelord Rich: No limits. Like Master P. [laughs]
Parlé Mag: So, besides producing, you also dabble into the artist side of things. In what way does being a producer helps to perfect your craft when it comes to being an artist and making music?
Saucelord Rich: It’s kind of like a fifty-fifty balance with me. I believe every good thing has a bad side. The good side is, you can do everything yourself and you don’t have to wait. But, the bad side is, it’s hard to take your hands off of the project and let other people tell you some things because you’re like, ‘I started here by myself and made all of this music. It’s incredible; it came from scratch.’ It’s like, it’s hard to listen to other people. Like, I’m trying to get into that. So, the good thing is, you can do everything yourself, but, the bad part is, you might miss good advice only listening to yourself. Wow! That’s a quote!
Parlé Mag: That is! Definitely a quote.
Saucelord Rich: You just heard that! ‘You might miss good advice only listening to yourself.’ That has to go in a book.
Parlé Mag: In a superficial world—with money, fancy cars, high class lifestyle, how do you stay humble and well-grounded in the midst of all of that?
Saucelord Rich: I kinda wanted to be a stylist a little bit. So, I dress differently from everybody. When you do that, you automatically don’t go where everybody goes. It starts from the small things. I don’t even shop where everybody shops. You know what I’m saying? But, once you start doing those things—I try to be inspirational as possible. I feel like I do things and it goes—I mean, there’s no—they say there’s no original idea because everybody has them. But, to me, I feel like I’m an influential person. Like, when people see me do things, it goes to the next level. You can’t do that following anybody. So, it starts with the small things. Shoes and stuff—if I ever got them, I’d be happy, but I just want to be that man walking around my house in my robe, and just come out of here with the mean face, like, ‘Ughhh’. [laughs] I want to make people happy. I’m one of those people who’s really trying to move my mama out of the hood. Some people, they just want diamonds and chains. My mother’s been living in New York forever. I want to move her out of there. So, it’s different for me. I don’t really care about those things. I want to see people smile. They’ll smile when they see you with chains, but chains and stuff just create envy. Most of the time, people who take you out, it’s people who are right next to you.
Parlé Mag: Exactly.
Saucelord Rich: They don’t be like random—you didn’t know this person; he just came up and shot you, people. It’s people who are jealous of you because you haven’t been treating them ‘good’. I’m trying to be the opposite of that. I want to go down as a legend who helps people.
Parlé Mag: Definitely. A lot of people want success, but they don’t want to work for it—which brings me to my next question. How has the hustle been for you?
Saucelord Rich: I mean, I did everything everybody else did. I was an intern; I spilled buckets of water in 11th street studios, then I tried to vacuum the water up, and blew the vacuum up.
Parlé Mag: Oh my God!
Saucelord Rich: They wanted to kick me out of the studio. I was the person who drove the car with no tag and got pulled over. Took my car. Still was trying to be an intern. I had the roughest. I painted houses in college when I went to Full Sail because I had no way to pay—to stay there and go to school. So, I just went to the people, like, ‘Listen, I’ll paint whatever houses you got.’ I did that for a while. That was crazy. First of all, I made it from New York—out of the concrete jungle, all the way to Atlanta. New York is pretty aggressive. You come to Atlanta and it’s like trees—not saying there are not crazy people in Atlanta. There are crazy people everywhere. So, I don’t want people to take it wrong; it has nothing to do with that. It’s just a little easier on the eyes. You know what I mean? I had to grind like everybody else; I did stupid things. I’m still waiting now, but it’s like things are happening now. That took almost ten years. Everybody has like a ten-year ride. I believed in my talent.
Parlé Mag: Wow. So, it sounds like you really started from the bottom worked your way up.
Saucelord Rich: Oh, yes! Yes! This is really the dream. I came from the Good Times household. Like, the one that you watch on TV, and it’s like all of them in there? I’m from there. I can take you there if you want to go. [laughs] I was just rapping about it. I grew up, and my house was called ‘1A’—like the sauce. See, people don’t know that. Like ‘A1’, ‘1A’. I grew up there. Everything that connects to me, I try to make it connect. Like, ‘Saucelord Rich’, those are my father’s initials. SLR—I can do this all day. It’s all about my life.
Parlé Mag: Yes. So, never forgetting where you came from?
Saucelord Rich: Mmm-huh!