Grammy Award-nominated engineer JRICH ENT is tired of those with his specific skillset being taken advantage of by labels. From his diligent and tireless work with artists like Offset, JT of City Girls, and countless others, he knows the true value an engineer has when it comes to making unforgettable records. And he’s grateful for the artists who understand this as well.
“What was cool was I was able to lock in with [JT] right when she got out of jail. She was at the point where she couldn’t go anywhere but the studio and then home. She was a real one,” JRICH ENT told REVOLT. “She would ask, ‘You have beats?’ She’d also ask me what I thought of the songs she recorded. Sometimes artists treat their engineers like robots, but it’s not like that with her.”
In this installment of “Studio Sessions,” Offset’s longtime engineer gives an update on his Father of 4 follow-up, discusses the last time he was in the studio with Offset and Takeoff, and reveals how he’s helping to get engineers paid. Check out the exclusive conversation about the future of engineering, Offset’s solo music, and more below!
You were instrumental in Duke Deuce’s early music, including engineering on his Memphis Massacre project. How did you two link up?
Offset found Duke Deuce. He’s the reason Duke Deuce is signed to [Quality Control]. So, I was tasked with helping Duke. We locked in, and I did the first Memphis Massacre. He started to come around when I first came around [QC]. He came around a couple of months after I initially had just started coming around and working with Offset. I was recording for him when I could. When it got time to put that album together, I helped him mix it. I always tried to help any artist that was associated with Offset. I tried helping Duke with his career, and giving him different advice.
Another artist people may not know you went beyond the engineer duties for was Yeat.
Yeat reached out to me on Jan. 22, 2018. He reached out to me, and I somewhat became one of his first managers, and I started managing Yeat when he only had a couple of hundred followers on Instagram. I started adding all my resources and anything I could to help him and his career. I sent him a recording template for the engineer he was recording with. I was giving him different gems.
Did you get some time in the studio with him?
At that time, I was still working with other artists, so we only got a little time in the studio. But when he would send songs, I would try to put a little mix on it and send it back. What I noticed about him back then was his work ethic. He was always recording. One time when we linked in person in 2021, I asked how many songs he did that month, and he told me he did 158, and he showed me the folder. He recorded himself sometimes. He was a hard worker and had always been a super genuine, cool guy. I was always doing whatever I could to help.
I also did a record with Luh Tyler and Tony Shhnow. I did a couple of records with those guys. Those two guys are going to be big. Other than that, I worked a lot with Quando Rondo. I did a lot of records with JT from City Girls. I started doing a lot of records with her. I took time to actually go to audio engineering school in Atlanta, so I couldn’t be on the road with Offset as much. Due to that, I was in Atlanta more and got to work with JT. I worked on a lot of the records on the last City Girls album. I recorded her for “Twerkulator,” “Rodeo,” and a few records.
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Were you in the studio with both JT and Yung Miami?
It was just JT and me. Either Yung Miami has her part and sends it, or JT will start something and send it to her. What was cool was I was able to lock in with her right when she got out of jail. She was at the point where she couldn’t go anywhere but the studio and then home. She was a real one. She would ask, “You have beats?” She’d also ask me what I thought of the songs she recorded. Sometimes artists treat their engineers like robots, but it’s not like that with her.
It’s been four years since Offset dropped his solo debut, Father of Four. What’s the status of the follow-up?
The records he’s been putting together are so crazy. He’s been taking different approaches and spending time on them. With Father of 4, we spent a lot of time on it, but it wasn’t like this. We got records. I like that we go back and forth over the songs we record, and I feel we had a list of 20 that we used to bang all the time. Now, we have a completely new list of 20 songs that we always bang.
It’s cool to see him grow as an artist. Even though we took our time with Father of 4, there was a point where we were turning it in and trying to do as much as we can with not as much time. With this situation, since there’s no release date, he’s been able to dive in and focus on the artistry of it.
Where are you recording the album?
He’s taken me everywhere. I’ve been to Russia. I’ve been to Dubai. I’ve been to Paris. I’ve been to Sweden. We got a lot of work done as a team. But, when he decided to just go to Cabo and lock in, he brought his other engineer he uses, Max Lord, and we just tag-teamed and got a lot of work done. That was a couple of months ago.
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What are your last memories of Offset and Takeoff together?
It’s dope that he and Takeoff were able to work before his passing. It was two months before he passed. They were just chilling, and they recorded a song together.
How has your relationship with Offset evolved over the years?
I’ve been able to grow and learn working with him. I’ve just finished taking a class at Harvard Business School. I was teaching kids. I’ve had his support, and it’s super dope that he wants to see me win with him. It’s past a working relationship; he’s my real friend. I just finished the audio engineering pathway course at PV Jobs in Los Angeles. I had to put together a course where I taught kids Tuesdays and Thursdays [for a few hours]. These were kids from different areas and communities, but there were also people coming [who were] getting out of jail. I gave an introduction to what an audio engineer is.
What’s an unreleased song you’ve worked on that you hope comes out one day?
Lil Yachty did a song with Chance the Rapper and Quavo that I wish came out. I remember thinking that was so hard. It was in October 2017. Yeat also got a couple of records I want to come out. He got a record… Oh, he is going to kill me (laughs).
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What do you have coming for the rest of 2023?
I’m diving into that pathway of helping kids learn about engineering, and about crypto and Web3. I’ve been helping artists learn about the space. I’ve been working on promoting TrackIt Services. A friend of mine founded TrackIt Services, a company that helps when there are big payment issues for audio engineers. It’s hard for us to get paid, and it’s almost impossible for us to get paid on time. Labels force us to turn songs in, so they can release them in a timely manner, and a lot of times, what I don’t like is the whole album will be out, and we’re still not paid. Labels try to leverage the fact that there are so many engineers, so they feel they don’t have to pay us on time because they think an artist can just go to a different engineer, but it’s not like that. I feel artists love to be locked in with their one engineer.
So, TrackIt Services negotiates payments for us. When I first started working for Quality Control, they were only paying me $500 a week. I felt like that was the norm. I once was on a Net 90 for Atlantic Records while working with Quando Rondo. I would drive an hour out there, and they didn’t even want to pay me gas money. So, I would drive an hour out there, get there, be there all day, spend the night, this and that. And then labels were only paying me for the couple of hours I actually reported. Ever since I met Andrew Foah, who’s behind TrackIt Services, he’s been a big help. TrackIt not only communicates between the label but also ensures everything’s done right. He also advances the money, so I don’t have to wait. He’ll collect it for the Net 60 or Net 90, or chase the person down to pay us. So, I’m working with them for the rest of the year and beyond while trying to put more engineers on.