Raw Talent Speaks For Itself?

by Anijah Boyd

Three other artists take the stage before there is a noticeable change in the atmosphere. No one could tell you exactly what music they had listened to right before that moment. The stage presence of the other performers didn’t seem to stand out as much. Before the crowd could pinpoint where this new energy was coming from, an unfamiliar voice addressed the audience.

“Everyone gather around. I’m not about to be rapping to air.” this voice insisted.

Everyone sat in small groups of new friends. They laughed, exchanged Twitter information, and shared background stories all through the other performances. This lasted a good while until Rickie B. took the stage. Bodies shifted all in the same direction to face where this voice had come from. When you hear truth being spoken, you are always forced to listen. Perhaps the most memorable song of that day was Don’t Talk It Then because after it was performed, the audience constantly screamed snippets of the hook for hours on end.

The cover of Rickie B.’s latest mixtape #RealTalk.

Who would’ve thought that in a town as small and Rock n’ Roll dominated as Reno, NV you would find such talent in an industry that is close to nonexistent here. Hip-hop started as block parties in the Bronx, NYC as a way for Blacks to escape what was their devastating reality. It grew to be more than anyone could have ever imagined and developed 4 basic elements: rapping, DJing, break-dancing, and graffiti art. Rickie B. found his niche market.

Coincidentally, the crowd’s favorite performance was saved for last that afternoon. Once the event ended, Rickie B. ended up migrating to where his supporters were. Together they stood, enjoying the weather. Everyone in the now group of eleven conversed and congratulated Rickie B. on his show. When he began to speak in a less rhythmic pattern, you could hear confidence in his voice. Rickie B. genuinely thanked all, one by one, and from then on, much more of his talent and personality surfaced in the most random times.

Raised in North Las Vegas and born in Southern California, 22 year old rapper born Rickie Darnell Bailey II, known to all as Rickie B., decided to become serious about his craft one day after a lunch freestyle at the age of 17. In that moment, he realized his freestyle was better than anything he had heard on the radio. We can also give thanks to Wale’s More About Nothing mixtape and Jay-Z’s The Black Album for inspiring Rickie B. to become as serious about rap as he is now.

Like the many dedicated followers of hip-hop culture before him, Rickie B. fell in love with the artistry. There is no other love like the love “Hip-hop Heads” have for Hip-hop.

“It also became a love too. Just a built in passion.” he said with a lighthearted smile on his face.

Luckily for us, rapping is only one piece of the Hip-hop culture that he has decided to dive into. On top of being lyrically skilled, Rickie B. also sings, produces, and engineers. You can find these talents exercised in all of his music. The most important talent that he possesses is the ability to write his own lyrics. These days, not too many artists write their verses in the world of mainstream rap.

Rickie B. has faced the challenge of finding support in a city that does not have a dominant Hip-hop culture and is low in minorities. Coming from a diverse city like Las Vegas where it seems that almost everyone is aspiring to take part in the Hip-hop industry, it has been difficult for him to find that base of support he will need to succeed. Somehow, he has found it and made the most of it. Raw talent speaks for itself.

“I just flow. The flow is smooth.” he says.
Rickie B. freestyling on Elevate Radio last October.

Rickie B. describes his style as smooth and lyrical.

“When I rap, it’s like an added element or instrument to the music. I kinda complement the beat in a sense.” Rickie B. says emphasizing “complement.”

And together they work to create a idiosyncratic sound.

Later in his already bright career, Rickie B. sees himself digging more into the R&B side of his music by working with artists like Usher, Beyoncé, and Chris Brown. What does the future hold for Rickie B. you might ask? He can only go up from here.