Fans got quite the jump off when Rittz dropped “Turn Down” as the first music video for Next To Nothing.
Over another incredible, hard-hitting Lifted production, Rittz snaps off verses left and right that address a variety of things you can tell were getting on his nerves, from being left off the XXL freshman cover to being overlooked as the man who’s been repping Gwinnett County.
We talked to Rittz to have him break down the track which kicked the door open to bring you Next To Nothing.
What is “Turn Down” about to you?
The song has a couple meanings. It’s a little bit slick, poking fun at what’s popular right now and also I have a side of me that just really doesn’t give a fuck what motherfuckers think, and I always go against the trend or go against the grain. It’s not even going against the trend of “turn up”, it’s actually in the verses, just talking about the XXL Freshman cover and talking about when people mention Gwinnett they don’t realize to respect me. I’ve been doing this Gwinnett shit. I’ve been putting on for my city for a long time. It’s me not getting recognition whether it be for in the industry or in my hometown or in Atlanta. I really wanted to get at that on this record. I really kind of wanted to go hard and also poke fun and roll my eyes at “Turn up, turn up! All they ever say is ‘turn up!’ They know me all around the world, Australia to Europe!” and just kind of go in and rolling my eyes on what people think is cool right now.
The actual chorus of the song I had planned for a girl to sing it and it was going to be a feature. I wanted to get Kat Dahlia on there and have it. When I say “I’m going to turn that bitch down” that was for a girl to call another girl a bitch because when people start turning up on somebody, you always think of the phrase “turn up” like “Hey, we’re going to get hype at the party,” but then also – at least where I’m from – you’ll be like “Man, I had to turn up on that motherfucker and beat his ass.” So it’s more like, “If you try to turn up on me I’m going to turn you down.” It’s more like, I’m not trying to turn the vibe down at the party, if someone tries to turn up too much on me then they’re going to get fucked up. That was my whole point of it. I don’t think that really comes across though. In the actual singing of the hook they just think I’m talking shit about the phrase “Turn up.”
I was on stage and a motherfucker in Florida was going “Turn up! Turn up boy! Turn up!” and I was like “Boy if you don’t shut the fuck up I’m going to turn you down!” The dude left and I kind of felt bad too because he was just trying to give me props but he kept talking real loud in the middle of my set when I was trying to talk. So that’s where that initially came from, the show I did in Florida.
So this dude didn’t even know that he kind of helped you write a hook.
Yeah, this dude helped me write a hook! I literally felt bad because this motherfucker was like at a club full of white boys and he looked like he didn’t belong, like he just stumbled in to see what was going on. You know what I’m saying? Like he just stumbled in and I was on stage rapping and I saw a new face in there go “Turn up! Turn up! Turn up what!” and I’m like “If you don’t shut the fuck up I’m going to turn you the fuck down!” or something in that form. The next thing you know I was looking at his face and was like “Damn, he’s trying to give me props,” but he’s interrupting me. He was turning up too much! That’s where the saying comes from, if you turn up on me I’m going to turn you down. It wasn’t really about turning the vibe down or clowning the word, even though it does come across like that and that’s what it’s known to be now – but yeah that’s where that comes from. The verses are just me showing a little bit of aggression and poking fun and did a little “Rap God” reference at the end when I’m like “I’m beginning to feel like a black guy, that’s why, I gotta bunch of ghetto ass white bitches trying to tat my,” – just saying dumb shit, you know?
Before we dissect some more of the lyrics, is there anything you would say to the “Turn up!” guy right now?
Yeah sorry homie, I called you out! I did not mean to call you out, I realize you were just trying to get me hype and do what you thought you were supposed to do. I like talking to the crowd and you were just saying it at the wrong fucking time. I thought he was telling me I wasn’t hype enough, like “Turn up man!” I was like “Whoa, whoa, whoa…fuck you man, turn down!”
There’s some tight bragger raps in this song, and it seems like that’s a big part of the vibe: “They need an article of me in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, pay homage to me, they should paint a mural.” Tell me about how you’re still repping Gwinnett because that comes across in a big way in this song.
Yeah. I think it’s very important first of all. I think it’s very important because we’re on the North side of Atlanta and it’s got a buzz. Gwinnett is really getting a good look from the urban side of things, you know what I’m saying? What they’ve accomplished is amazing and there’s so many other rappers from here – and this is important if I’m going to mention this, because I don’t want to seem like I’m dissing them or coming across like it’s fucked up – but there’s so many rappers with what they’ve done right now, the door is wide open. Unfortunately for me, because I’m a white boy, I’ve never been able to open that door for Gwinnett, but I’ve been doing it for years, to if you ask them or other people from this town they’ll be like “I was listening to you since when I was a kid.” I’ve been rapping for a long time here so I really think that when it gets mentioned I don’t really get brought up. I’ve been doing it for a long fucking time so it’s like “Don’t forget about me, no matter who you are, because regardless of what category you put me in, there’s no way around, there’s no way to argue it, just respect it, because it’s fact.” That’s where that came from and I feel like that’s important to establish on a popular song and just let that be known. That way it’s in the record books so no matter who you are, if you’re coming from here, there’s no way to argue with it, just respect it. I just think that I’ve done a lot for Gwinnett and have repped Gwinnett really hard for fucking years, longer than a lot of these people have been rapping and just in the game period. I just feel like I should get a little homage paid to me sometimes. Not necessarily from other rappers just period.
For me personally I never heard of Gwinnett before I heard you talk about it.
Right, right. A lot of people say they’re from here but they don’t actually name the roads or the streets or go into it as deep as I do. Nothing’s wrong with that, that’s fine, they just don’t rap like that. It’s just that I’ve been detailed about this place for a long time so let’s not forget about little old me.
A line that obviously stood out was a line at the beginning of the third verse when you’re talking about getting skipped on the XXL Freshman cover. I know one of those years you were up for vote for the lone remaining slot.
Yeah last year I was up for vote.
You said it has you “feeling some type of way.” You’re not hating on the rappers that got picked but you’re just like “I’ve been killing shit.”
That’s the main thing, the one thing I wanted to make clear when I said that – I ain’t hating on the rappers they’ve picked because nothing’s worse than the guy who’s bitter to everybody that is on there. I’m happy for anybody that’s on there, I just feel like…man I came up with Yelawolf, underneath him. I seen him there on 2010 I think, or he came out in 2010 so he must have been on there 2011. I watched him get on there. After that I saw other people on there. I’ve just been seeing peers of mine and different people that I feel like I’ve known for a minute. I’ve seen them all get that look. So I’m sitting there waiting, and don’t get me wrong, I knew my buzz wasn’t big enough to get it when these other guys got it, but I had to sit back so many years, not so many, but a couple in a row where I was finally blowing up and was like “My time’s coming next, because there’s too many things,” like the BET Cypher and XXL.
When I didn’t get picked and I didn’t make it in the last year I was like “Well if I didn’t make it last year it’s definitely happening this year, I mean who else is there?” I didn’t get picked then again and when I saw that people I really fuck with. I don’t think you need to name them in this interview because I don’t want them to think that I’m dissing them, but it’s just seeing people that I fuck with on there and it sucks because it’s like “Why the fuck didn’t I get on there? Why didn’t I get that look?” So I’m not hating on the rappers they picked but I’ve been doing this for a long time and I should’ve made it…and it had me feeling some type of way. It’s just frustrating seeing your peers and people that you fuck with that you feel like you’re on the same level and they’re getting the look that you never got and that look could’ve helped your career out a lot.
Another line, I don’t know if people caught this but the “I had White Jesus in my crockpot before Ross said ‘Walkin On Air'”. Explain that one for people that don’t know.
Well that one’s not as deep as it could be, it’s just a nice little line. Like, I’m a Rick Ross fan but I know he just, out of coincidence, rappers have songs that are named the same sometimes. So when this album came out, when Rick Ross’s last album came out, he had a song called “Walkin’ On Air”. I got a song called “Walking On Air”. Also in the song “Devil Is A Lie” Jay Z’s like “White Jesus in my crockpot” and Kanye West was just out there saying like he was White Jesus, that’s some Kanye shit, and I felt like I had been on that for a minute so I was more like “I had White Jesus in my crockpot,” and then the “Ross said ‘Walkin’ on Air'” part was just because he had the title of the song on his album. It was a cool little line. It was really more towards the “White Jesus in my crockpot” thing because I pushed the White Jesus thing for so long and it gets recognized when Kanye West and Jay Z say it of course, but it’s just funny man how shit happens like that. It happens a lot of times. Rapper minds think alike.
What did you think about Lifted’s production? His songs seem to get picked as the singles more often than not.
Yeah they do man. Lifted is gifted. There’s a certain sound he has: there’s enough darkness and enough samples on top to make it for me not to be like sound like I’m trying to have a single type song or a first release hype song, but it also has that hypeness deep down in it so it’s the perfect match of production for me and what I like. There’s always cool samples but hard drums. It breaks me away from the mellow shit and it brings out those braggadocios raps. His production puts me in that…like if you look at “For Real” and “Fuck Swag”, most of his production brings out that side of me. It doesn’t bring out the personal side, it brings out the rapperish side, where I can play around with words and shit.
Like rapping to rap.
Yeah like rapping to rap but on a dope ass, hard ass beat.
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