First Round Draft Picks: Vino and Rico

draft first pick rico round vino

Tell us about the music we can expect to hear from you guys. Real life music. The Struggle. Things people go through every day. Not being able to come up with the rent, people crossing you, your girl leaving you while you’re locked up, murder charges. The things people don’t talk about. Then we talk about the things that happen after all that. It’s not just about “shoot em up bang bang” it’s like “what happens after the bang?” When that detective presses record what are you going to say? We been through that. It may look cool, but it’s not what it seems. It’s a lot that comes with our lifestyle. This is the first time in my whole adult life being off parole, probation, house arrest, not on the run, no bond, no nothing. Since 16 I’ve always had some involvement with the law. I’m just getting out of that phase and getting my life back. It’s mine.

What would you have done different? We got our diplomas. We’re smart, it’s just trials and tribulations put us in situations we couldn’t get out of. You never know the outcome of anything. It coulda been worse or better. It made us who we are today. It made us think the way we think now. We’re much more cautious. We studied the law and fought for our lives. It was a learning experience.

Tell me about your new project. We just did a remix to Da Baby’s song. Called “Freestyle 4x.” The first mixtape is called EPRD which stands for earliest possible release date. During our time he lost time and I lost time. If you have ever been or know someone that has been you know there’s the EPRD or a max out date. If you keep getting in trouble you could end up getting out later. In the process of me coming home I had to do six months in the county and I’m thinking that’s it. Then boom! They hit me with a murder. So it was like “When am I getting out?!” It turned from ten months to facing my whole life.

What’s it like to go from knowing when you’re getting out to not having a date? It’s a feeling of defeat. I know I wasn’t fully conquered at that moment, but it was a possibility that I could be. I went from the joint to the county to do six months. While I’m sitting there I got into a fight. They sent me to segregation.They brought up the charges while I was in there. They took me to court then I come back to a cell confined to my thoughts. I just kept faith in God and told myself that whatever happens I will come out the way I came in; a man. Ten toes whether I have to sit in the penitentiary or get to come home I’m coming home the solid way.

Where did you get your understanding of what solid was? People ask me how I made it through situations. I say the solid way. A lot of people took another route. Not just with jail, but anything from getting a new car to a new business. I got it on my own. The solid way. I didn’t have anyone teach me the game. My daddy was in the streets but he was back and forth to jail. I had to bump my head on my own. I had to lose everything to learn. I’m just now starting to get the OG love. I don’t know if it’s because they saw me make it through a situation and my paperwork checked out or what. I feel like a lot of OGs are telling before the youngsters. But really it’s just me and bro. That’s who I trust. The only one I trust.

How do you maintain your mental health going through so much? Keep your eye on the prize and remember there’s life after this. Some people fall victim to their own minds. I was surrounded by people that were making the best out of what we had. We would put together a $200 slam and celebrate each others birthday and just play poker and chess and keep busy. I turned 10 months into two years. There was never a time I felt like it was the end of the world. Now that it’s over, I know I will never eat another noodle [laughs]!

How are these experiences reflected into your music as well?  Everything I go through I put it in my music. I want you to feel how I was feeling when I wrote it. I wrote a song called “Breathe” when I was going through the trial and couldn’t communicate with anyone since I was on lockdown. I knew my mama was hurting. I went back to my cell, grabbed my pad and wrote “Breathe” which was like a metaphor through the whole song telling my mama to breathe while we’re still able to and so many of our people aren’t able to anymore. I didn’t cry one time. I knew my mama was doing all that for me. With my head up her head would be up. She had to get on the stand and everything for me. It hurt to have no one there for me during my trial, but now it’s so much fake love it’s crazy. The same people that couldn’t come to a court date so happy I’m home.

After experiencing a time when no one was there is it hard trusting people? People are so selfish. They think I’m in the wrong for feeling the way I do. I just say, now that you have the chance to support me, show me. Yea, it was kinda heartbreaking to not have the support I wanted at that time. Support can make a big difference between success and failure. But I put myself in the position I was in. It’s had to trust again, but I don’t hold no grudges.

What’s your advice to those looking up to you?
Stay in school. Everybody goes through a different struggle. I wouldn’t want somebody to follow in my footsteps when they have it better than I had it. If you’re gonna do it, accept everything that goes with it. If you wanna go to school accept those student loans. If you wanna be in the streets accept shots fired at you and police. My mama told me I don’t care if you wanna be a fry cook, a basketball player or a hit man…be the best at what you commit to do and do it to the fullest and accept what comes with it. I wouldn’t recommend this life on anyone. If you have the chance to do right please do. It’s not what it seems. But if you’re out here move light and accept what comes tomorrow.


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