King's Rapper Releases New Tracks

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NEW YORK– King’s student Rich Bailey ('15) is a rapper.

And if that isn’t surprising enough, what’s more – he’s actually pretty good!

In fact, when the 18-year-old from upstate New York first revealed his rapping alter-ego, Empty Pockets, at the annual TKC talent show last September, the feedback he received was overwhelmingly positive.

“[Students] really seemed to get behind my music and become fans quickly,” Bailey  said.  “I had a lot of people asking me where they could download my songs and when the next track would come out.  That type of support really motivates me to take myself seriously and keep putting out better quality material.”

The rapper released his next single a few weeks later in early December.  The track, entitled “Destroy Me,” was a collaboration between Bailey and his friend and fellow rapper from high school who goes by the name "Tron!".  Together, the two young musicians constructed this song out of completely original material.

This presented a new challenge to Bailey, who was accustomed to sampling beats from already-popular songs (such as Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” and Adele’s “Chasing Pavements”).  In the same style as other college-aged New York rappers (i.e. Childish Gambino and Luke Christopher), Bailey covers these soft indie choruses with a hip-hop beat and his own sing-songy verses.

Surprisingly, this unusual musical contrast lends itself pleasantly to Bailey’s laid-back and comfortable “Schwayze-style” flow.  The result is a youthful evolution of music.

For “Destroy Me,” however, Bailey took on more personal responsibility by creating his own beat.  From there, he developed a crooning chorus and an easy melody for the track.  The lyrics were the very last step, and the finished product came out as a clean song about searching for true love.  This is especially refreshing in a genre that has become infamous for empty boasting and sexual obscenity.

Without sacrificing any musical integrity, the track was simple and sincere.  And Empty Pocket’s fans seemed to appreciate this honesty; the song racked up nearly 500 plays on Bailey’s Soundclick music page in under a month, becoming Empty Pocket’s most popular track to date.

And once again, his fans demanded more.

“I think people are able to take me more seriously at King’s than they did in high school, because here they’re seeing me through fresh eyes,” Bailey explained.  “At home, people already knew me so it was like I was ‘Rich rapping.’  But here, people don’t have any previous biases so I’m able to become ‘Rich the rapper.’”

For his most recent project, Empty Pockets released his first full mix-tape entitled “Loose Change” on Christmas day.

The collection of songs was made available for free on Mediafire and has already seen more than 200 downloads.

“Really the album was a year-and-a-half in the making,” Bailey explained.  “A lot of the earlier tracks were very experimental for me, but it was a way to get out all of my old songs and start working on fresh material.”

By listening over the 13-track album, fans can hear the evolution of Empty Pockets from a 17-year old kid playing with GarageBand to a young college student on the verge of breaking into the NYC underground rap scene.

Bailey has been recording songs under the name Empty Pockets for the past two years, but it wasn’t until he moved to NYC that he received any real response.  Now, with his new album and growing fan base, Empty Pockets is beginning to receive more professional attention.

In February, Bailey will be performing in his first live NYC concert at Local 269, a venue on Houston Street.  He has also started working with Atlantic Records’ artist G-Cam, a rapper who, if Bailey keeps improving, may one day sign him on his independent label.

Campus, CultureRobert Punchur