We’re just getting into the new year and Riky Rick’s already in full flow. The superstar rapper and record producer is preparing for the first instalment of his new hip hop festival, Cotton Fest, which is set for February 2 at The Station, Newtown.
“I’ve been trying to do this for like two years,” he says. “I just never had the money to do it. Funny enough a lot of brands say they want to help you but when it’s time for you to carry out the idea, most times they take a step back. As a South African artist, you hardly have the resources to really do what you want to do.”
But he’s pushing on regardless.
While his schedule has gone crazy, the energy in his house feels serene - there’s incense burning on the table, his son Maik is sitting in front of the TV watching cartoons and Riky’s looking as cosy as ever in his white socks.
Coming off a relatively quiet 2018, he has a lot to prove.
He didn’t release a hit single (I Can’t Believe It is still picking up steam) and he didn’t do much on the music front, but the well-publicised energy of his shows carried him and kept him in the conversation with the likes of industry heavy-hitters AKA, Nasty C and Kwesta.
“When you get on stage you feel it because you look all around you and say: ‘damn, I’ve got to kill this show somehow’.
“These guys have five records that have rotated this year, they’ve been on radio and they’ve had a million views on YouTube, so I’ve gotta pull out something else.”
Riky’ll be looking at switching the narrative this year by dropping his second album. “This album’s gonna be different. This is like me going to my producer mode. After Cotton Fest, I’m doing The Voice and then I’m probably going to aim for a winter release.”
Throughout his career, Riky’s made a point of co-signing talented, young up-and-coming artists.
New kids on the block such as The Big Hash, J Molley and Frank Casino have grown sizeable social media followings and online influence on the back of his endorsement.
Cotton Fest is Riky taking this passion to another level.
“80 ARTISTS. 2 STAGES. WE NEVER DIE. WE MULTIPLY.” ——— get your tickets, get your squad, & pull up strong for #CottonFest2019. THE STATION NEWTOWN. 2ND FEB WE JUMPING!!!— #COTTONFEST2019 (@rikyrickworld) January 9, 2019
Tickets: https://t.co/z9NTQSMQla (R150)
Physical tickets: @PicknPay pic.twitter.com/OA8vEVbFI9
“I’ll be disappointed if, at Cotton Fest, I have the best set because I’m just curating the show. It’s not about me, it’s not a one-man show. I wanna show them that everybody can get the kids lit, and I wanna show the kids that they can get lit for anybody.”
The festival line-up features more than 80 artists. I imagine it must’ve been a strenuous process putting it together, so I ask him what the criteria was.
“It was mostly people I know, but that was only like 30 or 40. And it just built up and built up from everyone hollering. Then I realised that maybe there’s something missing in the events that we’re doing. Maybe people haven’t done it for the culture. Maybe it’s been about how many tickets you wanna sell.
“Whoever we put there has just gotta keep up with the energy or build it up to the point we want it. Maybe it’s more about that than who do I put up there to headline. This festival’s for us. It’s by us, it’s for the people, it’s for everybody. I want to have one of those festivals where people can walk in and take off their shirt if they’re feeling hot.
“It doesn’t matter, we’re not trying to put boundaries on the youth or for anybody with this festival. It’s limitless. I want people to feel like this is their home for the day.”