The technicolor world of ribald swag-rap would certainly be much poorer without Rich The Kid (né Dimitri Leslie Roger). Since the release of his debut solo mixtape, Been About The Benjamins, in 2013, Rich, who once went by Flava Boy The Kid, has been instrumental in recontextualizing Atlanta’s vibrant hip-hop landscape. Even in the city of strip clubs and trap beats, his charismatic lyrics and riotously upbeat delivery made early believers of platinum-selling acts like Migos and Young Thug, both of whom appeared on his second solo mixtape, Feels Good 2 Be Rich.
Born in Queens, New York on July 13, 1992, a young Rich, though always interested in music, found his place as a gregarious jokester who was often at the center of trouble both in and out of school. When he was 13-years-old, his parents separated, prompting his mother to move the family to Atlanta’s College Park neighborhood. Though the Southside previously played home to notables such as 2 Chainz, Yung Joc and Pastor Troy, the newly-transplanted Rich grew disenchanted with rampant poverty surrounding him. Yet there, in a cramped apartment shared with an uncle, Rich discovered a passion for skating and its culture. In between religiously listening to rap luminaries like Nas, Jay-Z and Notorious B.I.G., he also devoured the music of bands such as Sublime, Green Day, The Clash and System of a Down, whom he still cites as influences today. After lengthy stints at two boarding schools for troubled teens - at the first school he engineered a riot that subsequently led to an escape opportunity. As his self-made career proves, Rich has never been one to play by the rules; once he’d left boarding school he didn’t return home either. Instead, he opted to couch surf with friends while “trapping” to secure the finances he needed to continue recording.
Ironically, the life of luxury that so readily appears in Rich’s braggadocious lyrics was hard-earned by the Haitian-American dynamo, whose rap career started as joke amongst friends rather than a serious attempt at fame. While recording his early mixtapes, he spent many nights on studio floors, even sharing a home with Migos, and at one point crashing on the couch of rap trio Travis Porter. These early connections with notable Atlanta alum were instrumental. Through Travis Porter, Rich learned the power of the digital landscape and met the co-founder of Street Executives, Allen Park, who was an early supporter of his talent. Eventually, his affiliation with Migos would also put him in the sights of veteran talent scout Coach K, who later signed him to Quality Control Music alongside Migos and Young Thug.
Even with his profile rising, Rich remained fiercely independent, using his intuitive understanding of the Internet to connect with other buzzing artists such as Bobby Shmurda and Rowdy Rebel, with whom he collaborated on the single “On My Way” in 2014. The next year, he released his first solo EP, a 14-track magnus opus titled Flexin On Purpose. The project included heavyweight features from Fetty Wap, Ty Dolla$ign, Young Dolph and more. Ever the pragmatist, Rich leveraged his familiarity with social media and longtime friendships with breakthrough Atlanta acts to promote the EP, further expanding his already impressive online fan base until he could no longer be ignored.
By March 2016, Rich had single-handedly transformed himself into a wholly self-guided force. Not only had he secured features from Kodak Black, 21 Savage and PartyNextDoor for his Trap Talk mixtape (released April 2016), he launched his own imprint, Rich Forever Music. Soon after, he signed his first artist: Chicago-based rapper Famous Dex. As fate would have it, the next year everything finally came full circle for the hardest working “kid” in the game. On June 9, 2017, he signed with Interscope Records and Maverick Management, and is currently working on his first major label debut. “The album will be about my life but there will be a lot of songs you’ll want to dance to,” said Rich of the forthcoming project. And with the roller coaster course life has already laid out for him, the rapper certainly has much to share.