We hear a lot about the struggle artists endure, however I think some of us can admit that some of these artists, exaggerate or just straight up lie about their come up. Not the case with New York’s Ricky Havana, who’s honesty shines on his debut EP “Ricky Season”. I had a chance to sit down with Havana, who doesn’t mince any words in our interview. Make sure you stick around til the end of the interview as we premiere his new video for “11p.m in NYC”.
Dead End Hip Hop: For those who don’t know who is Ricky Havana?
Ricky Havana: Young Ricky Havi! Man, I don’t know where to even start. I’m just a young kid from the South Bronx by way of Havana, Cuba trying to make my way in this world. My pops is a political refugee who was fleeing incarceration in the 1980s and my momma a victim of the 80’s. I love music, I love women, I love my family and I love my bros who in this thing with me.
DEHH: Tell me about how you got into hip-hop and what made you decide to pursue being an artist
RH: Growing up in the South Bronx EVERYBODY do something related to music. It’s almost second nature for you to either rap or make beats. Starting in elementary school we were making beats on the lunch table and freestyling. I personally began writing poetry and as I got older and hung out on my block more, that naturally transitioned into rapping. Rapping became a way for me to tell our story in a more versatile, relatable way. Where I’m from we all got stories, it’s just not the safest place to be vulnerable and let people know you got emotions so I always wanted to bridge that gap and let my brothers know I understood and I was going through the same shit so we didn’t have to do it alone.
I always knew I would be an artist, I guess I was just waiting for the right time. One day me and my business partner Rell Barnes decided it was time for us to decide what we were going to do in life. We were either going to keep going through the motions and decide to watch this life pass us by or seize the moment and go get this s*it cuz we know we can and we know its out there for us. And we decided on the latter, launched our company Offshore Groupe and we been shinin’ ever since! Offshore cuz it cost more, ya heard..
DEHH: How did the idea of Ricky Season come about, what is your definition of Ricky Season?
RH: I remember randomly flicking through the tv one day and stopping on a channel where a pastor was talking about how we have seasons in our lives. Life is seasonal and that’s the reason why we transition so often. As Relly and I launched our company I realized that this is my season in life to make everything I want come to fruition and to manifest all my dreams. This the season where I reap all the fruits of my past – All the shit I went through coming up, overcoming what I overcame, was all leading to this season in life where I finally see all my dreams come true. So when I say its Ricky Season I really believe God is telling me its my time. It’s Rickys time. Its Ricky Season and nobody can stop that.
DEHH: Now I could be making too much of this, but I felt the EP was a record of two stories, the first half felt it was more focused on your story coming up, the second half, kind of felt like the next chapter, can you fill me in on your thought process during this EP?
RH: Yeah man this EP was definitely a record of where we were at the time or creation. We actually started the EP sitting on the record ‘Don’t Know’. Relly heard that shit and was like “Yo Ricky, this the one” and we started building from there. As we started working on the album I tried capturing exactly where we were at the time of each song. I put a call from my brother when he was doing in time cuz that was one of the most impactful times in my life. On “Ours” where I say “its Havana n*gga and I’m back just landed” I deada*s had just landed from a trip to Cuba. The song went on to talk about a realization I had where I aint tryna be friendly with all these n*ggas. Im here with the people I’m here with and I’m only going to be with my day 1s and the genuine people I meet along the way.
Cost us is the story of how we launched offshore and started pursuing this music s*it and how many sacrifices we had to make. Real s*it – while making this project Relly left his job, i found out my pops had cancer, I got kicked out the crib I was living in, I broke up with my girl…s*it was really coming with alot of sacrifices…and then 11PM in NyC was just a summary of my thought process and things thats were going on in my life and in my mind during those months and a realization that my pops was the most important thing to me and even though I’m damaged and figuring my way through this life, I want him to see me make it because he deserves it.
Then, we wanted to show people a softer side and a darker more secretive side of my life which is that part revolving women and my sentiments towards relationships and engagement with women. I find my songs about women come from a reflective place so those songs were dwelling on states of mind I was in prior to beginning the project.
I ended the tape with For You because it was a culmination of how we felt. We spent so long trying to be what the world wanted us to be – working these 9-5s, going to school, trying to do things the way they told us we had to and it wasn’t true to who we were. We were just doing it for them and so that song was basically me shaking loose from that and making it clear it was our time to do what we wanted to do.
DEHH: When people are done listening to “Ricky Season” what do you want them to take away from it?
RH: I want them to feel invincible honestly. I want them to feel like if they believe in themselves and claim this moment in their lives, they can make anything happen. And I want them to see that they don’t have to lie or pretend to be anyone but themselves to be able to make things happen in this life. No gimmicks, no pretend. Just be yourself, focus on a goal you set and go get that shit because whether you realize it or not, alot of the people you love probably counting on you to be the best version of yourself. And I want them to see Ricky the prettiest n*gga out the Bronx so shout out all the ladies and MUAs listening to Ricky Season, follow me on IG and hit the DMs hannn lol
DEHH: I actually went to New York last month and it completely blew me away, tell me about the NY hip-hop scene and how you fit into it?
RH: Man, the New York hip-hop scene is an intricate market. Of course you got all types of different artists – people doing classic hiphop sounding s*it, people doing trap, people doing electro-hiphop type s*it…everything, all coming together in the same place. But they don’t call it the jungle for no reason. They don’t say “make it here you can make it anywhere” for no reason. New York the place where artists and all they supporters leave right after they set. But at the same time its beautiful to see the people who genuinely support music stay. And, like any industry, you got a lot of people hyping themselves up and trying to make themselves seem like they got all the juice in the city. I try not to get caught in the politics and the schoolyard talk though and just do my music and enjoy my performances.
I personally feel like I’m an artist in New York with a story to tell, like every other artist in New York. What differentiates me is that I ain’t lying about it, I ain’t pretending to be anything I’m not and who I am as an artist is exactly who I am as a person and you’ll get that soon as you meet me. My music will always speak for itself – I genuinely put myself into everything that I do and I always want people to walk away from my projects or my performances like damn, I felt that.
DEHH: I know 2018 just started but what can we expect from you this year? Will we see you on tour, will there be any videos for “Ricky Season” ?
RH: Definitely! We got the video to 11PM in NYC on the way, we shooting the video to “Don’t Know” as well so stay on the lookout for those. We also working on a follow up project, won’t say much about that yet but definitely lining up shows and hopefully get on a solid tour by end of 2018. Shoutout OG, Offshore Groupe, Havana Gang shit! Its Ricky Season!