24hrs Talks New 'Houses on the Hill' Album, Working With Ty Dolla $ign & Reinventing Himself

Cam Kirk
24Hrs

In 2016, an initially faceless new artist started gaining traction on SoundCloud under the name 24hrs. Later on, after letting the music speak for itself, the identity of 24hrs was slowly revealed through scarce interviews and music videos: He was Royce Rizzy, a dynamic rapper who started his career back in 2011 while repping Atlanta and the DMV. Today, 24hrs’ debut album Houses on the Hill is finally out for the world to hear and includes features from his right-hand man, Ty Dolla $ign, his brother MadeInTYO and even two from Dom Kennedy.

Upon taking a scroll through his Instagram on the eve of his album’s release, it’s crystal clear 24 is well-connected. His feed is peppered with endearing, personal videos from names like T.I., Wiz Khalifa, T-Pain, Soulja Boy and Lil Scrappy, all hyping up the anticipated Houses on the Hill release. His relationships with artists stretch across different generations and genres, a direct result of maintaining connections throughout his long career journey. “The connections are more powerful than the actual anything,” 24hrs tells Billboard.

Only a handful of artists are able to reinvent themselves, completely transforming their sound and stage name, and still remain afloat. For 24hrs, it happened naturally during his nonlinear journey. As Royce Rizzy, he inked multiple deals with different labels, but ultimately didn’t find a home in any of them. He momentarily stepped out from behind the mic to take the management seat when his brother, MadeInTYO, was catapulted into the spotlight with his 2016 hit “Uber Everywhere.” In the midst of guiding his brother, 24 one day decided to record a song, pitch his voice higher, and throw it up on SoundCloud. After garnering half a million streams in a week, the rest was history.

24hrs stopped by Billboard to talk about being independent, working with Ty Dolla $ign and his new album, Houses on the Hill. Check out the full conversation below.

Your debut album Houses on the Hill, executive produced by Ty Dolla $ign and Hit-Boy, is finally being shared with the world. What’s running through your mind?

None of the projects were albums before this. They were all mixtapes or EPs. I feel like every project you do has to be bigger than the last. It’s lit. I’m in New York doing press. I’m at Billboard and I’ve always wanted to come here ever since I’ve been on one of the charts. [Ty Dolla $ign] is my brother. A year ago, I made him executive producer for my last two projects, so I made that decision with him. Hit-Boy just produced “SICKO MODE” for Travis and “Carousel.” I was just like, I need him to produce for my album because that would be crazy. I reached out to him and he said he’s never produced an album but let’s do it. So, we did it.

“Don’t Mess” with YG had the anticipation for the project going crazy.

Working with YG is.. quick. [Laughs] I played him a few songs and he’s like, “This one. I love this song. Let me get on this one.” I’m like, “Alright, let’s do it.” He went in the booth and an hour later, he’s out of the booth like, “Alright, we done.”

What has been the most memorable studio session for this project?

I have a song on there with me, Moneybagg Yo and Smokepurpp. That one was such a crazy studio session.

Speaking of them, as someone who’s been in the game for so long, you’re still extremely in tune with the younger cats. How have you maintained that, and also your relationships with a lot of OGs?

I feel like I’m from the era of the artists I grew up listening to like Wale and Big Sean, the artists I came into the game with at the same time, and then I have a little brother who’s part of the new culture. I’m hip to all of that, too. I was with him through his whole come up, and obviously our whole life. He’s on the album, too. MadeInTYO is on the album. Ty is on the album, of course. PnB Rock, Roy Woods, Vic Mensa. Roy Woods’ energy is always hype. We did the song together in person and I actually also brought him out at my show in Toronto. It was crazy. He did “Drama” and it was just crazy lit.

I grew up listening to the greats like Hov -- damn, I wouldn’t even know where to start. There were just so many influences. My mom always listened to Whitney Houston and I’d hear Whitney every Saturday morning in the house no matter what [laughs]. I’d say my pops put me onto hip-hop early on. Thinking way back, I’d always have two albums in my CD player: Marshall Mathers and Bow Wow’s first album [Beware of the Dog]. They came out at the same time. It’s so crazy because Bow Wow’s album is him as a little kid on the cover, then I got Eminem. It’s such a left and right, but I got both of them in my CD player. Ludacris was out at that time, too, and I wasn’t making music at that time. I started making music at around 14-15. Around that time for me, it was all Cash Money, Juvenile, all of that. Early Wayne, like Bling Bling Wayne.

Not many people may know you lived in the DMV for years. What’s your favorite thing about the area?

The culture of the DMV is just so different. I came up early, so I was living there when Wale had “Uptown Roamer” and “Nike Boots,” more of the debut stuff he had. Go-go music to me, is just like, real musicians. It’s it’s own wave. Most people who are not from the DMV will always be like, “What is this?” If you’re not from Baltimore, you don’t get Baltimore club music. You’ll listen to these types of music, but you don’t really truly feel it.

You are one of the few people in this industry who can completely reinvent themselves and still stick around. Was the switch from Royce Rizzy over to 24hrs intentional or did it happen naturally?

I never stop working on music. At one point, I had already taken a six-month break from music while I was helping my brother out with his stuff, and I hadn’t dropped anything as Rizzy and I was just over it. One day, just playing around, I was like, “Man, we should just put these songs out that I have, but let’s just put it out under another name so nobody bothers me or wants to know why Rizzy is doing this.” I put it under 24hrs, and within a week, it had like 500K plays on SoundCloud. It just kind of went viral on its own. I just created an alter ego that not many would recognize and that’s the thing with why I pitched my vocals and made them sound so different so that no one could guess it was Rizzy. 500K plays in the first week? I just had to go with it.

I’m still telling my biggest secrets in my music. I feel like that’s the thing now how people want things straightforward and direct, but if people take the time to just listen to the music, they’ll hear everything you need to know about a person. Mac Miller was just saying something in an interview, but if you listen to his album you would hear him talking about this and this and this. People have been giving you all the facts you need in the songs but you have to really pay attention and listen. In interviews, I can put people on to what’s coming up and what’s going on, but in my album, it’s going to say everything.

You’ve been signed to Jermaine Dupri, Lil Scrappy and even had a deal at RCA at one point. What made you go on the independent route that you’re on now?

After Scrappy, I got the management deal with Jermaine Dupri. After that, I got a recording deal with RCA. Then, I went independent and started my label Private Club Records. I never tried to make me just an entity. Royce Rizzy made money off of just being Royce Rizzy. 24hrs makes money off of just being 24hrs, without the security of a label. The label is cool for certain looks and things like that but I’ll be able to come to Billboard without a label. The connections are more powerful than the actual anything.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

HIT-BOY thanks . HOTH 5 DAYS AWAY . Comment 16 if you ready --

A post shared by 24HRS (@24hrs) on

How do you know when and get that courage to leave?

It’s just not working. My dream and my hunger will always be more hungry than the people working around me. You could just feel it in your gut and in your heart. I’m outworking the people around me. It’s time for me to figure out a new situation.  

You’re on one of the best songs on Ty’s Beach House 3 album, “Don’t Sleep on Me.” Do you still feel like people are not fully paying attention?

People are going to always sleep on you, but now I do feel like now I have a stronger fanbase. My fans are really supporting me and whatever I do, they’re there. There’s still a lot of people sleeping on me. I’m pretty sure right now, if we just walked through the office, there are people who are like “Who’s that?” You will still have people sleeping on you until you get to the top.

And I’m sure you have a lot of special moments that remind you your journey is right where it needs to be right now.

I will always remember Jan. 20, 2017. I sold out the Roxy in Los Angeles and brought out Wiz Khalifa. The whole crowd was screaming my songs. Every single song back to back. There wasn’t a song that I performed that the crowd didn’t know. I’ll say that was one of my proudest moments ever. But weirdly enough. I don’t get the most love in California. It would definitely be Toronto. Drake played my song on OVO Sound and people thought I was from Toronto.

I just hope people see the growth. The real fans and the real people that have known me since the beginning, I hope they are like, “Wow, he’s really grown a lot.” For the people who know “DMV Shawty,” when they see Houses on the Hill, they’re like, “Damn, he’s grown a lot.”

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