Richie Evans Defines Rapping Alongside Rick Ross As A ‘Humble Challenge’
PHOENIX — It’s all coming together for Phoenix, Arizona’s, Richie Evans. He recently released his first LP “Highly Favored” under his own imprint, “The Evans Administration,” his independent music label. The LP proceeds his first studio album that will be dropping this summer. On “Highly Favored,” Evans also proves that he can verbally spar with hip-hop heavyweights like Rick Ross and Jay Rock. The CEO/rapper hopes to be the voice of Phoenix, Arizona, which is not a predominantly represented hip hop area. A task that Evans has been preparing for since shadowing multi-platinum rap star, The Game. “Highly Favored,” is the appetizer to Evans highly anticipated debut full-length album that will drop this summer. Evans is out to prove that the Suns aren’t the only thing hot in Phoenix.
Evans explains to Zenger New his plans to use his music to facilitate other business ventures.
Zenger: Tell us about the “Highly Favored” album.
Evans: With everything going on right now, I think I was able to put a great body of work together that a lot of people could grab some gems from. I think it flows front to back and just a good overall wholesome project. I’m pleased with the outcome and the response that I’m getting from it.
Zenger: I’m a fan of Jay Rock, a fan of Vedo, and of course Rick Ross. Those are some dope features on the album, what made you reach out to those guys in particular for those features?
Evans: Outside of being a fan of those particular artists, I think me, Jay Rock, and Vedo come from that same type of cloth. Jay Rock won a Grammy, he’s platinum, he’s on the up and up. I think Vedo just went platinum on his record called, “You Got It.” Once you get a bunch of young individuals like us who are focused and really love the craft, beautiful music comes out of that. I think that’s exactly what we did, we created great music.
Zenger: This was your first project under your own banner, “The Evans Administration,” so I’m sure this project is very near and dear to your heart.
Evans: What’s crazy is, a lot of people don’t understand how important that is to me. When I started out on this journey, I had a lot of doubters like, “You’re going to do what? You’re trying to put a project out on your own imprint?” To see it come to fruition and get the response and love has been a big deal. It was a lot of sacrifice, a lot of late nights, lonely nights, and frustration, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I think it shows that TEA “The Evans Administration” is a very solidified independent company on the way up.
Zenger: From the outside looking in, there seems to be a ton of pressure on you because from a hip-hop standpoint, you have Phoenix, Arizona on your back. Is it pressure, fuel, or both?
Evans: Truthfully, it’s pressure but it’s not pressure. What I mean by that is, certain people are prepared and look for that challenge. Before I set out on my journey, I understood all the battles and uphill climbs that were going to come my way. There were things I knew I would have to be responsible for. There are a few artists from the city that are definitely holding it on their back for the moment, but it is definitely something that I am prepared to do. I think I am a great representation of not just myself but the city that I’m from.
Zenger: Not saying having the backing of the Phoenix Suns who cosigned you alleviates the pressure, but I’m sure it helps the journey being embraced by your own.
Evans: For sure! Those are some of the small wins that keep an artist motivated. Just to see the people come out and embrace the music while I was creating it, coming out and packing my shows, and supporting these release parties just shows that the city has bought into what I’m doing. It’s a big deal, man.
Zenger: You have an incredible work ethic. Where did that come from?
Evans: I appreciate it. Early on in my career I had the opportunity to sit behind the biggest artist at the time, The Game. I’ve seen how hard he worked for his respect and credibility in music. I garnished that from him. But also, all the other things around, coming from Phoenix and it not being known on the national platform. That’s definitely motivation just to keep working to overachieve. Definitely a lot of things that keep me motivated and focused in general.
Zenger: It appears your ambition goes beyond music. It’s like music will get your foot in the door and other business ventures will kick it down. Is this an accurate assessment?
Evans: That’s a thousand percent accurate statement. The music is the foundation and the bridge for me to not just get other opportunities but for me to also create other opportunities. Building an independent record label, I’m going to get it where it needs to be, to be able to come back to the city and find the next talent. Give them the opportunity to be seen on a worldwide level. But even through that particular process, music gives me an outlet to build a bridge with other businesses and other outlets to try to do things. We eventually will start speaking on the restaurants, land, and stuff like that that we are building out here as well. We definitely have a bigger plan than just music, so we are really focused.
Zenger: If you were nervous to be rapping alongside a hip-hop giant, you hid it well on “Can’t Knock the Hustle,” featuring Rick Ross. Was that your “Wow,” moment?
Evans: That wasn’t a moment of nervousness for me. That was a moment of truth. I think an artist waits their whole life and whole career for moments like that to be able to step up to the plate and be able to show how you’re built. It was a humble challenge. What I mean by that is, I wanted the world to be like, “Yo, this kid is going bar for bar with one of the fifty top rappers out.” They named him in that Top 50 realm. You got an unknown kid coming from Phoenix swapping bars with Rozay and not skipping a beat. That was definitely a big motivation and a big push.
Zenger: When you’ve been around Rick Ross and been around The Game, and you picked these guys brain, was there anything about being in the space with them that changed your outlook on them?
Evans: From a personable standpoint, Game is always known for dropping great music, but there’s always a little bit of tabloid and craziness throughout his career. You always hear about him being a bad person, but when you really get a chance to sit down and know him outside of music, he’s a solid dude. He loves and cares about his family, he’s such a dope father to his kids, and he’s such a protector and provider for the ones that’s around him. That really shows who he is as a person. As far as Rozay, being around Rozay shows you that things are attainable and achievable from a corporate and professional standpoint. Talking with Ross and having that type of energy and respect, he puts you into a space to motivate you to let you know that, if this is something you want to do, the world is there for you to get. You gotta go get it, have some character about yourself and stand on solid business.
Zenger: Brand new year, brand new album, what are the goals for this year?
Evans: The first thing was the album. I wanted to drop this early in the year. I think early on in the new year is a window of opportunity for artists that are new to really go out there, plant their feet, and get a lot of recognition if you can connect with the people. It definitely was a plan. Right now, it’s showing that people are in tune with the EP, and to what I got going on. It also gives me time to go right back into the studio and finish putting the pieces together for my debut album that’s going to drop in that August and September range. I’m trying to keep full steam ahead and keep my foot on the gas and continue this momentum for the spot that I’m in.
Zenger: You provided six blazing tracks for the EP. What can we expect on the LP later this year?
Evans: It’s going to be a 12 track LP, the official album. I’m not going to get into the features too much, but it will be a collective with some of the elites in the industry. I think the EP is setting me up for great things and I think it’s really shocking people. It’s a great body of work. It flows all the way through. I’m hanging with Ross and Jay Rock and it’s a highlighter. Through that time and leading up to the album, I’m going to give them a full course meal in the summer for the debut album.
Edited by Joseph Hammond