Cape Town - Priddy Ugly’s one of the most talented rappers around. A breath of fresh air, he’s unconventional and always ready to push boundaries with his unique style of rap, his image and even his name.
With his 2012 mix tape, Ugly Truth, helping to cement his growth in the industry, he has always been vocal in interviews and on social media about not just wanting to be heard, but how he wants to be heard – through his music.
Life before music
Raised in Meadowlands, Soweto, Priddy Ugly was born Ricardo Moloi in Luanda, Angola, to an Angolan mother and South African father. Although he started out as a soccer player, even joining Moroka Swallows’ football academy at 14, at 15 he decided to be part of popular dance crew Freeze Frame. Priddy Ugly also made it on to the South African national athletics team when he was 16 for the 100m, 200m and long jump events. However, the overachiever says after a few injuries he had a good excuse to end his sporting career and pursue music.
The rapper is unapologetic about making what he calls intelligent music and who he says he makes it for – intelligent listeners.
“It’s not about someone’s IQ, I’m referring to people who are real listeners, who listen to the intricate details within the music, and not just people who listen to something because they hear it often on the radio and if it’s not popular then they don’t pay it any attention.”
Priddy Ugly stresses that an attentive mind would enjoy his music. “My music is an experience, just the breakdown in the beats, how I gel with the beats, the synergy between me and my producer, lyrical content and the hidden messages. It’s only people who really listen to my music who always give me the greatest feedback.”
The rapper says his music is for him a diary through which he can be honest. “If you listened to me, you wouldn’t have to call me to ask questions about who I’m dating. Like when a reporter calls to ask me something about my life, and I don’t mind speaking about my life, that means I’m of interest to you and your readers but at least also listen to my music then.”
“We aren’t given equal opportunity, instead people opt not to listen to the music and to rather make assumptions based on hype.”
Style and icons
Besides his dope hooks, Priddy Ugly is stylish, so much so that he is an ambassador for international lifestyle brand Diesel and tequila-flavoured beer Liberado.
He credits his father for his introduction to hip-hop. “My father was very inspired by Tupac Shakur, but was more interested in his life story than his music.
“My father was involved in civil rights work and while he was in exile he met my mom in Angola. So in Grade 7 I had to give an English speech and the topic I chose was the black panther, as in the animal, and of course I asked my dad for help. The research he brought home that day wasn’t what I expected – he brought printouts about the Black Panther civil rights movement,” he says, “and that helped shape my thoughts and interests too.”
The rapper says he hopes when people listen to You Don’t Know Me Yet (YDKMY), his latest mix tape-turned-album, they are able to get to know not just him but themselves too.
“I want my music to inspire the youth to just be themselves. I’m an advocate for being authentic.”
Download You Don’t Know Me Yet (Deluxe) on iTunes for R79.99