He stands out in a crowd. With his snappy clothes and often colorful outfits, he is not one to blend in. And that's the point.
It has been a busy and productive year for artist Rikhado Makhado (34), best known by his stage name Riky Rick.
He tells Drum this year has been good despite the Covid-19 pandemic, which has affected the livelihoods of many artists.
“Yes, the industry took a knock due to the pandemic. But this year has allowed me to diversify and go into different avenues. I used my time wisely and learned a new way of doing things and a lot has come out for me and kept me motivated,” he tells Drum.
Riky Rick has been a brand ambassador for Cognac Fine Champagne brand Rémy Martin for three years, working to find undiscovered talent.
This year, he teamed up with Rémy Martin and Major League DJz in hosting the ultimate summer experience and their famous balcony mixes nationally. Fans will be able to watch these balcony mixes when they go live every Friday on YouTube on 17 December, 24 December, and 7 January 2022.
He also also a partner at Legends Barbershop where they have 62 barbershops stores across the country.
“We developed the barbershop so it can reach everyone. Last year we had 18 stores and now we are on 62,” he says.
“We also developed the Cotton Fest virtual shows in The Yard. The pandemic allowed us to adapt, and the shows have been a success,” he says.
In November Riky Rick also released an EP titled Ungazincishi.
“Before this project, I haven’t released a full-length album in a while. But next year, I will definitely,” he says.
With many Hip-Hop artists joining the Amapiano bandwagon, Riky says his music cannot be limited to one genre.
“The genre is always been fluid. We have been making Kwaito, Hip-Hop, and pretty much everything combined, and it all represents South Africa. It was never strictly Hip-Hop,” he says.
This year, he is also nominated for Artist Of The Decade alongside people like Cassper, AKA, K.O, Nasty C to name a few at the 10th Annual South African Hip Hop Awards playing on 10 December 2021 on SABC 1 at 21:00.
“I didn’t even know that,” he says.
“Awards are great to have, they celebrate music and the culture. But I don’t do anything for awards, but I do it for the culture.”
This year, Riky lost close friends and Amapiano stars Killer Kau, Mpura Mpura, TD, and Thando Tot who died in a car crash on their way to a concert in the North West.
A few months ago he took to social media to mourn their lives.
“Rest In Peace our Mpura. You were the happiest person in every room, your spirit was what we needed in our lives, selfless, humble, and loving. Love you so much, my brother. Thank you for everything you did while you were still here. Gonna miss you so much, bro. I’m sorry your journey had to end like this. Condolences to the family and the friends, we loved you so much, bro. Lala Kahle.”
He tells Drum that it has not been easy.
“It has taught me to appreciate people and be cognisant of every moment spent with people because they don’t last forever,” he says.
“It’s really about learning to appreciate people and everything that we go through daily and making time for family and loved ones.”
A few years ago, Riky spoke openly about his past addiction to drugs and overcoming addiction.
“It hasn’t been easy, but the family has kept me grounded,” he says.
“Had it not been for a stable family, I would not be where I am today. I am in a very good place. Back then I was wild in my 20’s, I am not in my 30 and I have grown up and learned to be better, taking care of my health and communicating better,“ he says.
“My family and children have been good in helping me to grow up. It’s been good doing it with a support system. Then, we could go wherever and do whatever, but the family has given me a sense of direction.”.
His goal in life is to see his family and kids happy and healthy.
“I try to live life in the moment and keep my family grounded, together, and healthy. That is my biggest priority and my main goal,” he says.
He is one of the most stylish artists in the country and has been called a style icon.
“Fashion is another form of art. When you look good, you feel good. I knew that from a long ago. You can speak about how you feel through aesthetics and express how designers feel. It’s my other form of expression.”
He has also been criticised on social media for his out-of-the-box fashion sense and experimenting with different music genres.
“I hardly see any criticism because I don’t go out looking for it,” he says.
“I’m so busy on the road interacting with real situations, I’m hardly on social media scrolling through comments,” he says.
“I go by the vibe of people I meet. I never put myself in a situation where I listen to negativity or even positivity. I got into this before there was social media. I don’t even pay too much to the positive either. The journey is much longer than pleasing other people. I’m all about pleasing myself, what I’ve been through, and understanding myself,” he says.
The best advice he would give a younger version of himself is to stay grounded and be true to who you are.
“The younger version of me was a people pleaser. The difference is now it's easier to communicate about how I feel, what I like, what I don’t like. I have my own opinion and am not afraid to take a different direction to everyone instead of going with the flow and what everyone is doing,” he says.
“I learned it’s okay to be myself and do what pleases me. I have been helping new artists and for some reason, I am still here doing things myself. I would tell the younger version of me that it’s okay to be different,” he says.