RICKY BATS

 BRONX, NEW YORK  |  RICKY BATS 

BRONX, NEW YORK  |  RICKY BATS 

 INTERVIEW: KIM "GOODLOOK" SEABROOK

WITH THE AMOUNT OF BUZZ SURROUNDING HIS NAME, IT'S HARD TO BELIEVE RICK BATS IS ONLY FOUR YEARS DEEP IN HIP-HOP MUSIC. BUT HIS WORK ETHIC IS DIFFICULT TO OVERLOOK AND MUSIC SPEAKS VOLUMES. CO-SIGNED BY SOME OF THE REALIST IN HIP-HOP, RICKY BATS TELLS STORIES OF THE HARSH REALITIES OF STREET LIFE AS WELL THE RESPONSIBILITY OF FATHERHOOD AND FAMILY. KIM "GOODLOOK" SEABROOK SITS DOWN WITH THE GOTHAM CITY BOYS GENERAL TO TALK THE BRONX'S INFLUENCE, HIS ACTING DEBUT, NEW MUSIC AND MORE.

 

VALIDATED: YOU'RE FROM THE BRONX, RIGHT? EXPLAIN HOW THE BRONX INFLUENCED YOUR CAREER?

RICKY BATS: JUST THE WHOLE CULTURE, GROWING UP. YOU KNOW, BEING FROM THE STREETS, SEEING THE EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES. JUST SEEING WHATS GOING ON IN THE BRONX, ITS LIKE ITS A STORY IN ITSELF. SO I JUST LIVE THAT LIFE, YOU KNOW.

VALIDATED: SO YOUR MUSIC IS MAINLY ABOUT THE STREETS AND HOW YOU GREW UP?

RICKY BATS: YEAH, ITS ABOUT HARDSHIP. IT'S ABOUT, YOU KNOW, HOW I WAS BROUGHT UP IN THE STREETS, WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH AND WHAT STILL GOES ON IN MY LIFE AND THE PEOPLE AROUND ME.


VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR MUSIC HELPS OTHER PEOPLE?

RICKY BATS: BECAUSE ITS RELATABLE! THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT CAN'T ARTICULATE THEIR THOUGHTS AND THEIR FEELINGS THE WAY I COULD. SO THEY'LL USE ME AS A VEHICLE, YOU KNOW, WHEN THEY PLAY MY SONG IN THEIR VEHICLE TO GET IN THAT HAPPY SPACE.

VALIDATED: SO HAVING A DOPE TEAM IS SOMETHING THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU, RIGHT?

RICKY BATS: ABSOLUTELY!


VALIDATED: HAS IT BEEN DIFFICULT TO FIND PEOPLE THAT YOU CAN BUILD WITH AND BE SUCCESSFUL?

RICKY BATS: YOU KNOW WHAT IT IS... IT'S ALL ABOUT CHEMISTRY BUT YOU NEED THE PERSONNEL THAT CAN HANDLE THOSE JOBS AND THOSE TASKS. YOU JUST CAN'T HAVE A FRIEND IN A FREAKING POSITION HE DON'T KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING? IT HAS TO COME TO A POINT WHERE YOU PUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT PLACES.


VALIDATED: YOU KNOW EVERYBODY WANTS TO BE A PART OF THE TEAM. IS IT DIFFICULT TO SAY, "LISTEN FRIEND, I CAN'T HAVE YOU DOWN WITH THIS TEAM."?

RICKY BATS: YOU HAVE FRIENDS THAT ARE IN THE ENTOURAGE. YOU KNOW EVERY ARTIST HAS ENTOURAGE, WHETHER ITS A COUSIN, BROTHER, HOMIE OR WHATEVER. BUT THEN YOU HAVE PEOPLE THAT ARE YOUR PRODUCERS THAT ARE ALSO FRIENDS THAT ARE ON YOUR TEAM. YOU HAVE RAPPERS THAT ARE ALSO ON YOUR TEAM, THAT BRING SOME SORT OF VALUE. NOT TO SAY THAT THE ENTOURAGE IS NOT VALUED BECAUSE EVEN THE ENTOURAGE HELPS BUILD THE BRAND. EVERYBODY PLAYS A PART IN THE TEAM IN THE MOVEMENT BECAUSE IF YOU'RE DOWN WITH THE TEAM, HE'S DOWN WITH THE TEAM, AND YOU'RE DIFFERENT PLACES AND YOU'RE REPPING FOR YOUR TEAM, EVERYBODY'S REPPING THE TEAM, AT THE END OF THE DAY IT'S GOING TO COME TO THE CENTER, YOU KNOW. IT'S LIKE ALRIGHT, EVERYBODYS REPPING THE SAME SQUAD. THEN IT GETS BIGGER AND BIGGER AND BIGGER... AND THEY KNOW THE SQUAD.


VALIDATED: SO YOU'VE GOT A DOPE TEAM?

RICKY BATS: YEAH, YOU KNOW, WE DESTROY AND REBUILD, WE GO THROUGH THE HARDSHIPS AND THE TRIALS AND THE TRIBULATIONS OF BUILDING YOUR BRAND. IT'S JUST LIKE BUILDING ANY BUSINESS... A RESTAURANT, YOU GO THROUGH EMPLOYEES, YOU KNOW, THINGS LIKE THAT.


VALIDATED: SO HAS IT BEEN DIFFICULT OR EASY TO BUILT THAT TEAM BECAUSE IT CAN BE A TRUST ISSUE BEING IN THIS GAME?

RICKY BATS: YEAH, ITS A TRUST ISSUE AND THERE'S ALSO A WORK AND DEDICATION ISSUE. YOU'VE GOT TO FIND SOMEBODY AT LEAST AS DEDICATED. HOW ELSE AM I GOING TO GET PUSHED IF PEOPLE AROUND ME ARE NOT HUNGRY LIKE ME OR AS HUNGRY AS ME, TO HELP ME GET UP THERE TO THE NEXT LEVEL? IF I'M THE ONLY ONE THAT FEELS LIKE I'VE GOT TO WORK, WORK, WORK TO GET THERE TO HELP THE WHOLE TEAM COME UP IT'S GOING TO BE STRENUOUS BECAUSE ITS MORE WEIGHT FOR ME. NOW IF EVERYBODY HOLD THEIR OWN AND PLAY THEIR PART IT WILL BE LIGHT FOR ME TO CARRY THE REST OF THE SQUAD UP.


VALIDATED: YOU'VE DONE GREAT IN YOUR MUSIC CAREER. WHAT OTHER VENTURES ARE YOU WORKING ON RIGHT NOW?

RICKY BATS: I'VE DABBLED INTO SOME ACTING.


VALIDATED: YEAH, I HEARD ABOUT THAT. YOU DID SOMETHING WITH BEN STILLER?

RICKY BATS: YEAH, HE DIRECTED THIS BIOPIC FOR SHOWTIME. IT COMES OUT NOVEMBER 18TH ON SHOWTIME AT 10PM. HE DIRECTED THE STORY ABOUT TWO INMATES OUT IN CLINTON MAX THAT GOT INTO A LITTLE SEXUAL ACTIVITIES WITH A SEWING SHOP WORKER AND SHE BROUGHT SAWS IN THE BURGERS TO TRY TO HELP HIM ESCAPE. IT WAS A TRUE STORY. I PLAY AN INMATE IN THE SERIES, YOU'LL SEE ME A FEW TIMES. I DON'T SAY NOTHING BUT YOU'LL SEE ME BECAUSE I'M IN THE SCENE WITH BENICIO DEL TORO, RICHARD MATT IS IN IT AND ITS OTHER MAIN ACTORS. I'M IN A BLOOD GANG WITH ONE OF THE MAN ACTORS AND THAT'S THE HOMIE, SO WE ABOUT TO POP OFF IN THE RIOT SCENE. YOU KNOW, THERE'S A FEW SCENES, YOU'LL SEE ME.


VALIDATED: SO ARE YOU ENJOYING THE ACTING?

RICKY BATS: YEAH, IT'S KIND OF DOPE. LIKE I WAS SAYING TO SOMEBODY EARLIER, IT WAS JUST AMAZING THAT ONE DAY IT COULD BE LIKE A SUMMER SCENE AND THEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING AND ITS SNOW EVERYWHERE, IT LOOKS LIKE ITS WINTER. LIKE THE TRANSFORMATION, THEY JUST HAVE PEOPLE ON IT TWENTY FOUR HOURS. ITS DOPE.


VALIDATED: ARE YOU FILMING OUT HERE IN NEW YORK?

RICKY BATS: NO, WE'RE DONE FILMING, IT WAS LIKE THREE MONTHS OF SHOOTING. WE WERE IN BROOKLYN, WE WERE IN QUEENS, WE WERE IN PITTSBURGH AND UPSTATE NEW YORK IN CLINTON MAX FOR A FEW DAYS.


VALIDATED: SO BESIDES ACTING, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE? DO YOU DO ANYTHING BEHIND THE SCENES, PRODUCTION?

RICKY BATS: I JUST BUILT LIKE A STATE OF THE ART STUDIO IN MY CRIB. I'VE JUST BEEN RECORDING MYSELF AND LEARNING HOW TO MIX AND MASTER MY OWN VOCALS. YOU KNOW, JUST BASICALLY MASTERING THE CRAFT. I GOT A PROJECT ABOUT TO DROP, THE "SAY MY NAME" PROJECT. BASICALLY IT'S A SPIN OFF, I DID SWAY IN THE MORNING, WHERE AT THE END WHERE I WAS DONE RAPPING, SWAY WAS GOING CRAZY. HE WAS LIKE "YEAH, SAY HIS NAME! RICKY BATS! SAY HIS NAME!". THATS DOPE BECAUSE I GOT STAMPED BY ONE OF THE TOP IN HIP HOP, RESPECTED LEGEND IN HIP HOP. YOU KNOW WHAT IM SAYING, AND THE REACTION WAS PRICELESS. YOU CAN'T FIND ANOTHER VIDEO OUT THERE THAT SHOWS HIS REACTION FOR A FREESTYLE LIKE THAT. THAT MADE ME FEEL GOOD, LIKE YEAH I DID ALL THIS TIME, I'M UP HERE NOW, LIKE BOOM. THEN I GOT A DOPE PROJECT, I GOT DOPE MUSIC. I GOT JOINTS WITH MANIO, UNCLE MURDA, TONY SUNSHINE, I MEAN THE LIST GOES ON, MYSONNE. I GOT SOME DOPE RECORDS AND I GOT SOME RECORDS COMING OUT, "VISIONS OF A PROSPECT" IS AN ALBUM THAT'S COMING OUT AND THE "SAY YOUR NAME" PROJECT IS COMING OUT, ITS DOPE.


VALIDATED: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PROS AND CONS OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?

RICKY BATS: I WOULD SAY THE CONS WOULD BE YOU GOT TO PUT MONEY UP, LOSE MONEY, LOSE TIME... YOU LOSE FRIENDSHIPS, LOSE BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS. I THINK THOSE ARE THE CONS. THE PROS ARE MONEY, SUCCESS, LESSONS LEARNED BECAUSE YOU STILL LEARN LESSONS FROM THE CONS SO YOU KNOW HOW TO MOVE FORWARD. I'M JUST SAYING, LIKE THE PROS TO ME PERSONALLY, I THINK I WOULDN'T DO MUSIC IF I KNEW THEN WHAT I KNOW NOW. ALL THE STUFF THAT I HAD TO GO THROUGH, I ONLY BEEN DOING IT FOR FOUR YEARS THOUGH BECAUSE I CAME HOME FROM DOING A LONG TIME. I BASICALLY STARTED MY CAREER IN 2014, SO FOR FOUR YEARS I DID A LOT. I BEEN ON BET JAMS A FEW TIMES, YOU KNOW, I DID SOME WORK.


VALIDATED: HAVE YOU EVER FELT LIKE GIVING UP? IF SO, WHEN WAS THAT TIME AND WHAT MADE YOU STICK WITH IT?

RICKY BATS: I MEAN EVERY ARTIST AT SOME POINT AND TIME MAY HAVE THOSE THOUGHTS OF "I DON'T WANT TO GO NO MORE". LIKE I SAID, IT'S TOO MUCH TIME, TOO MUCH MONEY. PEOPLE DON'T HAVE MONEY TO DO THAT, TO INVEST IN THEMSELVES LIKE THAT. YOU KNOW, I WAS FORTUNATE IN A WAY THAT I CAN DO THAT BUT WITH ALL THE MONEY I PUT INTO MY CAREER I COULD’VE BEEN A MILLIONAIRE ALREADY BECAUSE I WOULD'VE FLIPPED IT IN A DIFFERENT WAY. NOT EVEN STREET, I’M TALKING STRICTLY BUSINESS BECAUSE THE MUSIC BUSINESS IS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF BUSINESS. YOU HAVE TO MAKE YOURSELF BE POPULAR SO THAT PEOPLE COULD LIKE YOU. YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT EVEN ABOUT THE MUSIC NO MORE BECAUSE I MAKE SOME DOPE MUSIC. I'M NOT JUST SAYING THAT, I MAKE DOPE MUSIC! WHAT'S POPULAR IN SOCIETY, YOU HAVE TO HAVE MONEY TO KEEP UP WITH THESE TYPE OF IMAGES THAT ARE GIVEN. I'M AT A POINT WHERE IT'S, I'M ALREADY ALL IN. I CAN'T TURN BACK NOW. BUT I'M SAYING THIS IN RETROSPECT, I'M THINKING BACK IN TIME, LIKE "NAH, I WOULDN'T DO THIS", I'D JUST KEEP IT AS A HOBBY. YOU KNOW, BUT THAT'S THE PROS AND CONS.


VALIDATED: GOTCHA, WHAT'S YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?

RICKY BATS: SUCCESS I THINK IS BEING HAPPY, JUST FEELING LIKE RELIEVED, LIKE "YEAH, I DID IT!". I THINK SUCCESS HAS TO DO WITH YOUR OWN PERSONAL GOALS. YOU KNOW, YOUR OWN HURDLES, GETTING OVER, THAT'S SUCCESS. SUCCESS CAN BE EACH MOMENT, IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE ONE TIME. IT CAN BE EACH MOMENT YOU ACHIEVE SOMETHING, THAT'S A SUCCESS, RIGHT? YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING, SO WHEN YOU'RE WORKING FOR SOMETHING TO GET SOMETHING, YOU'RE WORKING FOR A JOB AND YOU GET THAT, YOU SUCCEEDED. THAT'S A SUCCESS FOR YOU. SO IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE, YOU KNOW I THINK IN GENERAL, LIFE IS A SUCCESS BECAUSE WE'RE MAKING IT. YOU KNOW, EVERYDAY WE WAKING UP, WE'RE BREATHING, WE'RE SUCCEEDING.


VALIDATED: HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU'VE GROWN OVER THESE LAST FOUR YEARS?

RICKY BATS: I THINK AS AN ARTIST IT'S JUST LEARNING EXPERIENCES, ITS JUST GOING THROUGH STUFF. BEFORE I GOT LOCKED UP I JUST KNEW ABOUT STREET STUFF, ALL STREET STUFF... DRUGS. SO I DID ALL THAT TIME, CAME HOME IN 2014. MOST OF MY MATERIAL WAS ABOUT STREET STUFF, ALL OF THAT, THAT'S ALL I WAS WRITING ABOUT. THEN ONCE I GOT THE EXPERIENCE AND LIVING LIFE AND GOING THROUGH THE HARDSHIPS OF BEING HOME, YOU KNOW, THE HAPPINESS, THE SADNESS, I GOT MORE MATERIAL TO WRITE.

VALIDATED: SO WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE BRONX HIP-HOP SCENE NOW?

RICKY BATS: I LIKE IT, DOPE!


VALIDATED: ARE THERE ANY ARTIST FROM THE BRONX THAT YOU HAVEN'T WORKED WITH YET THAT YOU'D LIKE TO COLLABORATE WITH?

RICKY BATS: I'M ABOUT TO DO A JOINT WITH YO SAMMA, HE'S DOPE, PETE POWERZ, HE'S DOPE. YOU KNOW, THEY'VE GOT A FEW, HADDY RACKZ IS DOPE, I GOT A JOINT WITH DIRTI DIANA, SHE'S DOPE... THERE'S A FEW ARTIST.


VALIDATED: DO YOU THINK THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA HAS HELPED OR HURT INDEPENDENT ARTIST?

RICKY BATS: HELPED, IT'S EASIER FOR US TO GET OUR STUFF OUT THERE. IT'S EASY FOR US TO JUST THROW A POST OUT THERE. ALL YOU GOT TO DO IS PUT IT OUT THERE AND IF IT'S SOMETHING DOPE IT'LL CATCH FIRE.

VALIDATED: ANY CLOSING OR ASPIRING WORDS FOR OTHER PEOPLE THAT WANT TO BE IN YOUR SITUATION?

RICKY BATS: JUST STAY GRINDING AND STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF.

Troy Hendrickson