At the tender age of 24-years-old, up-and-coming hip-hop artist Ola Runt has lived more than most. Whether it was experiencing the traumatic violence of Atlanta’s Edgewood neighborhood during his adolescence, which has seen a spike in fatal shootings in recent months, or spending a significant amount of time behind bars, or finding himself in contact with some of hip-hop’s most elite and coveted personalities, the “Brazy Story” rapper has encountered and overcome some of life’s most challenging conflicts at an early age.
After enduring a nearly five-year prison bid as a teenager, the Zone 6-bred emcee began his journey as a creative while dwelling in the correctional system. During his stint in jail, Ola Runt honed his craft before returning home where his father had built him a studio to hinder his activity in the streets. In just two years, the Atlanta artist was able to conjure a cult-like fellowship, develop budding relationships with the likes of Atlanta legends such as Gucci Mane, Young Thug, and more, as well as release two full-length projects in Mama Tried (2020) and Beggin For A Body (2020).
Now, in preparation to release his third full-length mixtape, Harder 2 Kill, Ola Runt is on a mission to become one of hip-hop’s latest mainstays and personalities. With his very own label, Front Street Records in partnership with Cinematic Music Group, the 24-year-old is putting his hood on his own back and taking matters into his hands with or without the co-sign of any other major rappers.
Check out our exclusive interview with the “MobbFather” creator below.
BallerStatus (Dominiq R.): Your father built a studio for you in order to keep you out of the streets. Clearly, his plan was successful and helped propel your music career. If he hadn’t had witnessed your musical talent or ambitions where do you think you’d be at now, if you never turned on a mic or picked up a pen?
Ola Runt: Uh, ain’t no tellin’. I’d probably be back in jail. Locked up. Yeah, that’s something that crosses my mind from time to time.
BallerStatus: In one of your recent interviews you mentioned how both of your parents were there to support you, was that rare amongst your peer group and friends?
Ola Runt: Not really. A lot of my partners had their daddies and sh*t in my hood. The thing is my mom and my dad, they weren’t together though. I was just always aware of my father was. He was around.
BallerStatus: You spent part of your youth locked up, 5 years. Did what you witnessed behind those walls influence you to find another way of life?
Ola Runt: Sh*t, just being locked up, I knew it wasn’t somewhere I wanted to be at. That gave me the motivation right there for me just knowing n*ggas ain’t never gettin’ on and n*ggas ain’t never coming home. Like, folks on the inside telling me to use my talent and do what I need to do when I get out. Just knowing if they had the chance to do what I’m doing they’d take advantage of it. Some of my partners in there got life and sh*t. So, I’ve just been taking advantage of this sh*t, I’m just taking advantage of my second chance. A n*gga just don’t want to end up in there f*cked up.
BallerStatus: You began writing music while locked up, can you speak about your writing process? A lot of rappers now, freestyle their tracks and brag about not writing their actual music. Are you one of those emcees that will freestyle a record, do you need to hear the instrumental first?
Ola Runt: I just freestyle now. I wrote music when I was locked up though. It wasn’t sh*t to do and you don’t have no instrumentals in there. So, I just wrote then, but when I got out and I had instrumentals, I didn’t really need to write no more. So, now I’ll freestyle.
BallerStatus: That’s a quick come up. When did you start rapping officially? What year?
Ola Runt: Like, 2018. Yeah, I’ve been putting out music since then.
BallerStatus: I asked because you have one of those eclectic flows. You find different pockets on beats to fit your bars in. Those unorthodox pockets you find are pretty unique in your music. It’s unlike a lot of rappers who are identifiable by their same flow.
Ola Runt: I appreciate that, man. Yeah, man, I’ve just been working. I just try different sh*t in order to stay different. Like, don’t do what everybody else doin’, don’t make my songs sound like them other n*ggas songs. I don’t even really listen to other people’s music like that.
BallerStatus: I was just gonna bring that up too. Rapper wise, do you have a favorite artist of all time? For me it’s Hov, do you got one?
Ola Runt: Uh, nah, I don’t really gotta artist. Yeah, nah, because once you get to actually get to know these n*ggas, they don’t really be sh*t. These n*ggas don’t really deserve to be nobody’s favorite.
BallerStatus: You had Thug, 21 Savage, and Gucci Mane try to sign you but chose to roll with Cinematic, clearly you want longevity in this game… What is your ultimate goal for your rap career? Pull your hood out? Become the greatest ever?
Ola Runt: I just want to be legendary. Just take this and pull a lot of people up, up out of this. I want to make a lot of other people’s talent visible, I want to put people on, and make a lot of folks a lot of my money. I want to make myself a lot of money. I want to go all the way with this sh*t, really. I want to see how far I can take this, I want to reach no limits. No limits. I’m goin’ all the way with this sh*t.
BallerStatus: Being from Edgewood, the gun violence in the area has spiked recently. Twenty-two people were allegedly shot on July 4th in six different shootings. I believe a toddler was killed, someone’s grandmother was killed. Can you speak to the gun violence that’s plaguing your neighborhood?
Ola Runt: Sh*t, it’s just the urban community, man. Folks tryna make it out that muhf*cka. That’s why it’s really such a blessing (for me) to be where I’m at and going where I’m going. ‘Cause a lot of people don’t really make it out of there like that. Just to know that I’m doin’ something positive is a blessing… It’s a lot of sh*t goin’ on everywhere, but it’s the poverty, man. A lot of the sh*t n*ggas be on though, I can’t speak on that sh*t.
BallerStatus: Since your in this position now, would you be up to start any programs or initiatives to help curb the gun violence in Edgewood?
Ola Runt: Yeah, yeah, yeah! I want to start like a Boys & Girls Club for the young folks in my area. I want like, little programs and sh*t. I want the kids handpicked, for the kids that really need it though. Put them in a little program so it can help show them the other side. Help them travel and just put them in a mentoring program or somethin’. Eventually…
BallerStatus: I’ve noticed a lot of southern rappers like Lil Baby and DaBaby speaking up about the social tension that has taken course over the past year, do you think you would ever release any music condemning the death we see all the time? Whether it be police brutality or otherwise…
Ola Runt: You know what, I feel it, but I feel like some n*ggas just be makin’ music. But I really be goin’ through that sh*t already. All that black power and police sh*t, I be goin’ through that sh*t for real. So, some of these n*ggas just be talkin’ bout that sh*t.
BallerStatus: Anybody that follows you, has seen that sh*t. It’s for real. I was going to ask you about your “Kodak Red” video, you shot that in New York. Actually, I have a question in regards to all of your music videos. Do you have creative control over your video content?
Ola Runt: Yeah, most of my videos I come up with most of the concepts. Yeah, I’ve just been workin’, man. Puttin’ in all the work.
BallerStatus: I know you’ve been working on putting a label of your own together, Front Street Records. Do you have any premiere artists that you want to shout out or promote?
Ola Runt: Right now, I got 24LeftEye. He’s the first artist I signed from Front Street, that I got on my label.
BallerStatus: He’s from Edgewood too?
Ola Runt: Yeah, he’s from Edgewood. We from the same neighborhood. He’s the first one I was able to push. He’s got some music out right now that’s goin’ crazy out there. Yeah, he’s got a record out called “Squeeze.” And he just dropped another record, “Trendiest of the Year.”
BallerStatus: That’s pretty much our time. I’m super proud of you, man. I can tell you been through some sh*t and you want you to keep pushin’ this sh*t bro. I’m proud of you.
Ola Runt: Appreciate it, man. Reach out whenever.
Ola Runt has the opportunity to lead his village and more out of the poverty-stricken streets of East Atlanta. In two short years, he’s become one of the premier acts out of one of the most talented cities on the planet. And while his music is a reflection of his life experiences, past and current circumstances, pain, and triumphs, his main goal is to help himself and his fellowship succeed by any means necessary. If remains as focused and level-headed as he already is, there will be no denying his legendary status when he exits the physical realm. Ola Runt is… a Zone 6 Legend in the making.