He has ascended to hip hop star status with a few hits under his belt, and despite a recent controversy, Priddy Ugly, is still one determined artist.
By: Thanduxolo “Thandz” Buti
There is no denying that Priddy Ugly (born Ricardo Moloi) is a bonafide star. He has the style, looks and attitude, but most of all, he has a creative flair that sets him apart from the rest. With hits like Bula Boot, Welcome to My Kasi and the latest In The Mood (Remix), he has successfully instated himself in the over competitive hall of fame of local hip hop.
This year, he has kept fans eating at his palm, not only with music but also his widely publicised relationship with dancer Bontle Modiselle.
Recently they hogged the headlines with a staged wedding for new artist, Lasauce’s music video I Do, featuring Amanda Black. With social media posts and multiple interviews from the pair which suggested that it was a real wedding, many were left shattered when they revealed it was all for the music video. Priddy Ugly shared a statement on social media, explaining his intentions with the video, but it seems like it all worked out because I Do is fast approaching a million views on YouTube.
But the star, who signed to Ambitiouz Entertainment, earlier this year, is refocusing his energy on his upcoming debut album, due later this this year. All eyes on him as this might be the album that solidifies his status in the hip hop world.
He arrives at the Embitiouz Entertainment offices in Midrand on Women’s Day (09 August) with his girlfriend in tow and even in his gym wear he still possesses an undeniable grandeur. His presence may be sharp from a distance but up close he exudes a calm and friendly demeanour.
Speaking to Blacklight, he gets candid about his life and career.
Blacklight: You just came out of a public controversy with the “I Do” music video. What do you do when your integrity is being questioned by the public?
Priddy Ugly: Crazy Time!! We get misunderstood at times and people say things that hurt us. Sometimes you must defend yourself as best you can then let it go. I am someone who doesn’t like to go online and be dragged into negativity. I will defend myself but I never want to belittle anyone. Also, I don’t like addressing things on social media, If I know you, then I would rather speak to you directly. That all comes from learning to have restraint because I never came into this business to be a role model but now I know that people are watching me, and some aspire to be like me, and with my actions I am representing those people as well. So, I need to try and conduct myself in a respectful manner, at all times.
Blacklight: What did you learn from all of this?
Priddy Ugly: I learned that people are very emotionally involved in the people that they follow, irrespective of whether they are fans or not – because most of the people who got hurt were not particularly my fans but they were disappointed because they were so moved by the gesture and it inspired them in some way. Now I see that people take everything we put out there very seriously. They really want to be part of it, especially if it’s something beautiful. And with social media, I got to reach my fans directly and I expressed what my intentions were. I am all about the art and irrespective of the aftermath, I have no regrets because what we created is art. It’s cool that many find my personal life interesting, but it’s still my personal life.
Blacklight: How would you define this moment in your career?
Priddy Ugly: I would define it by using the phrase: “Everything Godly Yearns Patience and Time” (Laughs). It took a lot of work, perseverance and growth to get to this point. I can’t really even define this moment because there is a lot that’s happening, but most of all I would say I am happy.
Blacklight: Hip hop has become quite a competitive genre in SA. How does one rate success in the hip hop world?
Priddy Ugly: For me, success is relative. It differs according to how you define it for yourself. I would say right now I am successful because there was a point when I didn’t have anything in my bank account. I had to prove to people that one day I am going to be somebody because when I started my career people didn’t care. Now I wake up and I get to be what I dreamed I would be; I am surrounded by people who care about me and the music I am making is the kind that I want to make. I am successful because every day I get to wake up and live my purpose.
Blacklight: What sort of story would you say, you are narrating as an artist?
Priddy Ugly: It may sound corny, but my art is about life. I am conscious of the fact that every day I get to live, someone else dies. When I thrive, someone else fails.
Life is a circle and everything that we go through is part of a bigger story. Sometimes we go through similar things at the same time. That’s why music is universal because it reminds people that we are somehow all connected. I always say to young rappers who want to be mentored by me, ‘listen to the music, watch the videos and follow me on social media’ because I am communicating my life in its entirety in all I do. I am an author but my book comes in the form of my music.
Blacklight: How do you maintain your well-being in a career that can sometimes be disruptive in one’s life?
Priddy Ugly: I surround myself with people who have good energy. I keep people who are able to be honest with me so that I stay grounded. In order for me to be creative, I have to be in a happy space, I am not like those artist who are more creative when they are in a sad space. When I am in a bad space I know that I have to find a way to motivate myself in order to be productive. Also, because this is my livelihood, I am forced to adopt a healthier lifestyle, so that I can perform at my highest level. I have to rest but I really don’t (laughs). I have to eat healthy but I am not eating as healthy as I used to, but I am conscious of it. It’s very important that I take care of myself because I also suffer from mild migraines. As soon as things get hectic, they start, but that’s when I know I have to rest.
Everyone is watching you right now. What can those people expect from Priddy Ugly?
Priddy Ugly: I am releasing my debut album later this year, titled EGYPT (Everything Godly Yearns Patience and Time). Apart from that meaning, I love Gold and everyone who has known me all my life, knows that. Egyptians represented gold (with their accessories) and also triumph because they achieved a lot of things that may have seemed impossible. I also want to show people with this album that it’s possible.
This is the moment man; I have waited for 12 years. I feel like I have grown with this project and I am more daring. I am so excited. Judgement is coming but I am ready for it.
Download Priddy Ugly latest single In The Mood (Remix) on iTunes.
Watch Priddy Ugly’s Women’s Month message: