Photo Credit: Kill C-Rey
San Diego transplant and emcee extraordinaire, Ric Scales, is just “trying to have fun and say somethin’ at the same time.” If you don’t know about one of BattleBot’s winningest wordsmiths, then you are in for a treat. Ric Scales is one of San Diego’s most promising up and coming emcees, though his humor, humility and hunger keep Scales down to earth. Perhaps another factor keeping the artist grounded is his desire to balance fatherhood, art and livelihood. The FRESHstate representative is fresh off a tough, yet purposeful, loss at Team Back Pack’s MUNY 2016, and it is with the resulting new perspective that Ric Scales joins SDLovesHipHop for #WestCoastWednesdays. Enjoy.
SDLHH: Who is Ric Scales?
Ric Scales: A Father, an emcee, a everyday average dude, and member of TheFRESHstate
SDLHH: How has hip hop changed your life? Can you tell a story that really displays how/when that change took place?
Ric Scales: Hip Hop IS my life. All my friends are artists. I go to the studio or shows in my spare time. It started for me in High school. I saw some kats rhyming during lunch break and decided that’s what I wanted to do. That summer, I had moved in with my Pops and just stayed in my room freestyling till I wasn’t wack. First day of school, I jumped in a cypher and it’s been that for me ever since.
SDLHH: I am going to take a chance and get a little personal. There have been a few of your posts on social media that would allude to the fact that life is difficult right now for Ric Scales. If you don’t mind, what are some of the things that have led to your frustrations/difficulties?
Ric Scales: Life is difficult for everyone right now. To say 2016 has been an odd year would be an understatement. Energy is a real thing. Between the racial tensions in this country, the losses, the election, the shit in North Dakota, I feel there’s been a very real negative shift in the overall energy in the world. My personal issues are but a drop in the bucket. But, to be transparent, lately I’ve been struggling to maintain balance between being a Dad, an artist, and a regular human being. Sometimes it’s hard to excel in all areas.
SDLHH: I only ask because I want to know how hip hop, in a very real way, helps you to get through difficult times in life. Can you tell a story of when one of the things you described above happened, and about how hip hop, be it recording, a friend/collaborator/mentor, writing, etc., helped you do deal with that hardship?
Ric Scales: The answer to that question is inside the music. A majority of my music is a direct reflection of specific points in my life. That’s how I release my emotions, be it positive or otherwise. I do it that way in hopes that people will hear and relate to my situations and find some me solace in it the way I do when creating.
SDLHH: I saw you rock a complete set with 18sense opening up for Johaz of Dag Savage at Boar Cross’n not too long ago; I absolutely LOVED it, and it exceeded my expectation (which was already super high!). You mentioned that the songs you performed are part of a forthcoming project; can you tell us about 2 things? 1. How did you and 18sense cross paths and begin building together?
Ric Scales: Dope! I’m glad you enjoyed it. That was a dope night in general. 18Sense and I have been good friends for a good while now. Most of my production comes from either him or his brother Spliffdini. We met him at City 2 City in Vista, CA a few years back. There was a mutual respect and we’ve played with the idea of doing a collaborative album for a few years. Finally, a few months ago we just sat down and started creating. Everything was natural, the vibe was right so we just kept meeting up and building. 2 months later we have over an hour’s worth of music.
And 2. Can you tell us about this project?
Ric Scales: It’s different from most everything I’ve ever done. From content, to arrangement. There’s live instrumentation, we’re sampling our own voices, we’re having fun. It’s not just another “Hey look at me I rap better than you” album. We focused heavy on vibes, making everything fluid. The feels are heavy with this one in my opinion. Hopefully it translates to the listeners.
SDLHH: During that show you said, “I’m just trying to have fun and say somethin’ at the same time.” Can you expand on that idea a little bit?
Ric Scales: Yes, yes. I’ve always been about putting a message out. Even when dropping more aggressive, braggadocious rhymes I attempt to drop some level of knowledge as well. Things to reflect on. Same time, I’m not a super serious dude. I want people to enjoy themselves when they come to see me rock. So we’ve been approaching our music from that angle. We want people dancing in the crowd and that doesn’t mean the content has to suffer. Right now I’m trying to prove that.
SDLHH: You participated in a Team Backpack event in New York this summer. Can you tell us a little about your experience there?
Ric Scales: Yessir, the MUNY 2016 was just an audition. TBP went through thousands of online auditions and selected 600 emcees to come out to Brooklyn and compete. I just so happened to be one of them. From the 600, they picked 12, and from those 12 there was a top 2 or some shit. Unfortunately, I didn’t make top 12, but it was a fruitful trip nevertheless. I met a lot of good spirited, talented individuals out there. I was a bit disappointed in their process, but it is what it is.
SDLHH: What is the major take away you walked away with?
Ric Scales: Winning doesn’t mean shit. It doesn’t change who you are, or what you’ve accomplished. I came home defeated, only to return to overwhelming amounts of love from heads that were just happy to see somebody from around here trying to make waves. Nobody gave a shit that I didn’t win except for me. That was big for me. What matters is what you take from the situation, the more positive results are never immediate.
SDLHH: Based on that experience, what is your advice to other artists currently looking to make a name for themselves in San Diego and beyond?
Ric Scales: Dont stay in one place. Get yourself involved in the scene out here, then go put on. A Lot of heads seem to either want to run SD or run away from it. I feel that if you sincerely give love and support, you’ll get it right back. Everyone needs a home base. What better home base than home?
SDLHH: One emphasis of SDLHH is to see a heightened level of unity in the San Diego Hip Hop community. Can you point to some other artists who you see as comrades and who you also see as helping to progress the scene?
In no particular order
Will Spliff (Spliffdini)
Kaus & Emphasize
Parker & the Numberman (1019)
Real J Wallace
The whole NOSUCKERDJS camp
DJ Bar 1ne
JTREEL (Daygo Produce)
I could go on forever with this shit haha
SDLHH: Finally, where should readers go to connect with you?
Peace, Love & Hip Hop,
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