Ricky Hil (@rickyhil) may be the son of famous fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger, but he’s worked his ass off to overcome a lot of adversity and make a name for himself in hip-hop. The rising rapper has been in music since he was 13 and recently inked a deal with Warner Bros. I (@realwilliehitchcock) recently had the chance to sit down, talk, and hear his first album (Support Your Local Drug Dealer) before its release, February 5th. We talked growing up in the public eye, making music, and of course, tattoos. It’s not everyday you get to sit down with someone who is so genuine and honest. In a market saturated with rappers who say absolutely nothing, Hil tries to let his fans in on his thoughts and emotions with SYLDD. Also, Ricky has a few surprises that include features from The Weeknd and Leona Lewis.
INKED MAG: I see you started making music when you were 13. What was it in music/performance that moved you and made you want to try?
RH: In the very beginning, I was actually really nervous to admit that I wanted to be a front man like a rapper and/or singer.
INKED MAG: Why do you think you were nervous/embarrassed?
RH: Not sure. I just didn’t have that confidence as a kid. I think a lot of people want to be a front man when they’re a kid, most just won’t admit it. So to overcome the feeling of being embarrassed, I started throwing instrumentals on turntables and rapped other people’s shit. Then I started writing my own raps and spitting those. It helped me get different deliveries down and practice everything involved with performing.
INKED MAG: Who were some people you looked at in the beginning of your music career that you wanted to imitate?
RH: Beanie Seigel. Fat, ugly, high all the time … he’s just always comfortable. He’s been an idol of mine for a long time. And as far as people who have already died, I really like people like Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan.
INKED MAG: What are some of the first lyrics you remember memorizing?
RH: Rolling Stones. I grew up on all their shit. So like, “Sympathy for the Devil,” “Jumping Jack Flash” & “Beast of Burden.” When they come on, I’ve always known the words automatically.
INKED MAG: How much influence do you think the Stones have had in your music?
RH: A lot. I love them. They were just always the turnt-up white motherfuckers and I liked that.
INKED MAG: Can you discuss a bit of the dynamic/experience of growing up in a family that’s in the public eye?
RH: I guess when I was 13 or so, I thought a perfect world was where no one knew who I was. Kids I used to go to school with would give me a hard time because of who my dad was and it wasn’t the easiest thing to deal with as a kid. People think you have everything and that gives them a pass to attack you. Whatever though, I learned I can only control me. My two sisters are heavy in fashion and very good at it. We have always been real cool and there has never been much competition between us. I’m extremely proud of my family and the accomplishments they’ve been able to achieve. My parents have always supported our decisions and given us their advice.
INKED MAG: What does the “last played” playlist look like in iTunes?
RH: A lot of Black Flag. Been studying them a lot lately. As for new people, I like Fat Trel and Chief Keef. Bang. Bang. I listen to that shit all day (laughs).
INKED MAG: How does your writing process generally work?
RH: I usually hear the music first and write what I hear to that. Then it’s all over the place from there. You have to be open and try things to get the best product. I feel like a lot of times the first time I say something, it’ll have the most emotion. So, I spit that and write from there.
INKED MAG: What are your upcoming plans for this year?
RH: Hopefully going on tour (“Support Your Local Drug Dealer”) and getting as much music done as possible bro.
INKED MAG: What advice do you have for other artists, both established and aspiring?
RH: If you like what you’re doing, don’t change your mind. Next thing you know, someone is gonna blow up and you’re going to be like ‘fuck, that could’ve been me.’ So many people are involved in this and it can be easy to get distracted, frustrated, whatever, just don’t let the bullshit get in your way.
INKED MAG: What was your first tattoo and how old were you?
RH: 19. I got this little thing right here. “Limos.”
INKED MAG: 19! You got a lot of ink in 3 years! So, what’s your favorite tattoo and who did it?
RH: I like the one of my mom’s name. Cartoon did it. But I like it because she doesn’t care. My sisters are always coming up asking where their names are at, but my mom is like whatever. Love that lady.
INKED MAG: Who are a few tattoo artists you’d like to work with?
RH: Chuey Quintanar from LA. He just did the top of Travis Barkers head and it’s sick. I also want to fuck with Baby Ray. I have a tat from Jack Rudy, but I want more. He did this “Pricks” on my head; it was a band I was in. I also want to get something from Tim Hendricks.
INKED MAG: What do you like to do outside of music?
RH: I’m regular bro. I like to chill with girls, play Call of Duty … I’m honestly doing music like crazy most of the time though. I just feel like that’s how it’s supposed to be.
INKED MAG: I ask everyone this question: Who do you think is the best entertainer of all time?
RH: Probably the terrorists of the world. If you think about it, think about how heavily watched these people are, that would be my answer right now. Villains are entertaining. I’m not saying they’re right, I’m saying they get your attention.
Check out Ricky Hil's Official Website and download SYLDD: http://rickyhil.com