Denton-based hip-hop artist and magician Ritchy Flo spent the bulk of this year resting after writing, producing, recording and mixing his double album D.I.C.K., an onslaught of music, comedy and magic videos, completely by himself in 2015. But he's about to come back onto the scene with a new album, and it's a big departure from his past work in that it's not music at all: It's a photo album.
Flo, who was a finalist in the 2015 DFW Master of the Mic competition judged by Erykah Badu and the D.O.C., will put out Photo Album: A Companion Piece to D.I.C.K. along with an international re-release of D.I.C.K. on Dec. 19. He made the album a few years ago with Kody Tuna Pryor, a photographer who sometimes freelances for the Dallas Observer.
“Two or three years ago, me and him just had this idea,” Flo says. “Let's put out this album and say it's an album and then when we release it, everyone will find out it's a photo album.”
Their first photo album, An Ordinary Gentleman, received little recognition at the time of its release. But since then Flo has been signed to Gitmo and become one of the most popular performers in Denton. With the new circumstances working for them, Flo and Pryor have to decided to return to the project and create several more albums.
Shooting for the next one starts this week, and Flo has a few solid ideas in mind. “Certain lines that I have in my raps – [we'll create] the visual for that,” he says. “You hear that and whatever you think in your head – we actually have that. So, you can have a reference.”
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Since Flo raps about magic and “putting a banana in pajamas,” you might expect the images to be goofy. But Flo intends to shatter those expectations.
“I want to go to corporations and leave a big PVC pipe and dump a bunch of flour to make it look like a big coke straw,” he says, “and have people walk by like, 'What the fuck is this?' And that is the art. Almost like a Truth commercial. Except there's no agenda. Even though it seems like there is an agenda, there's really no statement.”
Flo seems primed to have a big 2017 and he's glad he chose to lay low the past year after releasing D.I.C.K. “It gave him a chance to watch his audience respond to his work, and it all factors into his plan. “I was exhausted. In 2016, I just kind of floated, but in 2017, there's no floating,” Ritchy says. “Everybody was like '2014 or 2015 is my year,' and I was like, 'OK, y'all can have this year and I'm gonna have 2017.'”
Ritchy Flo's Photo Album: A Companion Piece to D.I.C.K. will be released on Dec. 19. Hard copies can be purchased at Ritchy Flo live shows or from GitmoMusic.com. A digital preview will be available on Ritchy Flo's Facebook page.