‘I Just Went In No-Holds-Barred’ – Rittz Reveals Personal Stories Behind ‘The Life And Times Of Jonny Valiant’ [EXCLUSIVE]
The explosive voice-mail message, just short of two minutes, includes Rittz firing off every expletive known to man and some fans may be surprised to know that it’s 100% real.
With his debut album reaching the masses, we spoke with Rittz to discuss the origins of “My Clothes” and dug a little deeper into The Life And Times Of Jonny Valiant as Rittz laid out some of his beefs with interviews and the personal experiences that inspired his writing.
Is “My Interview” based on an actual interview experience?
It’s loosely based. I literally did an interview one day when I was writing this album and as soon as I hung up, I wrote that song. It was just perfect.
It’s just a bio song – all about me, in interview form. It’s also getting out all those questions that annoy me. I HATE the question “Who is Rittz?” or “Tell me, who is Rittz?” That’s how I started the song. I think that’s the worst question you can ask anybody – “Tell me, who are you?” Well, I’m me mutherfucker. Why don’t you think of another way to word it? I don’t know man, I really love that song a lot though.
Take me into your world for a second. What is it like to do interviews all day? Is it really as bad as people make it out to be?
I hope that it doesn’t make people interviewing me uncomfortable. At the end of the day, it’s always good if anybody is asking you anything. It gets monotonous answering the same questions constantly. When you finally do get someone asking some personal things or something intriguing, it’s such a relief from the regular shit.
I think it goes with your career. When you first start out, everybody gets the basic questions. You get those basic questions for like a year or year and half, “How did you come up?” “How did this happen?” Then with time, people become more interested with you as a person and start to figure it out more.
But yeah, it gets a little monotonous.
Did you ever fear that some of the topics on the album were too personal?
Not really man. Maybe – I have an interlude called “My Clothes” that’s like an angry message to my girlfriend. I was on the road and she had just been pushing my buttons and pushing my buttons for weeks and finally I just snapped. That one was a little personal, but it comes right after a love song about missing her while I’m out on the road so it kind of equals out so the song wasn’t too soft for me to put out (laughs).
I think that’s the best shit – the personal shit. That’s what people want to hear. I’m sure I’ll get some flack on the other end of the stick at home, with my girl or family, they’ll probably get pissed off about it, but I think you have to just write. You know with the deadline, I went in just no holds barred. Whatever came to my head, I just wrote it.
So the voice-mail is real?
Yeah, the voice-mail was super real. That was after I calmed down. I had another that I was going to use, but that one I was like, nah, it’s a little too fucked up. I was on the road for the Slumerican Tour and my girl kept pressing me and pressing me about some girl that gave me her phone number and it had some drugs stapled to the number. On Facebook the next day, the girl wrote, “Call my number, you had the right number.” I never called this fucking girl. Meanwhile, my girl kept going on and on about it. Finally that night I snapped and got fucking pissed.
She actually saved the voice-mail. When I finally got home from the tour we sat back and laughed about it. I think I caught her in a good mood and I was like, “Hey, can I use this for the album?” She was just like, “Yeah.” Then a week before the album was getting ready to be sent in she was like, “Are you going to really use that?” I was like, “Shit, it’s too late now, I’m fucking using it.”
The first time I heard it I was a little taken by it.
Yeah, that’s a little much (laughs).
I’m glad you mentioned catching flack about it because Tech N9ne always speaks on the consequences that come with being too personal with music and how he always has to deal with it at home.
Exactly. I’ll tell you what’s funny with me. I mentioned some parts where my parents were split up on the record – in the song “Wastin Time” with Big K.R.I.T. That shit happened a long time ago, so my family is good now and it’s something we just don’t talk about.
The ironic situation of that was that I briefly talked about it on the record and it had a sample in it that we had to go back and re-play. So, I had to get my dad to come back into the studio to re-play it. While he’s in the studio playing it, of course those fucking lines are playing over and over again. It’s just like damn, that’s what I get for writing that shit. He took it in stride though, he didn’t say nothin’ about it. Some of those things though, you do get a little bit of flack from the other side of things, but as long as you’re being tasteful about it and not disrespectful, you should be alright.
The album is out. What are you hoping for?
I just hope that they think it’s a classic album and that they like it. I hope there’s songs that they can ride around to and get goosebumps – that’s what I like. I hope they’re touched by some of the records. “The Intro” comes in and it’s just so real. “Wastin Time” is so real and “Amen” is so real. There’s just some touching songs on there. I just hope its classic music where everyone can feel what I’m putting out. I hope they’re not disappointed, but I don’t think they will be.
As far as compliments from what people like to hear from me, I think I got it on this album.
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What was your reaction the first time you heard “My Clothes”?