It’s a no-brainer that soulful crooner, Ricco Barrino, grew up in a musical milieu. However, it wouldn’t be until 2009 that he would pronounce himself as a freethinking and talented artist, under TI’s record label, Grand Hustle Records.
While under Grand Hustle, Barrino slaughtered the compositional charts with hit singles like “Go Head,” and “Futuristic Love.
Recently, Barrino featured on the track, “Colonel Loud- California,” with TI, and Young Dolph. The single is an exultant flowing song, and is considered to be a multi-seasonal favorite…
Barrino is currently an independent artist, which is the next big step for anyone worth their salt in the industry. Although Barrino is a solo artist, he is still sought after by other heavies in the business.
And because of this, we wanted to know how it made him feel to do his own music while still being able to work collaborations-- specifically "California.”
“It makes me smile,” he said. “It lets me know that my God-given talents didn’t go unnoticed. I lost my grandmother last April, around this time—it was the first of April. At that point-in-time, I didn’t know how I was gonna cope because she was my life.
My sister was glued to my mother and I was glued to my grandmother. My grandmother would tell people, “Boy, that’s my favorite…” When I lost her, it was so unexpected. I know, no one, prepares for death. I didn’t know what I was gonna do. I had to find that moment of how do you move on, and what does God have for you. I felt like God took my life when he took her… Even then, I was still suffering from a break-up and losing my grandmother,” he said.
“It almost felt like my grandmother left me and went to go and talk with God. That’s when everything happened. The funny part about it is, like we’re speaking now, and we’re moving another record. The name of the record is called “Vibe,” featuring me and Tigo B… Tigo is another bright up-and-coming artist that you gotta hear.
But, “California” was put out last March around my birthday. That’s when everything happened. It’s almost like she knocked on Gods door and said “Listen, I gotta grandson down there that’s phenomenal. I know you seen him. Can you sprinkle a little something on him? He’ll do the work. He’ll do the rest…” and you know... the rest has been history,” he said.
Barrino released his newest single as a solo artist, entitled “Vibe,” which premiered on airwaves, March 25, 2016 (https://soundcloud.com/ricco-barrino/vibe-ft-tigo-b).
Vibe” is a sexy and prevailing tune that combines contemporary with suggestiveness.
Though the ballads are sensual, the message has a gritty and soulful hook.
When asked about the lyrics, Barrino said, “Well, we got the buzz single and what we are plotting for is a new EP. I’m strategically planning things. I’m playing chess and not checkers.”
Barrino said that he went the route that Biggie did when he released a series of singles before dropping the entire album. So, he and his partner Tigo B., collaborated and created a couple singles, with “Vibe” being one, and “No Ratchet being the other. “No Ratchet” has an Earth, Wind & Fire sample… Barrino confirmed that when they went into the studio again to record the buzz single, “Vibe.” They knew that they didn’t need to do samples-- they could just present themselves.
We asked about the EP, “I just feel like it’s time,” he said. “The way for people to embrace me is to help other people; and through their music, they hear me—then I throw me out there. I got a single that we’re working on through Tony Neal and Court DJ that’s all mine called “Come to the Money.” So, right, now, I got my hands full. Those 3 records are a priority to me. The “No Ratchet,” “Colonel Loud” Featuring Ricco Barrino, the “Vibe” record with Ricco featuring Tigo B., and he’s gonna come behind and put out another record, and then you have, “Come to the Money,” which is my record.”
From our interview, I gathered that Barrino is a lucidly loyal person that values family, as well as a hardworking and devoted group of team members. Barrino also functions with absolute candor and thoughtfulness. When he talks about his upbringing, upsets, his ego, distresses and triumphs—one can only feel incredibly inspired and empowered by his story.
So, what have you been doing since we last spoke 4 years ago? I’m going through my moment of re-calibration and just really maturing. I’m embracing the fact that I can do music and then I can do music that’s me. It’s one thing to do music and you can make that for the next man. Then you’re able to separate it and say, “This is for me, this is what the audience is going to identify with, and this is what I’m willing to die for.”
Being able to go through those transitions as well as embrace my independence and have people come and want to proposition me. Now, I’m at a cooler state to where it’s just talking. That’s really what I’m doing, just embracing the change and the maturity, doing a lot of praying and figuring things out…moving things out that doesn’t need to be there like people. I think my tolerance level for negative energy has gone down. I’ll definitely remove myself. So, 4 years was a rebuilding process.
How difficult was if for you to keep Vibe original, and yet modernized at the same time? It’s really easy to me. If you already got the soul in you—I got this rugged tone and I know how to soften it up a bit, and I just mix that in with what’s new. Sometimes it’s all about the cadence. That’s what makes Future so special. It’s not really the words. It’s going back to the tribes of Africa. He knew how to tap into that and make a cadence that nobody is doing. Those things make it easy to produce a record. There was no pressure.
What made you cleanup the Vibe lyrics, but have it so sexy that we still get it in the end? I think it’s more so, being a gentleman. I think certain songs work in different atmospheres. I’m gonna go through my “Let’s go to the booty club and talk crazy.” I’m not pushing those songs your way. That’s on someone’s mix-tape. You will never hear that unless it’s by mistake,” he jokes.
I realize if I want to wear a suit and sit behind a piano, or if I want to be on someone’s wall, I have to clean it up just a bit. I have to give you something to where you’re going to keep me working. If I’m talking ratchet all the time, the songs are going to last 6 months and that’s it. I got 6 months to work this record and if I don’t work it that long, you just heard a little of it. But if I clean it up a bit and give you something that feels timeless. You’re going to always play it. You’re going to always watch me perform it.
Have you always directed and produced your own music? Even when I was making my own music, I was always producing. Me, and Tigo were having a conversation one day while we were on the phone, I said, “Don’t get it twisted. I’m creative, but you’re creative.” It’s funny and wonderful to see someone become their own composer because they know what they want… They know what they want, and I see myself in them. I’ve directed bands, and just where the beat needs to drop, we take it from scratch and I give them the beat—we go in with the melody. I give them everything. I’m basically the P Diddy of things. If I don’t physically touch it, I’m giving what’s inside of me. So, it comes easier because it comes from inside of you.
Do you feel like you’re stepping out of the spotlight, and out of your sister’s shadows?
I feel that I'm stepping out, but I still get them, “Hey, that’s Fantasias brother.” I made a joke on the radio, “I’m gonna do a mix-tape called Fantasias brother,” he laughed.
Again, fighting that whole stereotype of that’s just her brother—I don’t claim to be better than anyone, but some of the siblings out here don’t compare. They can hold a tune but do they really stand out? The only siblings I know that were dope was Mike and Janet; and Mike stood out because he could do more. In this sense, we both got chops and it helps now.
Now, I’m getting people on my team who see it. It’s deeper than all the money. Of course, we all gotta keep the lights on, but developing a strong team that says, “Look, we can get there together. Let’s get you where you need to be, so if I need you, and I’m holding a concert and I need you or you need me--I’m loyal. I’m going back. “Let’s get this concert…Yawl, worry about the rest. Thank you for helping me,” he said with modesty.
Is this a passion? Yeah, it’s a passion. Do you know how many days I didn’t know what was gonna happen… No money… Famous and no money? You persevere with an ignorant grind. You won’t walk into a tornado, will you? You aren’t going to walk into a hurricane or fire… You are not going to walk into those things unless you have to…. Well, that’s what makes your grind ignorant-- wanting it as much as you can breathe. I might get frustrated every day, but I can’t see myself doing anything else.
So, what can we expect from you in the next year or two? We’re doing records and films. I’m not afraid anymore. We’re doing documentaries because I figured it out about North Carolina artist. They are afraid to do what others artist are doing, or they are doing it backwards, or it’s slow. They wait until after a few months have gone by and then put something out. You have to do it immediately. As for documentaries, I gotta be in your face. I gotta embrace everything, all my flaws and imperfections and make it look like, “This Big Boy is Heaven,” and make It good for people who are big to be like, “Yo, he’s like Gerald Levert.”
Do you have to be marketable as a sex symbol to push your records? I feel that music and confidence will sell itself. I think the other things will come because I’m a very fashionable guy and I’m not afraid. I love suits. Eventually, I’m going to have a suit-line. I love fashion and art. Eventually, I’m going to do a furniture line. I love the art and elegance of well-put-together things.
You can follow Barrino as well as Tigo B, and stay up-to-date with their latest involvements at:
Instagram: Ricco Barrino - https://twitter.com/RICCOBARRINO
Twitter: Ricco Barrino - https://www.instagram.com/riccobarrino/
Instagram: Tigo B-https://www.instagram.com/tigobmusic/
Twitter: Tigo B- https://twitter.com/tigobmusic
Colonel Loud- California