[INTERVIEW] Charlotte’s Own Lil Richye Represents The Next Generation of Hip-Hop

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Lil Richye

With over a decade of experience already logged under his designer belt, Charlotte, North Carolina’s own Lil Richye has technically been honing his craft since the tender age of three. Having started writing rap music at ten, and winning “Best Youth Hip Hop Artist of the Year” at the 20-16 Queen City Music Awards, Richye Meshawn Porter Jr. – the third oldest of five children – would then go on to appear in Season 5 of Lifetime’s reality competition series, The Rap Game, in January 2019…

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We caught up with Lil Richye to talk about his start in music, where he is now and much more.  Check out our Lil Richye interview below…

Parlé Magazine:  Let’s hop right into your single / video, “Rotation” — Tell me about this particular track; how did it come to fruition?
Lil Richye:  The inspiration of “Rotation” came behind me and a group of friends talking about girls, and one friend had mentioned that this girl liked me, so I had him give me her number, and I texted her, “Drop your location,” and the song went from there.

Parlé Mag: Of course, “Rotation” comes courtesy of your forthcoming 2023 solo project — What all can you reveal and / or divulge about the upcoming said body of work?
Lil Richye:  What I can tell you is that I put my heart into this project, I’m a lot older now, and I have had my heart broken, broken a few hearts myself, and just life experiences have taught me so much, even at a young age.

Parlé Mag: How does this new material(s) either differ and/or compare to previous Lil Richye entries?
Lil Richye:  Yeah, this project is definitely different from previous music because I am showing more of a vulnerable side. In the past, I only exposed what was comfortable. This time I let my guards down to show how I really be feeling.

Parlé Mag: “Rotation” is a Let’s Ride Records [owned and operated by Richye’s parents] release — What are the future plans and / or goals for the imprint? Who all else currently makes up its artist roster?
Lil Richye:  Well, Let’s Ride is also currently working on PB3 [Three Porter Boys] new album. Those are my lil brothers, and they are bringing that pressure. They got a lil something for everybody.

Parlé Mag: As an emcee, when you sit down to pen your rhymes, where do you draw your inspiration from?
Lil Richye:  When I sit down, I literally draw my inspiration from whatever I’m feeling at the time or what’s going on in the world. If a chick just pissed me off, y’all gonna hear about it, or if I’m feeling somebody at that moment, y’all gonna get that, too.

Parlé Mag: Reflecting, tell me your whole inception into music — When did you first become interested in it? And how did it all begin for Lil Richye?
Lil Richye:  I’ve always been interested in music since I was a young’n. I mean, I was 3 years old on stages in the club around the artists. I’m just taking it all in, knowing that I’m going to be a superstar. So this was always something I wanted to do, and God made way for me to be able to do it. And shoutout to my team none of this would’ve been possible without them. Big Rich and KP were there from the beginning encouraging me to take the music seriously.

Parlé Mag: Now you’re a native of Charlotte, N.C. — So growing up in the ‘Queen City,’ who all did/do you consider to be your strongest musical influences?
Lil Richye:  Growing up in Charlotte is all I know; I love it here. The weather is great, crime getting crazy, but this is home, southern hospitality, that’s me! Since I’m from Charlotte, my strongest musical influences would most def be Jodeci, those the hometown boys. The way DeVante’ would cultivate songs and actually play the instruments, then putting K-Ci and JoJo on those vocals, was magical. In my opinion, there will never be another R&B group that will bring that raw, edgy with a lil bit of softness that they brought. Yeah, my brothers and I grew up on Jodeci like they were Motown; in a way, I guess you can say they were our Motown.

Parlé Mag: The masses first became familiar with you due to your (one episode) stint on Lifetime’s The Rap Game — What particular string of events actually led to you appearing on the show series?
Lil Richye:  Well, I had worked with Latto, Nia Kay, and a few other artists that had been on the show before me, and I had been working hard in my city prior, so I guess the buzz had gotten to them.

Parlé Mag: Were you happy with the overall experience?
Lil Richye:  Honestly, at the time I wasn’t because I had actually just turned 13 and didn’t understand that TV was different from reality, so a lot of what y’all saw wasn’t even real. For example, they played like we didn’t have a room, but when the cameras went off, they took us to our room, and we had the biggest room in the house. Now that I’m older, I get they were doing it all for ratings. However, the whole experience was how I was able to meet and work with Zaytoven, so for that, I’m extremely thankful!

Parlé Mag: What was the most valuable advice or biggest life career lesson you learned from Jermaine Dupri?
Lil Richye:  Nothing he said…actually, just watching his worth ethic taught me a lot. He has been doing this for over 30 years and still making hits.

Parlé Mag: In having said that, how do you classify your overall sound and / or style?
Lil Richye:  I love being versatile, and with that being said, I love experimenting in different genres…but lately, I’ve been focused on making Trap / R&B and Emo music.

Parlé Mag: Switching gears here…
What do you feel will be the ultimate key to your longevity?
Lil Richye:  I feel like the key to longevity would be doing the wants in your heart and staying passionate about whatever you choose to do. Keeping God first and trusting Him.

Parlé Mag: What do you want people to get from your music?
Lil Richye:  I want people to know they are not the only ones feeling what they feel. That’s why I opened up more on this project because I’m sure some of them go through and feel what I’m feeling, so I want them to feel comforted and seen.

Parlé Mag: On a more serious note, are you content with the current state of Hip Hop?
Lil Richye:  Well, I feel like Hip Hop is versatile now; before, Hip Hop artists didn’t really wanna sing or carry a tune because Hip Hop was put in a box, but there is no box anymore. As artists, if we wanna sing, rap or even make a rock song, we are mentally free now to do that. We are artists, not just a genre. However, Hip Hop is our culture, so no matter what type of song we are doing, you are still gonna feel that Hip Hop in it.

Parlé Mag: Do you have any other outside / additional aspirations, maybe even completely away from music?
Lil Richye:  Absolutely, I wanna do it all! I’m already an author and producing, and next is acting, modeling and, maybe, directing some big movies.

Parlé Mag: You’re also an official brand ambassador for the Charlotte Hornets — How did this even come to be? And what exactly does being a brand ambassador for the team entail?
Lil Richye:  God did that! Foreal when I was in elementary the Hornets came to my school to encourage us to read more; once I got to middle school, I did some research and found out that 85% of African-American youths are functionally illiterate, that blew my mind, and I thought back to when the Hornets came to my school encouraging us to read daily. At the time, I wasn’t big on reading because I couldn’t relate to or see myself in any of the characters. Once I found that out I wanted to be a part of the solution and write a book for kids that might be searching for themselves in books like I was. Once it got back to the Hornets that I was an author and how they encouraged me to do better when I was in elementary, they called my label, and from there, we came together. A brand ambassador is basically a representative for the organization, someone that stands for what the organization stands for In leadership and being in good standards.

Parlé Mag: To date, what has been your greatest career moment(s), at least thus far anyway?
Lil Richye:  My greatest career moment to me would be performing in the Virgin Islands, where they knew my songs word for word. Yeah, that was breathtaking. Also, becoming an author, if you had told me that in elementary, I would have looked at you crazy, but I did it, and I love inspiring the youth and letting them know there is nothing they can’t do!

Parlé Mag: What’s an average day like for you?
Lil Richye:  Well, normally, I wake up around 7, 8-ish am and work out. Then I will meet up with the Hornets for work, and then go to my home studio where I’m either creating music or video content, and the time I spend there can vary from 2-5 hours.

Parlé Mag: Please discuss how you interact with and respond to fans…
Lil Richye:  I love my fans. I call them supporters though and I really look at them as family, so, I always stop and take pics, I (also) try to respond to the DM’s as much as possible because I wanna hear from them. I wanna hear their input because it’s because of them that I can continue to put out music.

Parlé Mag: What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? And why?
Lil Richye:  My favorite part is being on stage. I LOVE performing. I feel free! I wouldn’t say this is my least favorite part, but I’m not that much into social media, but I’m starting to get into (it) more actually. I realized I was overthinking too much instead of just having fun, so I’m utilizing those tools to my advantage, but I don’t like the false sense of reality it can bring to the world, not to mention the many hurt people in the world and they get a kick off of trying to hurt you because they are angry. On top of that, I lose the luxury of privacy by being an artist. You always gotta keep the lookout for those that wanna rob you and get clout from doing something crazy.

Parlé Mag: What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Lil Richye:  I would tell them not to follow me, to make their own path, and to follow God and their heart while trying to improve the world and those around them.

Parlé Mag: What’s next for Lil Richye?
Lil Richye:  The next step for Lil Richye is my EP dropping the first of the year and dropping my third book in February of 2023. I’m gonna go ahead and manifest some movies, too, while I’m at it.

Parlé Mag: Is there anything I left out or just plain forgot to mention?
Lil Richye:  Nah, I believe we covered everything for now, but you know we are forever evolving, so there’s definitely more to come.

Parlé Mag: Any “closing” thought(s) for our readers?
Lil Richye:  Yes, not only do I have music and books, but I have a line of clothing out on our website: www.letsriderecords.com, and I have a line of blazers coming out in December, so definitely be on the lookout for those!

Connect w/Lil Richye Online:
https://linktr.ee/lilrichye


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Veteran music journalist and indie publicist Todd Davis, who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area, and has contributed to a variety of national, regional, online, weekly and daily media outlets; including The Source, XXL & Billboard, to name a few, is happy to report that he has recently joined the Parlé Magazine family. Looking forward to many great things to come...