Childhood & Early Life
Ricardo Valdez Valentine was born on June 24, 1992, in Baltimore, Maryland, US. There is not much information available on his family background, parents, and education, except that he is the eldest of the three children of his parents. He had his first recording experience when he was just 4 years old. This happened at his father’s studio. In 1997, he relocated with his parents to Atlanta, Georgia.
Ricardo began his musical journey as a battle rapper while attending middle school. In his youth, the rapper took part in several rap battles, which also included battles against Young Thug who, with time, emerged as a noted American rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer.
He attended ‘Valdosta State University’ but dropped out in 2011, to concentrate on his music career.
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In July 2011, Ricardo signed a record deal with Flo Rida's label, ‘International Music Group/Strongarm,’ following which he left ‘Valdosta State University.’ In the ensuing years, he decided to learn more about the industry. He eventually relocated to Miami for work. He struggled financially. He slept in the studio and even on the streets.
During his tenure with ‘International Music Group/Strongarm,’ Ricardo posted his music on his ‘SoundCloud’ account. With time, issues related to artistic license and management started brewing between the record label and the rapper, with the latter feeling that the label restricted his creativity. He finally left the label after 5 years.
Meanwhile, after living with Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot of the American hip-hop duo ‘EarthGang,’ Ricardo announced in 2015 that he had become a member of the American musical collective ‘Spillage Village’ from Atlanta, Georgia. The group was originally founded by Johnny and Doctur. Ricardo featured in four tracks of the EP ‘Bears Like This Too’ released by ‘Spillage Village’ on July 6 that year.
Ricardo went on to sign with ‘LoveRenaissance’ and ‘Interscope Records.’ On September 23, 2016, he released the single ‘Prblms’ through them. The song became part of his first studio album, ‘Free 6lack,’ which released on November 18 that year. While the song reached number 72 on ‘Billboard Hot 100’ and emerged as the first “double platinum” record of the rapper, it peaked at number 34 on ‘Billboard 200.’ Both the album and the song fetched ‘Grammy’ nominations in the categories ‘Best Urban Contemporary Album’ and ‘Best Rap/Sung Performance,’ respectively.
The rapper found a place on the list of ‘10 New Artists You Need to Know’ of the American monthly magazine ‘Rolling Stone’ in November 2016.
From April 25, 2017 to June 9, 2017, Ricardo, along with Rae Sremmurd and Belly, performed as opening acts in the North American spell of the ‘Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour.’ It was the sixth concert tour of Canadian singer and songwriter The Weeknd, geared toward promoting his third studio album, ‘Starboy’ (2016).
On April 20, 2018, Ricardo, along with Khalid and Ty Dolla Sign, released the single ‘OTW’ through ‘RCA Records.’ The song was featured on several charts. It peaked at number 6 on the ‘Hot R&B Songs’ chart (Billboard) and at number 57 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100.’ It thus became the highest-charting song of the rapper on the ‘Hot 100’ chart. Other non-album singles of Ricardo include ‘Bless Me’ (2016), ‘First Fuck’ (2017) with Jhené Aiko, and ‘Grab the Wheel’ (2017) with Timbaland and ‘Cutting Ties’ (2018).
His second studio album, ‘East Atlanta Love Letter,’ was released through ‘LoveRenaissance’ and ‘Interscope Records’ on September 14, 2018. The album featured guest appearances by Khalid, Offset, J. Cole, and Future. It was supported by two singles, ‘Switch’ and ‘Nonchalant,’ released on June 22 and August 17, in 2018, respectively. Ricardo went on a promotional tour for the album in October 2018, which included opening acts by Ari Lennox, Summer Walker, Deante' Hitchcock, Boogie, Tierra Whack, and THEY.
The song ‘Pretty Little Fears,’ featuring J. Cole, from the album ‘East Atlanta Love Letter,’ fetched Ricardo yet another ‘Grammy’ nomination, in 2019, in the ‘Best Rap/Sung Performance’ category,.
Over the years, the rapper has also featured in tracks of other artists. These include ‘Spar’ (2017) by Dreezy, ‘Waves’ (2018) by Normani, and ‘Only Want You’ (2019) by Rita Ora.
Family & Personal Life
Ricardo made an announcement informing about the birth of his daughter, Syx Rose Valentine, with model and writer Jaycina Almond, in February 2017. Jaycina was featured in the music video of ‘Prblms.’
The rapper once mentioned Usher, The-Dream, T-Pain, and Sade as the inspirational forces behind his music.