This interview was originally published on Jan. 18 and has been updated to reflect the release of Evolution on March 17.
Among hip-hop’s buzzing underground scene, there were a handful of voices that asserted their artistic dominance in the latter half of 2022. From Opium‘s Destroy Lonely and Homixide Gang to the fresh-faced leaders of New York drill, Ice Spice and DD Osama, Internet Money’s Rich Amiri has been one to watch — not only in the pluggnb wave or on TikTok, but among our entire generation.
Sharing his new album EVOLUTION on Friday (March 17), Amiri is evidently evolving right before our eyes. Sharing album cuts in “POPPIN” with Lil Tecca and “Salty” in the lead-up to his official debut, the Boston native was diligently yet quietly crafting his career-defining debut since Summer 2022.
When speaking with him via video call in November, Amiri unveiled numerous details about Evolution. However, even he could not. “It’s fire, I don’t know what to say, it’s just so hard,” he said. “Just gotta perfect it.”
Throughout last year, Amiri was mainly focused on feeding his fans as regardless of sound, sub-genre or streaming platform. After putting out his debut EP, For The Better, in June 2022 — produced mostly by maajins and Internet Money‘s Taz Taylor and Rio Leyva and including features from peers like SSGKobe and Summrs — he began to go on a thrilling run of singles that would trend towards Evolution.
With each release being more electrifying and sounding vastly different from the rest, songs like “Can’t Die,” “Dirty Money” and “Keep All That” set in motion a thunderous wave of momentum for Amiri. Experimenting with high-pitched vocals, blissful harmonies and an array of production ranging from cloudy R&B to synth-heavy trap, his arsenal of sonic weapons began to expand. The only thing that any of these tracks had in common, though, were their producers and their method of release.
“I always want people talking about me, I always want to feed them, always want to give them something to listen to. It’s not even really stuff that’s gonna sound like what’s on the project though. Just stuff to keep ‘em fed.”Rich Amiri to OGM
What made this streak of solo releases especially unique is that Amiri would first upload these songs to SoundCloud to essentially test the waters and gauge fan interest. Then, if enough intrigue and excitement were built around the cut, off to DSPs it would go.
This was also a clever way for Amiri to work around samples he used on some of these bops, even if clearances weren’t available when it came time to officially release them. “Usually those songs are sampled so I can’t really upload it,” he said. “But if it’s been doing good I’ll probably just take the sample part out and just upload it, even though it may not hit the same. But it’s like, f**k it.”
The instrumentals that these fans fell in love with during this stretch were all produced by either Taz Taylor or Rio Leyva, as Amiri and Internet Money have built an unbreakable bond. What’s astounding about this connection and cohesion, though, is that it allows for the IM hitmakers to lob a plethora of diverse beats up to Amiri for him to feast on.
“All credit to the producers, for real. It’s just about input. It’s not like they’re producers like others who only make one type of genre or something like that. They really do everything. Versatility is never an issue when you got a producer that can do everything.”Rich Amiri to OGM
With Evolution, Amiri made it clear that he wanted to change very little about this process. Staying in rhythm with Internet Money and keeping most of the music containing solely his vocals, he explained that the album will have one feature (Lil Tecca) and tons of instrumentation from IM’s Leyva. Throughout the record’s 12 tracks. it’s clear that Amiri took his time experimenting with a slew of different sonic elements.
“Mostly a lot of it is produced by Rio, but I got a lot of different producers on there too,” he said. “The songs are really good so I don’t really feel like I gotta force a feature to make people listen to the project. I feel like it can stand out by itself even if I don’t put any features.”
While Rich Amiri continues to mature and grow on each passing effort, his new album is surely the most epic signifier of his stunning Evolution as an artist.
Listen to ‘Evolution’ below!