King Richard wins the hip hop crown
It's all about the music with Bermuda's newly crowned hip hop king.
Richard Gibbons Jr beat out 15 contenders to win the title at a Hott 107.5 competition at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts.
The 29-year-old, who calls himself “King Richard”, has been “doing music [his] whole life.”
“I used to rap my ABCs,” he said.
“My favourite rapper back then was Ice Cube. When I was six or seven years old I listened to reggae artists like Shabba Ranks and Spragga Benz. That has been an influence on my hip hop style.”
He decided to enter the competition after he heard a couple of other guys saying they were going to “tear the place to pieces”.
“I thought I might as well shut this down,” he said.
A sample of the lyrics in his song Fighting Demons hinted he thought he'd win the competition: Fighting. I am at war with the devil. I already won the battle, homey, which makes me a champion. That is why I walk around with the medal on me.
He explained: “It means that you can tell by how I walk around that I have defeated the devil. I am beating life. God allows me to do everything I do.
“I still write rough rap but more and more I am pinching and tweaking it so that young people can listen to the songs and appreciate them.”
Music is his passion, but in his day-to-day life he hustles by painting roofs and cutting grass. He also runs Sugar Hillz Bakery in Sandys — he's not afraid to admit he's battled the odd cupcake in his career.
“You go do what you gotta do,” he said. “I take the money from all these jobs and put it into making music.”
He said the timing of the competition was perfect, because he hopes to release his first mixed tape, Royalty, in March and his first album next May, Black Kingz.
“I am still doing a few touch-ups on the album,” he said.
Some of his songs, Better Than You, Swagger Like You and The Sneaker Song, are already getting play on local radio.
“Everything I have been going through in life has been for music,” he said.
See him perform Better Than You online at www.royalgazette.com