First off, It has been a big year for you! Rico we really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to sit down with TheNext2Shine.com and answer some of our questions! Speaking of your busy schedule, which artists’ projects are you currently on or going to be working with in the near future? From what we understand, you are also working on Pleasure P's upcoming album!
I'm working on Kelly Rowland's album, Nelly, did several songs for Mario, still working on Diddy's "Last Train To Paris", and Pleasure P.
We know at first you were a rapper signed to Usher’s US Records. We heard your verse on Fat Joe’s "Aloha" with Pleasure P. But what ever happened to the 5th Element debut album and your career as a rapper? Do you ever see yourself getting back into rapping again in the future?
I just put that on hold. I don't really think about it much. There's a lot to be an MC! I haven't been doing my lyrical exercises. I don't have any plans of doing an album because it would be a bit cliche seeing that Ne-Yo, Sean Garret, Timbaland, and The-Dream are putting out records. Obviously down the line, if it's requested from my fans, I'll put out an album.
You are blessed with so much talent! Usher’s single "Throwback" to be the first single you wrote and the success that it had. Do you feel songwriting is something you were blessed with? Or was it something that was "forced" out of you?
I definitely feel as though it was something I was blessed with. It was a blessing because God already put the songwriting skill in me. I just had to cultivate it. I don't want to say it was forced out of me! I like to think that God opens up doors.
We know that you have been in the studio working with Timbaland recently on Rihanna’s next album, what can we expect to hear with her pop-dance driven sound she’s comin’ with? How much of her album did you work on?
It really wasn't like that! Def Jam reached out to me a Timbaland so that we can work on the album together. I really don't know how the records turned out. I haven't heard the records we recorded. From what I have heard, LA Reid really likes the records.
In Rap-Up TVs interview you mentioned how Dirty Money’s Last Train to Paris album is ["gonna be mentioned with 808's & Heartbreak and College Dropout, Blueprint III, like those types of albums I really feel like, 'Dangerously in Love,' I think that Last Train to Paris album has the possibility to be that big."] What is it about the album that makes it stand out? The vocals? The sounds? The features on the albums?
It's a very innovative album! It's a new sound, a new wave, a great vibe. Puff didn't really do the norm. I don't think Diddy has ever been the one to do the norm. He's always been the one to push the boundaries. The whole setup of Dirty Money is something new and fresh. It's a creative urban pop vibe. It's so fresh, new, electro, pop, hip-hop, rock, urban... it's all genres. It doesnt sound like something I ever heard before!
I definitely do think that "Last Train To Paris" is fresh and innovative. I just think people have to give it a chance. However, you're always going to have the critiques, and the people who write on the blog sites with negative comments. People who really accept fresh new sounds will cherish it. It's going to do well, I believe that.
You've been promoting your clothing line "Love Foundation" in a bunch of your recent videos. When do you plan to release the fashion line and where can people go to get it? (online store?)
It's not something I'm going to be selling. I just want to make it a lifestyle. I've already had people contact me to buy into the brand. I don't like to force anything on people. I believe the demand is more important then the supply. "Love Foundation" is something I'm very passionate about. I would like it to be one of the top lines in the market.
We caught up with one of the Universal/Motown artists that you worked with, Hal Linton. He told us to ask you "Are you keeping your promise to work out?"
I'm back on my workout like crazy! I've been drinking my gallons of water everyday. I'm drinking two gallons a day, and doing some cardio. I feel off for a while, but I'm back on it. I'm feel healthy!
Last but not least, where does "Turn The Lights On!" come from!? It's your signature drop in almost every song you're on.
"Turn The Lights On!" was something that came to me while I was hanging out in a club called "Area Night Club" in Los Angeles sometime around 2007. They would play "Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall" record. In a certain part of the song, all the lights would go off..but by the time they said "Hey Teacher Leave Those Kids Alone!" .. the lights all over the club would turn back on. One day I went into the studio, and "Turn The Lights On!" just stuck!