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Rich Quick: The Entertainer.

November 6, 2014

RichQuickSmall01Text by Christopher Malo. Image by Sean Kane.

“Never in my life will I tell someone that I’m a rapper,” says Woodbury, New Jersey resident Rich Quick. “Get the fuck outta here with that. You might as well jump off a bridge because they are going to slay you.”

Clearly, the occupational label strikes a nerve.

“For me personally, my job is to entertain people,” he continues. “I’m an entertainer. Educate people. Give people a sense of culture, a point of view. Tell a story. My story.”

On a recent Tuesday night, Quick sits at the end of the W XYZ Bar in the lobby of the boutique Aloft Hotel in Mount Laurel. While the buzz builds around him – people of all ages and backgrounds have come out for the monthly showcase held here, Quick sips a drink and keeps his focus on his phone.

He is dressed in his trademark skully, chunky Knarley Chains necklace and wedding ring. Not that he is married in the traditional sense. It is symbolic and intentionally ambiguous. Listening to his rhymes, one would know he does not have a wife.

“I’m not married. But I am married to a lot of things and one of them is hip-hop music,” Quick says in attempt to clarify his marital status. “It’s an unbreakable bond. And, I even hate it. But I have devoted my entire life to it. I wear this ring because it reminds me of all my sacrifices.”

He began rapping in the second grade over Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” instrumental. After linking with other MCs in middle school, he and his friends formed Rag Tag, a name suggested by his own mother for the seemingly random artists that made up the clique.

A turning point for Quick came when Jay Griffey and other artists who all share the same management team, appeared in the French hip-hop publication Rap Magazine. He was happy for his team, but it also stung him deeply. It began a process of maturation for Quick. Both personally and professionally.

“I changed publicly before I changed personally,” says Quick.

Taking his career more seriously, Quick began building and crossing a bridge into Philly. He began meeting and linking with artists he looked up to but previously had only known online: Reef the Lost Cauze, Vinnie Paz, Stress The White Boy, Chuck Treece.

By now, he has met, recorded or done records with many of them.

“Rich is a great person,” says Reef. “I love his hustle and I love that he shows so much respect for the people who came before him. That’s rare with a lot of these new artists. He has my full support.”

He also has the support of South Jersey and continues to rep both Woodbury and his birth state hard. But Quick has been a part of Philly scene for so long it doesn’t bother him when he is identified as a Philly artist. Woodbury shaped and molded him. Regardless of what people say, that’s the fact.

“I’m a hip-hop artist from South Jersey who operates primarily out of the Philly hip-hop scene,” says Quick.

These days you might catch Quick sketching with a pen, painting or performing in Jersey, Philly or the surrounding burbs. You might also catch him at the Home Depot in Jersey where he has worked for the past 10 years.

“That’s my last bit of normalcy,” he says about his day job, which provides him things like a regular paycheck and health insurance.

That coverage has proven critical after two nervous breakdowns in the past few years stemming from trying to push his career and music further, turning him into an insomniac and running him down to the point of exhaustion.

“This shit put me in the hospital,” Quick explains. “Twice. It has affected my mind. I sacrificed everything. Literally. And it paid off.”

After scares like this, he may think about the future but he prefers approach life on a day-by-day basis, focusing on the present.

“I don’t spend as much time wondering where I am going to wind up,” Quick says, “as much as what I am doing right now.”

Even if there were a stage to take at the W XYZ Bar, Rich Quick wouldn’t be on it. Instead he takes the mic and works the crowd by going into the crowd. If you aren’t paying attention to his performance, you soon will be as Quick cozies up in people’s spaces, booths, chairs, couches and tables, never missing a beat as he delivers his lines.

“Rich is one of the hardest working MCs around here and his live show is amongst the best I’ve seen in hip-hop,” says BET 106 & Park Freestyle Friday hall of famer Voss. “I take extreme pride in live shows myself, so to see another guy do the same and just knock it out of the park each time hits home.”

In a lobby with families, Quick ends his performance by giving a 5-year-old sitting in his mother’s lap his most recent CD, Sad Songz.

“Hi. I’m Rich Quick. Nice to meet you,” he says, introducing himself to the youngster. “Thanks for rocking with me all night.”

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