In 2012, only a sprinkle of rap fans in Atlanta, much less the world, had heard of Rich Homie Quan. This year, no one could get away from his smash hit 'Type Of Way' – even Drake had to acknowledge, calling Quan's second street single the "song of the summer."
Today, Quan and his team are hoping to make lightening strike twice with the release of his newest tape 'I Promise I'll Never Stop Goin' In #ThatsRite2.' Quite a name. Quite a hard-nosed pledge from an artist who – to the unyielding rap public outside of his native Atlanta -- still has something to prove. He doesn't give light to that notion though. "I wouldn't say I have anything to prove," he tells The Juice with a shrug, "Only because I'm telling my story and my story never gets old. If people loved the first mixtape then they'll love this one even more."
That "first mixtape" that Quan's referring to is the one he used to flood the streets of Atlanta during BET Hip Hop Awards weekend in 2012. Though virtually unknown at the time, the then-23-year-old rapper had already signed to the fledging TIG imprint. So while the independent label managed the unprecedented success of breakout artist Trinidad James, they were simultaneously repackaging his 'I Go In On Every Song' mixtape, titling the revamped version 'Still Goin' In' and pushing Quan to be the next to steal the spotlight. That was just over a year ago.
"You gotta think, I started with 'I Go In On Every Song,' the second was, 'Still Goin' In' so this is really the ending to the trilogy," Quan says of the latest project. "Just to end these mixtapes off, so yeah, 'I Promise You I'll Never Stop Goin' In.'"
"The name of the mixtape really is #ThatsRite2," he shares, chuckling, "But I wanted to add that to tie in the trilogy." When the Hip Hop Awards returned to the city in late September, the 'Type of Way' rapper performed his smash hit onstage at the Atlanta Civic Center. Rich Homie Quan took his rightful place as the city's next major contender.
The comparisons to fellow Atlanta rapper, Future, are old news as Quan is tired of explaining away the natural lilt in his voice. He would prefer that you ask about his day; which is going swimmingly. When he shares thoughts, it's as if he doesn't have a moment to spare: tumbling out run-on sentences.
His positive attitude hasn't differed much since early 2013 when "Type of Way" was on the cusp of igniting radio playlists nationwide, all while still an independent artist. Rumors say, though, that Quan has had a deal inked with Def Jam for months but he denies that's the case. "I get that question everyday," he reveals with a laugh. "My momma asks me! She's like, 'Quan, you ain't signed?' I be like, 'I haven't signed yet Momma. If I signed, you wouldn't still be working.' Every time she asks, that's what I tell her."
"I'm still independent," he insists. "When we find the deal we want to make sure that it's the best deal for me. And that it'll bring longevity. Something that'll last for a minute. I haven't found it yet I'm still looking for it. Something that'll take me to the next level."
The TIG signee is focused on today. "I just wanted to show everyone with this one just how much I've matured with my songwriting abilities," he explains. "Before I do sign this deal, I wanted to drop another mixtape..."
"I hadn't dropped a mixtape in a year, so I wanted to drop something that the people would feel good about," Quan says, trailing off, then quips, "Just before Thanksgiving? I want them to be sitting down, eating good, listening to Rich Homie Quan."
With the help of the well-respected DJ Drama and his own tour DJ, DJ Lil Keem, it shouldn't be long before the 24-year-old rapper feels comfortable enough to settle down somewhere. Maybe over at Atlantic Records where Jeezy serves as the label's current VP of A&R? "That's my dog," he says of their growing friendship. "The relationship that we have is more of like a big brother [little brother] relationship. I call him for advice and vice versa. I appreciate the opportunity he gave me by letting me and YG link up [on "My N----"] because that's like my brother now. He's almost like a mentor."
Quan says that the content of #ThatsRite2 ought to be enough to bring things full circle. Having worked previously with Drama on outside projects, there was already camaraderie in place and the inclusion of just a few artists -- including newcomer Young Thug -- as featured guests allow Quan to tell more of an in-depth story.
Over scores created by some of Atlanta's youngest producers – 808 Mafia, DJ Spinz and Metro Boomin – Quan hopes to show another side this time. "I want to show people how fun Quan can sound on a variety of different beats," he says breathlessly. "Like, there was a lot of pain on that first mixtape and you gon' hear pain on this mixtape also but you can hear that I'm really having fun on this one. A lot more uptempo beats... A lot more club music..."
Rich Homie Quan is about building onto what he calls a budding "dynasty." "There'll never be another 'Still Goin' In,' only because I'll never go through those points in my life again. But you can hear the growth in the music since then."
Listen to Rich Homie Quan's 'I Promise I Will Never Stop Goin’ In' mixtape below: