24: Introduce yourself to everyone that doesn’t already know who you are.
Riez: Well for anybody that doesn’t know me, I go by the name of Riez, Straight outta Atlanta, Southside, Riverdale to be exact..
24: Before we get into your music, can you describe your history about how you got into and what inspired you?
Riez: Well for me it was a no brainer with what i wanted to do with my life when I was young. I used to listen to a lot of R&B coming up, learning how to write songs, build verses, recognize hook/bridge placements. I can remember being in church, writing and drawing my life away on the Sunday programs. It didn’t make much sense to everyone else, but it made sense to me. What got me more into Hip-Hop was my first ever Rap CD I bought. It was by an artist named Tela, he had a song called ‘Sho Nuff.’ I memorized that song from top to bottom day and night, from there I just expanded on my new found love for writing. Of course the older I got, the more things I went through in life, and I use that as the ammo.
24: What was the Hip-Hop scene like for you growing up where you’re from?
Riez: I’m from Atlanta, so I grew up on Bass music. Artists like Kilo Ali, Raheem the Dream, Tela, DJ Kizzy Roc, Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz, Jermaine Dupri, etc. Everything wasn’t really lyrical driven in the Atlanta area, but it was all about the club music. It was lively and had it’s meanings in certain songs ( see: Kilo Ali – White Horse ), but I think what made it more receptive to other states was the fact that we have people from all over that come to Atlanta with dreams of making it. The scene coming up was like a pot of Gumbo. I learned a lot from California, Texas, New York, and Virginia!
24: What makes you Unique as a artist and different from other rappers out now?
Riez: Honestly, I think it’s my vulnerability, I’m not scared to point out my imperfections and fuck ups. People gotta realize I’m a normal person. Hell, six months ago i was working a regular nine to five before I gave it up for Hip-Hop. I love that I can speak about the riches and struggle at the same time because all I do is document my way up. A lot of times artists stray away from the realness that connects them to the fans. It’s cool to do one type of music, but don’t box yourself in. Some days I might hit the studio and wanna rap hard as fuck and then some days I hit the studio and wanna sing to my woman, it just be like that, but I’m grateful to be even able to do that. That’s where you get the difference between Rappers and Artists. There’s no longevity in rap, but there is life in Artistry. Every time you hear me, let me paint a picture so vivid you’ll feel as if you’re apart of it.
24: Tell us about what you are working on.
Riez: Right now, I’m working on my new project entitled “No Neighbors.” It’s basically documenting my life, my relationship with God, the spiritual struggle with the real world and pitfalls of the industry.. for me it’s something new because at 23, i’m learning what it means to really step out on faith and follow your dreams. At times it can be tough because there’s always something or somebody trying to steer you away from that but with this project, I REALLY touch on what THEY aren’t saying.
24: What producers have you worked with and who would you like to work with in the future?
Riez: I’m working with a lot of up and coming producers. Cardo, KB, The Legion, Slim C to name a few. I like to keep my sound different for everybody else’s so before I run to a top name producer and cash out 1200 for a beat, I’ll work with the person that has no name and we build like that, but as far as who I would like to work with in the future? The Neptunes, DJ Toomp, Boi 1da, Detail, T-Minus, Mike Will Made It and I need that Kanye production on my debut album. If we can make that happen, I’m Gucci two times.
24: Are you happy with the feedback you have been getting from people on material you have released?
Riez: Hell Yeah! I love every bit of it. The Last project I released was called “Pelicano 95” and it dropped last month, that was probably the biggest response I’ve ever gotten off a mixtape, it really didn’t have a concept behind it, but it showed my range on all type of production. Everything I’ve heard has been great, but you know Hate/Love, it’s all the same to me. The one thing that keeps me going is the fans though. I might see a tweet every now and then with my lyrics quoted “@ThaReal_Jamal I Hu$tle I Stunt I can have any B#tch I want – @thankyouriez” Jamal Kirkman ® 15 hours ago via Plume and that trips me out! Like really. To see somebody that passionate about something you wrote is enough motivation for me to keep doing what I’m doing, period.
24: In today’s free download age, what do you need that you don’t to make yourself a household name?
Riez: Honestly, it’s appeal. People pick up on good vibes and genuine personalities. It’s only so long fake thugs can pretend, so it’s rare you see something like that last if it’s fake. Another thing you need is the music. Music is all about emotion, because everything is emotionally driven. If I can make a song that makes you pick up the phone and call your ex or make you want to get a job and better your life, then my mission is complete. I provoked an action, and for every action there’s a reaction. Minus how many cars you bought and how many bottles you pop, at the end of the day, can you produce great music forever? No, then this ain’t the game for you, there’s a circus for that, but I just love how Hip-Hop is nowadays, cause even though everything is free, it gives the artist a direct connect to the fans, and from there you let them be the judge, no filter.
24: How do you feel about the current state of the Hip-Hop scene?
Riez: Hip-Hop is good. I feel like it’s our time to MASH, it’s time for the new generation to document our lives. We got artists like Kendrick Lamar, Drake, J.Cole leading the new school in a direct, but artistic fashion. I’m proud of how the OG’s are reaching down to work with the youngn’s.. for example, I tripped out when I learned that Lex Luger did production on Watch The Throne, like really think about that, Lex used to be around my hood cause he produced for Waka when they was coming up and to come from the bottom to be producing for your idols is the coldest and that’s what it’s all about, passing the torch to us and trusting us to carry it along in the right manner. The game is love right now.
Outside of the music, what else are you currently working on?
Riez: Outside of music, I have a position at Fli Pelican Clothing that I tend to when I’m not in the studio, which is usually all the time. A lot of people don’t know that I’m behind the scenes pulling a lot of strings on the business side of Fli Pelican, but I tend to keep that under wraps or at least try and separate the two. Somebody gave me a nickname last week and said I was the Kid Cudi of Atlanta, being that before he took off and became a star he was working at Bape, I feel like I’m in the same position, just soaking up all the knowledge and “know how” I can on the business side and having it translate to music. Nothing wrong with seeking new information while handling your career at the same time.
24: Where do you see yourself going in 2011 and how do you plan to separate yourself from the other artists out today to get the recognition you feel you deserve?
Riez: Honestly, I’m just going to keep doing me. One thing I learned in growth as a person and as an artist, you have to stick to what made you, YOU. I can remember a few years ago you wouldn’t EVER hear me singing on a song or even humming a note, now I’m all over the track with it. I won’t try and outshine the next artist, I won’t diss, belittle the next, I won’t even entertain nonsense, I’m just sincerely focused on the music. 24/7. By the time it’s all said and done I plan on closing out the year with a bang on this “No Neighbors” project, and starting a riezolution early 2012. (yes, riezolution) ..Tour Maybe, Deals? ..man the sky is the limit!
24: Now let’s talk about the clothing line. What made you decide to start the line?
Riez: Well, I met the founder Nino about 2/3 years ago in a parking lot at the mall. Crazy huh? By then the brand was already established, a growing southeastern brand and it was something i wanted to be apart of, especially when it came to bridging music with fashion. It just made sense and we been rockin’ every sense.
24: What is the meaning behind the name Fli Pelican?
Riez: The whole meaning behind the brand is “Finding Love Inside” which is the “Fli” in Fli Pelican, and the Pelican represents ‘Selflessness.’ It’s a brotherhood/bond we share with our fans because with us, it’s not just clothing, it’s a way of living. To be a Pelican is all about finding yourself and the love you have for yourself, and we all know the meaning of love is God. They can’t stop what God built.
24: What artists have rocked your line?
Riez: Ah man, some of everybody. Lil Wayne, Teyana Taylor, Wiz Khalifa, Yo Gotti, Boi 1Da, Kenny Burns, Waka Flocka, Wale, Big Sean, Verse Simmonds, etc.. and the list goes on.. it’s truly a blessing man.. that’s like my collab list right there before I even get into the game.
24: What separates Fli Pelican from all the other brands?
Riez: We use our hands, literally! I know everyone uses there hands to get work done, but I don’t think any other brand does it how we do to be on a scale that we’re on right now. I remember nights staying up late as hell making sure shirts are right before they go out.. inspecting every inch of the shirt, sewing tags, cutting tags, sowing garments, manicuring denim, styling videos shoots and 6am, running errands, meeting deadlines.. Its hard work! but through it all i wouldn’t have it any other way. A lot of people think we’re Hollywood cause we’re never seen, but if you worked as hard as we did on every.. single.. garment that comes in.. you’d be a homebody too lol
24: How can fans go about contacting you?
Riez: Fans can hit me directly at my twitter. Twitter.com/thankyouriez, that’s like my direct line, I’m always on even, if I’m not on, I’m there.
24: Thank you for providing 24hourhiphop.com with this exclusive interview, do you have any last words for your present and future fans?
Riez: First, I wanna thank God for even getting blessed with this interview from you guys, I appreciate you even reaching out, really means a lot. To my fans and to everyone in Atlanta that’s been waiting on a shift to happen, don’t worry.. stay patient.. I’m on the way. To everyone that’s been holding me down since day 1, I love you, won’t let you down for nothing, and for the newer fans of my music, I love you just as much, can’t wait to see you face to face when I’m in your city! #RIEZNATION Salute! I’m out. 1!