“Groveside, Worldwide” echoes far outside the confines of Dallas, but it’s the center of Rikki Blu’s origin story. The neighborhood parked in Southeast Dallas is noticeably stricken by poverty, gentrification & gang violence – something Blu is actively striving to change. Once a purely therapeutic art, Rikki’s music has now helped unite large groups of people. Activism for Blu goes hand in hand with creating music.
“These kids don’t see a way out, so it’s important to be that positive representation for them. If not us, then who?”
Growing up the son of a veteran and Black Panther, an understanding of self was always of importance for Blu. From recording on cassettes tapes to being one of the first of his family to attend college, a level of discipline in craft was paramount no matter the stage of Blu’s life.
After high-school Rikki would trek to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for college, the home of Middle Tennessee State University. Before he even landed on campus, he’d begin making connections – most of which are close confidants to this day. Little did he know, the friends he was making would form one of Tennessee’s most respected hip-hop collectives, The House.
One of the first to connect with Blu would be Black Metaphor, a skilled producer credited with lengthy contributions around the industry. “We actually met on one of those incoming freshman pages on facebook for MTSU. I ended up posting videos of me on the MPC and that’s what Black really does, you feel me? We ended up linking from that and the rest is history,” Rikki explains.
The rest really is history as Black Metaphor is credited on a vast majority of Rikki’s discography, including fully producing his latest release ‘The Black Tape.’ Other close friends and members of the group included the likes of YGTUT, Isaiah Rashad, Brian Brown, Free P and Kembe X to name a bare minimum. The level of talent gracing the MTSU campus at the time is still fucking incomprehensible.
As Rikki transitioned away from MTSU, the next leg of the journey would include a 1-way ticket to Los Angeles with only 60$ in his pocket. Testing himself was always a part of the plan. “I had the mindset that I was going to prove something to myself, and n*ggas couldn’t deter me from my path. I was going to achieve my goals or die in the process,” Rikki reiterates. The raspy tone of Blu’s voice exudes a wise sense of confidence, one that’s been tested time and again.
Following the 2 year stint in LA, Blu would move back to Dallas in the summer of 2017 following the birth of his son. As changes brewed in his personal life, a creative tempo would continue to beat. In November of that year, Rikki would drop his album You Can’t Make Me, a testament of inner strength.
“INFNTRY or INFY was a collective I started back with my close friend Leo. The idea was to have a unified group behind that music that stood for the people and could unify. This goes back to enacting change, if not us then who?”
Around this album release, I was officially introduced to Blu and the INFTRY flag he built a collective upon. Rikki explained the origins of the group and a unified flag all could feel welcome to rep.
Currently, life for Rikki is riding behind the same mantra. His latest project, “The Black Tape,” features a large cast of close friends and local Dallas talent. The 7 track project, produced by Black Metaphor tells a story of unification and enacting the change you wish to see.
Stream below, and let us know what you think!