I LIVE FOR GOD, NOT MYSELF.
You would be hard pressed to find a duplicate of the born again Miami native who goes by the stage name of, Rio 24K. His authenticity of sound and perspective leaves the listener with a satisfyingly unique experience. Unapologetically honest about his life before and after accepting Christ, he cuts through the filters of conformity. When he had some time to spare, he sat down with Black Rice and did this interview.
How did God establish or begin his personal relationship with you?
In 2013, I went through a situation where I was in the streets and everything like that and um, I was I guess you can say that I was scamming, drug dealing and exploiting women. I hit a point where I became so empty with things. My cousin, she passed, and another friend of mine, she passed. Two deaths in two months. I became so empty. I began to search and search. First, you search for yourself, self love, and then I just turned to my brother. He's actually active in the church. I spoke with him. Since August of 2013 I started going to church. I was baptized. I started studying the word. I just started building that relationship. I started cutting things out of my life that didn't align with what God had aligned for me.
Are you gifted beyond the music you create?
Yes. I honestly believe that there's more to what I've been given. I don't believe that it's just the music. I believe there is so much more that I can do for God. I do believe the music is a gift. It has reached so many people. They come to me and explain to me that the music has helped them through their walk with Christ. Especially for the ones who knew who I was and who I am today.
Can you tell us a little bit about your creative process?
Well, the creative process for me, it's all about heart. I can go through hours and hours of listening to beats and production, but it's more of a heart thing for me. It's kind of a weird thing, but I let the music speak to me. I lay back and listen to something, and even if everyone around me says this is hot, this is good, you should get on this.. if I don't hear it or feel it, I can't do it. It's a touch type of feel. Like, I can touch this. I can feel this. Then, I just express myself to it. I mean, a lot of my music is just expression. It's expression of where i was or where I'm at. You can hear so many different songs, although I'm a Christian and I live for God, you're not going to get the happy go lucky. You're gonna get the I'm depressed right now or I'm feeling down right now or I just messed up, and I'm gonna talk about that. Whether it be I need love or I need God's love. There's good stuff today. I'm happy where I'm at with Christ. I'm happy that I made this change in my life. I want to share this with everybody. You just get my emotions when I make my music.
What inspired you to use the samples for some of your songs?
Those samples just actually spoke to me, and like I said, it's a weird thing when I listen to music. It's a weird thing when I listen to music, I don't just listen to music. I get taken to a different world when I listen to music. Like yeah, the person that's rapping on it or talking on it, it just hits that point in the middle of your chest, goes down to your stomach, the goose bumps starts coming up on your arms. That's when you know like this is it. This is what I want to speak to people with. This is what I want to express myself on. Those samples and beats spoke to me, and I just spoke back.
Do you think that popular secular samples help your mission?
Well for me, what it does is, it helps get those who are.. how can I say.. that were like me at one point. not wanting to listen to Christian music. So, when you use something that's popular, a certain type of sound, a certain type of beat that's popular, they actually hear it. Sometimes, that sound hits the younger crowd. Just hearing that sound and then they hear the message. They actually listen to the words. They listen to the substance that's in it, and that's what grabs them in. People always wanna know what's more to the person, and when you listen to my music you'll see what's more to me is God. Just more.. you see Jesus and how i just want His glory to shine.
What do you hope others will get from your music?
Ultimately I just hope that, I mean the ultimate goal is for people to see Christ in me, see Christ in the music, and see why it's so important if you haven't already taken that step into allowing Christ into your life. I just want people, I'm not gonna sit here and say it isn't all about Christ, but at the same time I still have the passion and the love that I have for music. I want people to see that I'm a lyricist and that I have substance in my music that you can listen to that you can allow any generation to be able to listen to, older or younger or anywhere in between to listen to the music -something that's positive. Like look, we all go through hard times in your life. It doesn't matter where you're from, but as long as you have Christ in the center, you'll be able to get through it. That's basically where I'm at with my music.
Tell us about your favorite artists.
Who I listen to now would be an artist named John Givez. He's a Christian rapper actually. JGivens too, they're cousins. I of course listen to Lecrae, Andy Mineo. My secular artists would be Biggie and 2Pac. Those are the legends. Those are the ones that I mainly listen to. Now, I don't listen to anything crazy. I mean, I listen to a lot of R&B, a lot of old school R&B, Temptations, Isley brothers, Miles Davis. I listen to Adele. I try not to listen to the new stuff, because 1. the new stuff there's a lot of corruption. It's really bad for the spirit. 2. they're not saying anything. I mean, I listen to J Cole and Kendrick Lamar as well, but the rest of the stuff they're not really saying anything for me personally. I just like to listen to substance when I hear music. I like things that challenge me when I listen to it.
What scriptures define you and your mission?
Well, I have two. I can't remember them off the head, but I'm actually going to look it up on my phone. (reading from his phone).
The first one is Joshua 1:9, Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous, do not be afraid, do not be discourage because the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.
The other one is Isaiah 42:6, I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
Those are the scriptures that I go back to. When I feel down, I have other scriptures that are used throughout my day, you know memory scriptures. Those are the two that I run back to when I need a reminder of why I'm doing this.
Who do you associate with most in the bible?
I think this is kinda cliche, but King David. King David is.. I just can, feel him. It's like man, is this me writing or is this King David writing? As we go through this walk we make mistakes, and I've made plenty of mistakes. I am nowhere near the perfect Christian. No where near it, I am working everyday. Thank God for grace. Without it we would not be here. I just, I relate to him so much. His emotional side is just, me. I'm such an emotional person. I can go high. I can go low, within two minutes. It's like I have to continue to come back to God and I have to cry. I literally just have tears, like oh God please forgive me or even flipping the script, oh God I'm so grateful. Even when I got the instant message from I don't know who it was. I just knew it was you guys account. I was like man, I'm so grateful, because I was struggling the day before. I was like God, is this what you want from me? Is this what you want from me, because if you don't want me to do this, then I won't do it. Even though this is what I love and this is my dream, I'll walk away. I just want to do what you want me to do. I want my desires to match with Yours. So, King David for me, that's who I feel.. Me and him are the same person.