Rich Boy was a mechanical engineering student at Tuskegee University when he first fell victim to the producing bug.

Rich Boy was a mechanical engineering student at Tuskegee University when he first fell victim to the producing bug. Upon running into future A-list producer Polow Da Don in 2001, he naturally gave Polow a CD of his beats. Polow encouraged him to stay in touch, but what really grabbed him was Rich Boy's lyrical delivery.

"I told him he could say, 'I'm going to the store,' and it'd sound cool," Polow says. Six years down the line, hip-hop fans seem to agree: Few MCs can rock a song sampling early-'80s R&B group Switch in 2007, but Rich Boy's hit "Throw Some D's" does just that. Now the single sits near the top of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart after six months. Born Maurice Richards, the 23-year-old is putting his hometown of Mobile, Ala., on the rap map.

Working the smaller markets near Mobile, Rich Boy and Polow created a buzz that pushed "Throw Some D's" up radio's urban and rap charts. The track comes from Rich Boy's self-titled debut album, due this week via Interscope. And while plenty of recent rappers seem to be plucked out of the South with ready-made albums, Polow has been developing Rich Boy since shortly after their first chance meeting, back when Polow was still a member of Southern rap group Jim Crow.

With Polow's connections, Rich Boy signed to Interscope in 2002. "He shopped my demo around, and before I knew [it] I got a deal," Rich Boy says. "It was just meant for me to do it."

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