Censorship dulls the art. T-Wayne, also known as Rickey Wayne, will attest. Dropping a video every week could be a tax if your tongue refuses to say the truths walking in your head. As the Houston rapper spoke about in his sit down with RESPECT., comfort came when he assigned less value to other’s opinions and standards, instead subscribing to his own creative path and intuition.
Most known for his “Nasty Freestyle,” embedded below, T-Wayne’s remained mostly silent recently, likely because of his nature as an artist and as a character. A year or so away from the scene helped him find a sound he dug, and one that he could rock with enough to make an individual style with. “Fell In Love” is a track suffused with braggadocio and a mellow piano, and highlights the sonic that he resonates most with now. Forever Rickey, which dropped on April 21st, is an embodiment of T-Wayne’s mind and artistry.
Alongside his new music, T-Wayne talks about his fear of elevators, vices in Los Angeles, and why he’s still doing hip-hop.
RESPECT.: What’s something you’re afraid of?
Elevators. I’ve been scared since young. I remember seeing this movie, and someone got caught in the elevator and they fell from the top, broke all their bones and sh*t. Ever since then I’ve just been cautious about it.
RESPECT: (laughs) I think I was reading somewhere that a fall from the elevator actually wouldn’t kill you.
I mean it depends how high up (laughs).
RESPECT.: The next question was going to be about how that fear has motivated you in the past, but I suppose it’d just be “stay away from elevators.”
Staying away from elevators is impossible in NY though (laughs). But I pretty much got over it.
RESPECT.: All of your Twitter posts are very cryptic, usually just one line of personal insight. What’s the idea behind that?
On the real, I don’t really be on Twitter like that. I like to post because so many people message me and tell me I motivate them. Most of the time it’s just stuff on my mind, and it’s funny how it can relate to something someone else is going through. I’ll make everything short and sweet because I really don’t go on Twitter though. So it’s really just quick, spur of the moment thoughts I’m just getting out there.
RESPECT.: In a similar vein, you had a quote a while back about the “Nasty Freestyle where you mentioned “not caring anymore,” and just talking and rapping the way you wanted to.
I stopped caring when I made that freestyle, then I started caring again. The first thing I said on this freestyle was “hop out the motherf*cking Porsche” and I had all the kids saying it; kind of a sidebar, but I had to think for a long time about it.
There’s no way you can please everyone in the entire world, but if they like you, they’re gonna like you, and vice versa. It really doesn’t matter what you say. If people are gonna f*ck with me, they’re gonna fuck with me. I just think you can’t think sugar coat anything at all, or sugar coat yourself at all. Every artist is different so if you’re trying to find a certain crowd, you’re putting yourself in a box. You can’t be scared to say what you wanna say.
RESPECT.: Before when you were releasing one video a week, what was the goal of that?
I was just trying to push my mixtape at the time it was real easy to shoot one video a week with freestyles. When I had those kind of songs, it was just recorded, not mixed and mastered, and the video would take like 30-45 min. Whereas now, it takes like 12 hours and a whole bunch of time to go and edit and master it. It was just me trying to put out my talents on youtube. Also, people liked seeing freestyles.
RESPECT.: There’s a certain rawness to freestyling. No preparation means that whatever you pull from your head- as bad or as angelic as it may sound- is going to be spoken.
Exactly. So me being raw- down to the quick videos and lack of writing- drew people in. But again, back on the liking thing, not everybody was rocking with it. But not everyone’s going to f*ck with you all the time, so I kept on doing me the entire time I was doing that whole thing despite people not feeling it all the time. You could be the greatest in the world and some people still won’t f*ck with you. That’s just always going to happen.
RESPECT.: People will always reference Biggie and Pac being at the top of their lists of renowned rappers, but even then, I have friends of mine who’ll be straightforward in saying they don’t really like them. And this is going on a slightly different topic, of this imaginary rubric people have for “being a rapper.” According to a very popular idea, you “have to” have listened, and liked, old hip-hop in order to establish legitimacy in your career.
Yeah, it’s whack especially considering some people didn’t grow up on it. There’s a lot of young people in the rap game right now, and the oldheads gotta understand that you can’t be mad about these kids not hearing it. Everyone was raised differently. You can’t be mad at a kid not focusing on it. Hip-hop changed, the whole style of music from back then shifted to a new sound. Some of the time they weren’t even on beat. Nowadays it’s all about rhythm.
RESPECT.: It’s almost like you’re being forced to like something. Your opinion’s made before you even had the chance to form it.
RESPECT.: Plenty of artists like spending time out the public eye. Syd said that “privacy is the new fame.” How do you balance privacy with interaction with your supporters?
I read a lot of the comments I get. I comment back to some people; I try to get to as many as I can. I read Facebook comments, I retweet, I try and stay active because I try seeing what you’re saying. Does the college professor f*ck with me? Can a news person rock with my music? We all have different jobs but we’re the same thing- humans. Seeing us all come together on social media is a great thing, for sure.
RESPECT.: Is “Fell in Love” about love for a woman or love for your work?
For the love I have of everything. Everything. The first line is, “I told that b*tch to shut up, I’m trynna get paid,” and it’s like, I love music, I love women. I love my work. Everything I was thinking I just said it. Even though the music is crazy, I still love all these things and I gotta get to it. I fell in love with everything.
RESPECT.: What are some setbacks of that amassed fame?
It comes with its bullsh*t. Everyone’s out to get you. Everyone you meet sounds like they have good intentions and you have to be careful about it. So many people sound like they’re out here helping but they’re really just waiting for you to f*ck up. Half the people doing this are doing it for the fame, and that’s the worst sh*t ever. You can’t be cool with people anymore. Someone might come up and say whassup and try robbing you. At the same time, you gotta look out for your peoples. Some people won’t eat if you don’t. So you have to keep at it.
RESPECT.: Has that stopped you from being genuine with your fans before?
Yeah. Paranoia sucks.
RESPECT.: And have you put people on before?
I try my best to. But some people see the lifestyle and they just want to live it. They really don’t see the hard work they have to put into it, over and over and be consistent with it. For example, when you gotta be in the studio for 12 hours, and you finish and you gotta get on an airplane. Are you gonna keep going? Are you gonna let the money fuck you up?
RESPECT.: Yeah, and sometimes the fame lifestyle is packed tightly with drugs and a bunch of vices. In another interview I did, the artist mentioned that all that just kinda hits you in the face.
Sh*t really just comes around. You go to LA and n*ggas just out there just doing coke. “You sure you ain’t want some? Please just take one?” Like no, n*gga, no I won’t.
I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. I drink. But in between the fun sh*t I stay focused. People just automatically assume. I’m just trynna live healthy though. I’m a pescatarian. People really think it’s about woman and what not. I don’t go to your workplace and say “Yo, there’s gonna be a lotta female customers coming in an hour.” Like no, I’m just trying to get paid and feed my people.
RESPECT.: Have you ever dabbled in veganism? I still struggle nowadays with my vegetarian diet, sometimes the “4 for 4” deal at Wendy’s is real tempting, but I always end up just walking out with fries.
(laughs) Yo I tried the veganism sh*t and lasted one day. Honestly it’s the most difficult thing to do. Even now I’ll go hours without eating because I have to hold on to this healthy diet. Waiting all damn day for a small ass meal (laughs). I’d like the benefits of it for sure. But it’s next level. Keeping the meat out my diet is enough honestly.
RESPECT.: How come you’re still in hip-hop?
I got family. I got a son. I got a dog. I have real responsibilities; other people’s lives. I have to take care of a lot of people and no one else is eating unless I’m eating. It used to be about solely me but I put myself last now. A year ago, once my son came, I said I really gotta focus on this. I came across the style of music and the style of rap that I wanna do, and I’m gonna keep going at it.