Philthy Rich Is His Own Biggest Supporter
Hailing from the Bay Area, Philthy Rich has made it a priority to continuously give his fans new music. The Oakland, California native has released more than 40 projects during his tenure in hip-hop, including mixtapes, EPs, and studio albums. His latest album, Sem God, was released in November. The hard-hitting album includes features from Gucci Mane, YFN Lucci, Young Dolph, Lil Durk, Ziggy and more.
Ensuring that fans have enough music, Philthy is set to release a joint project, Philthy Fresh 3, with Stevie Joe that drops Friday, Dec. 22. This will be the third installment to one of Philthy's first projects that he released early on in his career.
His life wasn’t always making music and creating new ways to brand and market himself. Growing up in the Bay Area exposed Philthy to a lot of violence, his adolescent years were filled with living in shelters, jails and even with one of his elementary school teachers. In August 2012, after leaving a photo shoot he was shot three times and had to drive himself to the hospital. Not one to quit, he directed his energy into making more music. Using street smarts and raw talent, Philthy has been able to carve out his own lane in hip-hop.
The Boombox got a chance to talk to Philthy about his latest projects, life on the road, and his innovative marketing and branding skills.
You grew up in an area that is nicknamed “Kill Zone.” What was your childhood like growing up in the Bay Area?
I was an adult when the name was given to my neighborhood. The area got the name because a lot of people got killed there. And also the cops were scared to come in that area during certain times.
To me, my childhood was normal because I know people who went through worse or the same thing. I was in the streets; moms had five kids—I was the oldest—single-parent household. I never had my own room until I got my own house, living in poverty, I rebelled a lot and I saw a lot.
I lost my virginity at nine. I was hanging around older guys so I got exposed to a lot of stuff.
How did East Oakland and the hip-hop community in the city inspire the sound of your music?
Just growing up in the city and the elements of my neighborhood helped the sound but I am my own artist. Everybody got a way of telling their story and I have my own way.
How do you think your music has grown since your first studio album Funk Or Die?
It's grown a lot because I've grown a lot as a man, as a father, and as an artist. My life has changed and progressed since then. You can hear my growth lyrically as well, even the way my music is being produced has grown. If you're on the same level and you keep doing the same thing over and over, and you're not growing at all – you're just wasting time.
What can fans expect from Philthy Fresh 3?
The chemistry between me and Stevie Joe is impeccable. My fans know that this is one of the first series I started. I didn't have much control on this project. It was more Stevie doing everything, he really picked everything. But it all came together and it's a good project.
You have been very innovative in marketing your music, you’ve purchased billboards to make sure people are aware of your music. How do you come up with new ways to promote yourself?
Actually, for Sem God, I was supposed to have a helicopter ride pass and say, "In stores now." I was also supposed to have a statue of myself as a prophet...as a God in my neighborhood but we couldn't get it done in time. Those ideas, like all my other ideas I come up with I think about how to make it bigger the next time.
With each album, I want to do something bigger and better to keep promoting myself. I think that's a must in this business.
Being a rapper who has been arrested and had to deal with the judicial system. How do you feel about Meek Mill’s sentence and the repeated denial of his bail?
It's like that everywhere really and we just don't know because other people don't have a big platform like Meek. And Meek is my boy, I hang with Meek all the time, I actually just wrote him last week, too. The judge felt like he was antagonizing her, so I guess she got it out for him.
We deal with a lot of hate and the hate can come from people who have authority. I'm just happy it's being brought to the light. I'm not happy about the situation and I hope he comes home soon.
It's been said that hip-hop is a young man's sport, what advice can you give to new rappers on how they should conduct themselves when planning their future in music?
It's not just about creating one song or creating a buzz, there is more to your brand and to the rap game than that. Right now I'm creating this vlog series called "Road Life," basically to show that there is more to it than just doing a show.
Also, understand that this is a business first, build a brand, be yourself, and be prepared to be told no. You have to be prepared to not be accepted and to deal with hate. If you're not ready for hate then you're not ready for success. Think about the long-term, not just the hit song that's out right now.
What's next for Philthy Rich?
Just grinding, hitting these cities, and promoting my work and my brand.