Riky Rick opens up about life, family and Cotton Fest

This is a deep dive into hip hop provocateur Riky Rick like you have never seen him.

He is stripped down from his idiosyncratic rap lyrics and overblown cotton eater stage persona that stole the SA Music Awards red carpet.

In case you need reminding, he channelled a ghost creature in an avant-garde mask and high fashion Chu Suwannapha ensemble that cemented his off-kilter style influence.

Our meeting place is at his opulent Waterfall double-storey home that is the kind of lavish property you only see on Top Billing.

The wooden floor architecture is spacious, spotless and smells heavenly. I'm first greeted by exquisite art pieces, but it's the family portraits planted all over the space that gives me warmth.

Rapper Riky Rick at his home in Waterfall.
Rapper Riky Rick at his home in Waterfall.
Image: Supplied

"Welcome to our little sanctuary," Riky's wife Bianca says in a soft voice.

He later comes down the stairs to join us, dressed down in relaxed sportswear.

This is a big weekend for the charismatic 31-year-old musician born Rikhado Makhado.

On Sunday, he makes his debut as the new coach on season three of The Voice SA on M-Net joining Lira, Riana Nel and Francois Van Coke.

Riky is not the only facelift the music competition show is undergoing; Anele Mdoda takes over from Lungile Radu as host.

"When I went into it, I was looking forward to being on the chair and playing the game," he recalls.

"Then I realised it's not a game, it's quite serious. It's an intense process and you get involved. So it got real."

Tomorrow he launches his first annual Cotton Fest in Newtown, Johannesburg taking place over two stages.

For the ambitious fashion and music event that aims to merge both established and upcoming musicians, Riky has curated about 80 acts on the lineup. AKA, Kwesta, Stogie T, Anatii and Nasty C are just some of the headliners.

"I'm nervous. I'm pretty anxious about it. You never know how events are going to turn out," he admits.

"If I can just have 90% of the people walking away with a smile on their face that will be good enough for me and everyone gets home safely."

Everytime he speaks of his wife and two children, Jordan and Maik, Riky's face lights up.

"Family life is amazing. Family life can change your perspective on everything. Change what you are worried about."

"Throughout the fighting and stress, I can look at her [pointing at Bianca] standing there and making a sandwich and say 'I really love this person'.

"Even with our kids, they can be rascals and super naughty, but they will always be the sweetest people on earth."

Before deciding to make Johannesburg his home, the KwaMashu-born, Durban, musician has lived all over the globe - from Cape Town to Vienna. Even he gets a little lost and confused when he speaks about the number of siblings he has.

"I've got like six or seven siblings. It depends who you ask. I used to be second born; now I'm third born. Again it depends on who you ask," he says jokingly.

"My mother and father had two children together - that's me and my older brother.

"Then my mother had two more children and my dad had twins on his side and then there was a son again from my dad's side."

Throughout his illustrious 12-year music career that dates back to his first mixtape in 2007, Riky has given us hits such as Boss Zonke, Amantombazane and Sidlukotini.

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