Priddy Ugly; real name Ricardo Moloi, was born in Luanda, Angola, but raised in Meadowlands Soweto.
He is transcending the face of African Hip Hop, and moulding into a sound that is imperfect, a sound that is ambiguous, ground breaking and earth shattering, a sound that is breath-taking, an extraordinary sound, the sound of a new generation.
Priddy Ugly dropped a mixtape titled “You Don’t Know Me Yet”. The whole body of work was produced entirely by Wichi 1080 and if you know (ironically) enough about Priddy Ugly, then you should know that he doesn’t drop anything average.
Priddy Ugly is pioneering a sound and style that will take South African and African Hip Hop to international platforms.
After over a year of trying to get this exclusive with him due to his busy schedule…LOL, check out my interview below:
Hey Priddy Ugly! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Greetings Africa. I go by the name of Priddy Ugly. I am an entertainer from South Africa, I specialise in the art of music and rap. I’m just an ambitious young guy trying to make a difference through my art.
Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
I get up at around 8am, check my emails and social media, then freshen up and get ready for the day. I get on the phone and contact my management and they give me my schedule for the day, which usually consists of meetings, and more meetings as well as TV, radio or print media interview. At noon I try make time to go to the gym, then I head to studio in the evenings, nothing special really.
What institution(s) did you attend and what did you study?
I studied Sound Engineering & Audio Technology at the Academy of Sound Engineering (ASE) in Auckland Park, Johannesburg.
How were you discovered and what inspired you to go into music?
At age 15 myself and a group a was part of named Blaque Print were heavily influenced by hip hop culture and loved to rap, so we playfully recorded a song and got the opportunity to perform it on live television on a show called YOTV on SABC1. A man by the name of Vusi Leeuw who was an A&R at EMI at the time was on the show that day, he was the very same guy that discovered HHP, Mandoza and Toya Delazy. He loved us and signed us almost instantly.
Tell us, how did you come about the name Priddy Ugly?
Growing up in the East Rand suburbs of Johannesburg we used to refer to things that were dope as Ugly. I felt like I was beyond that, an extension of Ugly. So based on my word play based raps, I played on the oxymoron of ‘Priddy Ugly’. This describes my rap style and flow, which is very unorthodox and eccentric. I also wanted to chose a name that would get people talking and encourage conversation. I wanted a name that people would love and hate and love to hate. It’s very important for people to not feel indifferent about you. They need to feel some type of way about you, good or bad, but if they have feelings towards you, you stay top of mind and you’re not easy to forget.
People tweet all the time ’bout how strange my name is, but what’s important is that they talking about me, and someone who had never heard of me prior now tries to find out about this ‘Priddy Ugly’ guy with the ridiculous name. Free PR. People are discussing me without me initiating it, all based on my name, and somewhere in that mix a new fan is made.
In 2010, you pursued your solo career, why?
I wanted to expand on my creativity as an artist and I couldn’t do that while I was in a group. When the 2010 Fifa World Cup tournament was hosted in South Africa, I was just inspired to pursue my dreams and connecting with a lot of international travels made me realise that the world is my oyster and I never looked back.
2012 you released two very explicit videos for “Love Hate” and “Swag Demonstration”, why and what were the motives behind them?
They were simply to create awareness of a new artist on the rise. I wanted the videos to be very different from what any local act was doing at the time. I wanted to compete with international brands and personalities, so I needed bold visuals to accompany my music.
In 2014, you released “For My Town” which made it to No.1 on 4 South African charts and 2 African charts. How did that make you feel?
It was a good feeling. The song Featured former Cashtime member Smashis who was a solid contender in the South African hip hop space. It was the 1st time I dabbled in a trap-like sound, so it was humbling that such an experimental track did so well for me.
You collaborated with AKA on the smash hit ‘Hit ‘em up’ with Xtatic. What was that experience like?
It was cool. I developed a really good relationship with Xtatic. I met AKA on the day if the video and he was very welcoming and open. The song went on to be nominated for two Channel 0 Awards in 2013, namely ‘Best Collaboration’ and ‘Video of the Year’ respectively.
You just launched your album “You Don’t Know Me Yet” #YDKMY (Deluxe Version) and also a new single called “Thula Mama”. What motivated/inspired the album and what as been the feedbacks so far?
The reception to the project was overwhelming. It dropped and social media went crazy. It moved over 70,000+ downloads in its 1st week. I then released the Deluxe version a month later and it featured the single “Thula Mama” featuring hip hop veteran and legend HHP and a young talented songstress named Reba Red. ‘Thula Mama’ means, don’t cry mama. The song is a powerful song and I wanted to release it as a single because it set me apart from what the local hip hop scene looked like in that period. It was sentimental, honest and very musical and I just wanted to show that side of me, while addressing a very sensitive subject. The message is one that the masses related to and loved. I then released the ‘Hunnids’ and ‘Come to my Kasi’ videos, and the love has been amazing.
Talking about “You Don’t Know Me Yet”, you were recently nominated for Mixtape of the Year at the South African Hip Hop Awards. How did you feel when you hear the news?
When I hear about the nomination I was really excited and feel it was long over due. Want to thank the organisers, my fans and most especially Wichi 1080, who produced all the tracks on the mixtape.
I noticed that majority of your songs are produced by Wichi 1080, why is this?
His my brother and closest friend. We understand each other and have a musical bond that is unmatched and sacred.
Tell us more about your upcoming mentor-ship program called “Pump”?
P – Priddy
U – Ugly
M – Mentorship
P – Programme
I am just going to school to speak to the youth, share my story, motivate and guide them. The aim is to inspire the kids, let them know of all the challenges that they may come across and inform them on the best ways to overcome and combat these challenges. I’ll be going to schools and the all around the country performing and also spreading the awareness of Priddy Ugly and what I stand for.
Will you say the Hip Hop scene in South Africa is booming?
It is indeed. A few years ago you couldn’t make a decent living for hip hop in SA. Today rappers are getting big endorsement deals, filling up stadiums and hip hop is the most popular music genre amongst the youth. It’s an amazing and exciting time for local hip hop and aspiring musicians.
Looking at your photos from 2012 to now in 2016 there as been massive changes and improvements. What will you say drove you to go into fitness and stay dedicated in it?
I learnt that one’s brand is what carries one’s music, and how people perceive you is directly proportional to how you’re received. That variable is always a product of the other. If people like how I look, its easier for my music to appeal to them, its sad but people can be very fickle and you need to learn to capitalise on that. It also helps to stay fit because it helps me give alot more of my self in my performances.
What do you do to stay in shape, do you go to the gym?
I try and go to gym as often as I can, I’ve been slacking as of lately. I mainly just try and avoid unhealthy food. I also give 200% of myself in my performances, I believe that I’m not giving my best if I’m not sweating.
What do you consider the most common stereotype about the music industry?
That once you’re on TV, radio or in a newspaper or magazine you’re automatically rich and famous. This is not true. It takes years of hard work, TV appearances and a combination of alot of things coming together and falling into place for you to be an “overnight success”.
What aspect surprised you the most once you started in the industry?
How fake and ingenuine a lot of people are. That not everybody wants you to win and alot of the time it’s just one big popularity contest and often success is not based solely on talent.
Looking back to when you started, is there anything you would like to change about the industry?
I just wish talent and quality meant as much as good looks and social media following and stats.
Which brands, clients, musicians, producers, etc, have you worked with?
I align my Brand to only brands and personalities that I genuinely like and believe in. In 2015 I was one the Jagermeister brand ambassadors. I licensed my song ‘Bula Boot’ with Universal Music Africa. I was also one of the artists chosen to be part of the KFC Soundbite campaign which one big at the Loeries.
I’ve collaborated with talented musicians such as:
Xtatic from Kenya
I recently just signed a deal with Diesel Africa. I am the 1st African act to collaborate with this International brand. I’ll be the face and ambassador of the Diesel brand. This is one of my proudest industry achievements.
I also recently signed a deal with a new exciting alcohol brand, and it’s tequila flavoured beer, its called LIBERADO. It’s an exciting collaboration and fuses really well with my brand.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
Releasing my ‘You Don’t Know Me Yet DLX’ project and being the 1st African Diesel Face and Ambassador.
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?
I’d like to work with Phyno, MI, Patoranking and YCEE. I would also like to work with Pharrell Williams, Kanye West and Andre 3000.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Getting high rotation national TV and Radio play. I’m confident that I’ll break those barriers soon.
Tell us two things people don’t know about you?
I have 4 nipples and I was born with 11 fingers lol.
You are very active on social media. Do you think its important to be online and if so why?
It very important to have a strong online presence, especially when you not on major broadcast platforms. Online you are really in control of your movement, I can release music and videos when ever I want, wherever I want and I am not limited to just a local audience, the Internet is a global platform. So far I’ve managed to maintain and sustain my career because of social media.
You were born in Luanda, Angola but before moving to Johannesburg, South Africa. How is that working out for you?
I was very young, so the adjustment really wasn’t that hard. I’m more in tune with South African culture and ways because I was raised in SA.
What are your must visit travel destinations?
1. Tokyo, Japan
I have always wanted to see and experience these places since I was a kid.
Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?
1. Your hair is very important, it’s usually the 1st thing people notice. Take pride in it.
2. Shoes, you always have to have on a good pair of shoes. Your choice in shoes says a lot about your character.
3. A good pair of underwear, I like for my underwear to either match my shirt or my pants. That’s just my thing.
4. A good pair of jeans is a must, good quality, the right colour and right stitching. I need a good comfortable pair of jeans. The joggers at Diesel are my favourite.
5. Your choice of jackets,be daring with the choice. Choose cool colours, patterns and designs. Don’t go for what’s common.
How would you describe your style?
Unique to my shape. I wear what’s appealing on my body. My style is mainly based on comfortability, I like wearing clothes that I can wear throughout the day with ease. I usually carry an extra pair of shoes and shirt with me as a safety precaution.
Name your five must have accessories/essentials?
1. A really good Watch, right now the Nixon Re-Run is my thing. It’s both casual and classy at the same time.
2. A good chain, I love neck pieces. Not too big or too fancy.
3. A cool and comfortable hat or cap. This helps with bad hair days or just puts the icing on top of a good outfit.
4. I like rings. The wielder, the better for me.
5. I have nose piercings, the smaller the better. Gold is my preferred choice.
What are your favorite fashion trends?
I don’t really follow any to be honest.
What is your favorite dish?
Spaghetti and Mince most definitely. I love me some fried chicken too.
What songs are currently on your playlist?
Iv got a mixture of alot of things, I don’t really listen to it all though. I’m playing alot of music that myself and my friends make. Right now, it’s the Klymax EP by KLY and some of my own music, both released and unreleased, and Frank Casino’s – Something from me.
Apart from fitness, modeling, what other projects are you currently working on?
I’m a song writer and executive producer, so I work on alot of music for other people. I’m always working on new music and I’m working on my own range of clothing.
Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?
Your dream is yours and yours alone, if your dreams don’t scare you, you not dreaming big enough. Dream big, but work on your dream, get up and make them come true, it’s your responsibility and no one else’s.
Any specific plans for the future?
Alot more work and diversification, I want for people to associate the Priddy Ugly Brand with more than just music and fashion, I want to go into travel and tourism, machinery, production, business and lifestyle markets. Expect to see alot more Priddy Ugly.
Any final words?
Believe in yourself more than anyone will. When No1 believes, believer harder. When in doubt, have faith and believe some more.