Catching up with Chicago artist Ridgio

Editor's note: Chicago artist Ridgio has just dropped a new project entitled, “We Made It,” on July 16, 2020; this interview was conducted before the release date so it will be spoken of as if the release had not yet occurred.

Chicago rapper Ridgio has a long established career. From his 2016 release, Awaken, to his most recent album drop, Twenty V Winters, the 25-year-old has always brought an unmatched energy and raw talent with the music that he is able to create and share into the world. 

As COVID-19 restrictions let up and the world slowly started to open up, Ridgio was able to sit down with us here at Dark Matter for his first interview of 2020 and discuss the release of his album, Twenty V Winters, as well as a new project he holds close to him called, “We Made It,” and speak about creating in times of COVID-19. 

Carly: At the beginning  of the year you dropped a project on all platforms called, Twenty-V Winters, how would you describe that project? 

Ridgio: Well, it was really just an explanation of my relationships with the people in my life and me kind of expressing it in album form. But also, when I was expressing my relationships with these specific people, I wanted to give a rundown of my life from when I was little up to this point. 

C: Are those relationships what resonates most with you on this project?

R: I think what resonates the most is that every year I try to drop a yearly checkup. So being 25, and listening to so many different projects up until that point, I wanted to do something more meaningful, more in tune, more heartfelt. 

C: I know there's a lot of songs on it so this might be hard, but if you had to pick one off of the entire project to define you most, which song would it be?

R: I think “Have You Ever.” I talk about my momma and my daddy and how pieces of them explain me so that song can give you a nice summary of everything.

C: Is that a song you would recommend first? How do you want people to hear the project? In order, jumping round? 

R: I want them to listen to it beginning to end because it tells a story. I hope that people from song number one to song 25 would just listen to it, but me personally, when I express what song I want people to listen to, I try to gauge what I think their musical taste would be, but if i want you to just listen to the entire project, I just say, “hey, listen to this whole thing” because it is cohesive. We’re in an age right now where people just put a bunch of songs together and just label it and that's not what [my music] is. 

C: Do you usually tell a story, or do you ever just release a collection of music? 

R: I think the last time I did that has been so long. I think it was when I released 22 winters, when I was 22-- ever since then, I wanted everything to be cohesive. It all has a meaning now. 

Photo by Carly Young

C: Twenty V  Winters dropped right before quarantine happened so would you say that it allowed your reach to be expanded more, or would you say that you were hindered?

R: It hindered it; I had a lot of plans and a lot of those plans involved me being out and about. One of those plans was a music video I was supposed to shoot, which still has not been worked on. Quarantine really put a pause on Twenty V Winters. It’s unfortunate.

C: As a creator how’ve you been coping with the pandemic and quarantine? 

R: To be honest, I do a few things. For one thing, I keep my faith in god strong. That's been my driving force for me in general. If I didn’t have that, my mind would be in a million different places. Another thing outside of music,  I’ve been playing a lot of video games, and it’s been just like a getaway. It’s a nice world to leap off into. But also doing a new project in the midst of quarantine has also helped me cope as well because I feel like I’m doing something indirectly that can possibly help out. When this project comes out, maybe somebody can flick it on, and now, they’re overly motivated or can get out of the bed. 

C: With the world opening back up, have you made any plans surrounding what you want to do? 

R: Yeah! I wanted to get visual representation for stuff on the album because I know that’s the biggest eye catcher. I’m ready to do some music videos

C: You’re a very family-oriented person, would you say that’s gonna bleed out into the visual representations a little bit? 

R: Maybe! I haven't even thought about that. I love my family, I love my friends, I’m really close with [them]. But, when it comes down to me thinking about music videos, my people will say, “You should put your little brother in it,” and I’m like, "True, I should do that!’ So yes, that’s a thought. 

Photo by Carly Young

C: What are your plans on releasing it? 

R: As far as release, since it's an interactive project,  I want people to give input on which songs they want to be on the project, so, I’m doing a livestream and after, they're choosing which songs will go. After that, whichever ones were rated best, I’ll be using. 

C: A lot of people don’t do that. So, that’s really cool. 

R: I’m glad to do something that I’ve never seen before.

C: What do you hope to come out of the rest of this year? Are you hoping to hit the ground running?

R: To be honest, I was just trying to implement more creative promotional strategies. Since my music is so specific, I really wanna spend the rest of this year thinking about what I can do personally to get a better reach. So, for the rest of the year I’m hopeful to create more game plans and widen the scope. Then… I gotta start on my next one cause I gotta do 26 Winters.

C: Let’s talk about your upcoming project. Starting with the title, “We Made It.” Can you expand on where the name comes from? 

R: It’s called "We Made It" because we made the project together. From start to finish, me and all of my supporters made the whole thing. From the concept, to production, to who’s on it… It was also supposed to tie in quarantine, but we didn’t really get out of quarantine fully, but maybe in the future it will! 

C: In your new project do you reflect on what’s going on in the world right now? 

R: I have a song that directly references the time that we’re going through. It’s called "Free." It is what it is. It’s exactly what's happening right now… You can’t avoid it, you feel me? 

C: Is there anything else you’d like to mention about the project or yourself as an artist? 

R: I guess my main thing as me as an artist is just trying to tell the truth about what’s going on in everyday life but also, be uplifting and put a greater focus on god. I think that’s one thing in music that has been pushed to the side/ignored. No matter what you hear from me, the overall conclusion is living truth and honesty and living faith in god. 

Ridigo’s new project “We Made It”  is out now can be found on all streaming platforms!

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