It’s a pretty normal Tallahassee thing to do on a weekday – go to the mall, buy a pair of sneakers, then go home.
Homegrown Real Boston rapper Richey has probably gone through these motions a few times in his life.
But Monday was different. Now Richey is a young trap artist, and when he went to the mall to buy shoes, he brought his friend, Future.
Future was recently hailed as one of the best art and platinum rappers of all time. He has 21.2 million fans on Instagram and won a Grammy for Best Hip Hop Performance in 2019 for the song “King’s Dead.”
“It was crazy,” said Richey, who boasts 200,000 followers.
In case you missed it:One of the most famous rappers in the world, Future, stops by Governor’s Square Mall
Richey, who has shot to fame in 10 short months, returned to his hometown to shoot a music video. At the Holton Apartments on Tallahassee’s south side, after filming several scenes for his song “Bulls Eye,” he handed out food, $10,000 in shoes, clothes and a message.
“I love Tally,” he said. “We just have to come together and do better. We’re probably the best city in Florida, we just have to come together.”
There have been at least 82 serious shootings in Tallahassee and the Capital District this year, resulting in at least 57 injuries and 13 deaths, according to an analysis of gun violence by the Democrat.
Last weekend, two shootings left three men and a woman injured.
“We have to keep the violence to a minimum,” he told the Democrat. “This isn’t even my hood, but there’s love here. This should show a lot of people that it’s not where you come from. you want to go to.”
‘This is not him’: Arrested last week, Richey wants ‘a better lifestyle’
Richey, whose song with hip hop artist Lil Durk has more than 11 million views on YouTube, grew up on Ridge Road. Rapper T-Pain also grew up in the same area and even titled a song after his old neighborhood.
An interview with the Tallahassee Democrat:Rapper T-Pain Wants To Take You To Moe’s, Mix You A Cocktail And Talk About Tallahassee
He is a product of the streets who has had several run-ins with the law. As a teenager, after a series of grand theft and weapons charges, he was sent to prison at the age of 16.
Richey, 25, said he went years without problems until last week when he was the passenger in a car the Florida Highway Patrol caught speeding 120 miles per hour near Capital Circle and Orange Avenue, according to records.
According to the report, police found a loaded handgun, fake IDs and marijuana in the car.
Richey, whose real name is Jalen Foster, was arrested and charged with drug possession and carrying a concealed handgun without a permit, the report said. He was released on a $2,500 bond.
Richey’s manager told the Democrat that the gun was not his.
“If you look at his record and what it might reflect, that’s not him,” said his manager, King Watson. “He was in trouble as a kid just trying to find his way.”
Watson said growing up in Tallahassee as a black kid at age 15, 16, it’s easy to fall into a mindset that all you need is to make money and the easiest way to make money is to you turn to crime.
The new arrest left Richey depressed. He said he has friends he loves, and it pains him to avoid them, but he knows that if he hangs out with them, he can feel the pull to make the wrong decision.
“If we’re going to be positive, if we’re going to make music, if we’re going to try to get everybody into a better lifestyle, everybody has to be willing to change,” he told the Democrat. “If not, you have to watch from the bleachers until you clear your mind.”
Monday’s giveaway won’t be the last. Richey, who now lives in Miami, wants to share his success with the city.
“We could have shot that video anywhere, but he made sure we shot it in Tallahassee. We shot it in the projects,” Watson said.
Shoes, clothes and hugs
Word quickly spread on social media, and people shared Instagram videos of the two rappers walking around Governor’s Square mall, shopping for shoes and hanging out at the Section 8 apartment complex.
Richey and Future stood on the metal steps of the Holton Apartments and posed for photos in between takes for the music video. Richey’s music video for his “Bulls Eye” remix.
Future left after shooting his verse, but Richey stayed. In between handing out Styrofoam boxes of chicken wings, he chatted with people and gave them hugs.
Then he got into the back of a U-Haul filled with shoes and clothes and started distributing them.
“Half past six!” yelled at Richey’s manager to raise his arms. Watson then handed the Nike box to whoever was closest.
For Richey to return to Holton Apartments meant something to locals who remember him as a child.
“He’s real,” said Nene Blanco, who went to school with Richey’s sisters. “No one else has gone back and given shoes and clothes to children like he has.”
A spokesman for the Tallahassee Police Department said 400 to 500 people were in attendance at the apartment complex to see Future and Richey. TPD was dispatched after multiple complaints of loud music and people blocking the entrance to the apartment complex.
TPD officers assisted in easing the traffic jam and did not issue any traffic or violation citations, a spokesman said.
Remembering his cousin
Miya, 19, has lived at Holton Apartments for the past four or five years. The Lively Technical College culinary arts student took a selfie video with Future as he made his way through the crowd on Monday.
She said she is proud of Richey.
“I’m honestly in shock, especially when he brought out Future, like oh my god, of all people, he brought out Future,” she said.
Everyone around her was smiling, she said. It was a nice change from the violence the community has experienced.
In 2015, Richey’s cousin, Devaris Bass, nicknamed Slugg, was shot and killed. Slugg, who taught Richey how to rap, was his mentor.
“I feel like since he grew up in that kind of environment, we all grew up in that environment of violence, I feel like he’s doing a good thing by trying to change that,” she said.
Tia Webster said she has known Richey since they were 14 years old. They were together every day. When his cousin died, it hit him hard.
“I feel like he’s living for Slugg,” Webster said.
“Less violence, more music”
After distributing shoes and clothes at the Holton Apartments, Richey needed a break before his next stop – another scene for his video shoot at the Kelly store.
He took some time to relax at his mother’s house before heading to the M&K Foodmart on Springhill Road across from the Tallahassee Community Publishing Center.
Once he got to the store, his music started blaring from the back of a white SUV, the trunk filled with black and white speakers.
Richey stood in front and danced along to his words for the video, at one point pulling out a suitcase of cash and sitting on the hood of his car.
His friends from Tallahassee, before he was famous, fell in with him and knew all the words.
“If you have everybody on the same page, there will be less shootings, less murders, less violence,” Richey told the Democrat. “That’s what we’re working on this year, less violence, more music.”
Contact Ana Goñi-Lessan at AGon[email protected] and follow her on Twitter @goni_lessan.
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