For Rubi Rose, it wasn’t a matter of would she be famous. It was a matter of when. While the Atlanta-based rapper says she’s “shocked and appreciative” for all that’s come to her in the past few years, Rubi tells BET.com,“I had faith in myself that this would come to fruition.”
Indeed, the 21-year-old has come a long way since she first started rapping for fun in the dorms while attending Georgia State University, which she graduated from in May 2020. Born to Eritrean parents in Lexington, Kentucky, Rubi moved to Atlanta her junior year of high school with her mother and sisters, and she goes hard for the Big A.
Rubi was put on the path to stardom after she was one of the main video girls in the Migos’ Billboard hit, “Bad & Boujee.” But don’t get it twisted, she isn’t just another pretty face. After releasing a handful of singles, her breakthrough moment came last summer with the release of her single, “Big Mouth.” The accompanying music video so far has 13 million views on YouTube and the success of the song led to a deal with L.A. Reid’s HitCo imprint. Boasting more than two million followers on IG, Rubi Rose has been steadily staking her claim in the rap game.
In August, she appeared in the internet-breaking music video for Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s Billboard Hot 100 collab, “WAP.” She followed that up with her latest singles, “POGO” and “He In His Feelings,” which are racking up streams every day.
“I know a lot of people know me for being a cute girl on Instagram and that’s okay, but, I also can really rap my a** off,” Rubi says. “I’m not just a rapper [or] a pretty girl on Instagram. I have layers.”
Fans will get to unpeel some of those layers once her forthcoming debut project launches. Although there is no title or release date yet confirmed, Ruby is in the midst of putting out a new mixtape and gave a teaser for two new tracks: “Poison,” which samples Bell Biv DeVoe's 1990 classic, and “Whole Lotta Red” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR.
BET.com: A lot of people started hearing about you after “Big Mouth.” Did you think the song would become as big as it did?
Rubi Rose: Honestly, I knew it was going to be something. I didn't know it was going to be ‘Big Mouth,” though. That s**t was crazy. It was just motivation for me to really take it seriously and go harder. I was just playing around at first. But once I saw the reaction, it just made me happy and made me go harder.
BET.com: As the child of Eritrean immigrants, what did your parents say when you explained you wanted to pursue a rap career and the nature of some of your lyrics?
Rubi Rose: I don't really talk to my dad. My mom is hella African but she's cool. She would hear about me through other African parents like ‘Oh, your daughter’s on Instagram’ and dadadada’. After she saw that I got signed to L.A. Reid and my music started getting taken seriously, she fully supported me. She is very proud of me and loves her daughters very much. So, we are actually good now. Before, not so much. But, now [that] I’m getting money, the love is real.
BET.com: Women in rap still deal with a lot and are often dismissed. How do you remain seen and heard?
Rubi Rose: That's just the society lowkey we live in. Not only in the music industry but all fields of work are like that. But definitely in this entertainment industry, I feel like girls have to work twice as hard to get taken as serious, and it's crazy. I almost feel like if I was uglier, I would get taken [more] serious. I dunno. You know, people just like to put everything down to pretty girl privilege sometimes. Looks definitely play a part, but it is harder to be taken seriously. So f**k it.
BET.com: You were a part of a big moment in pop culture this year with the release of “WAP.” What was your reaction when you got the call that Cardi B wanted you to appear in the music video?
Rubi Rose: My reaction was pure excitement. I couldn't believe it. I didn't think it was real at first or that she even knew who I was. That s**t was crazy. Honestly, I want to say something. Maybe my friends are haters but when I told my friends about the opportunity, they were telling me I shouldn't do it because it would be her sonning me. I didn't think that because obviously it was going to be a good look. But yeah, that was my friend's reaction. My reaction was, ‘Oh my God, Cardi B knows who I am and wants me in the music video!’
BET.com: You’re gearing up to release your debut mixtape and I was particularly intrigued by the track called, “Poison.” What was on your mind with that song?
Rubi Rose: That I’m a poison a** b**tch. [laughs] No really, we used a sample of [Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison”] and we just literally flipped it. It's from a female perspective. Like I'm poison in some ways but the n***a is always going to come back.
BET.com: Do you have a favorite song from the mixtape?
Rubi Rose: Yeah, it’s a feature with PARTYNEXTDOOR. It's called “Whole Lotta Liquor.” I was in Miami and Future asked me to come to the studio. [He] gave me a few songs and that was one of [them]. Party was already on it. Then I just did my s**t on it. But the song is hard. It's something different. It’s slow, not turned up. Me and him are cool now. We’ve been talking since he heard the song.
BET:com: What has been your favorite celebrity encounter so far in your career?
Rubi Rose: My favorite memory is probably working with Kendrick Lamar. That was cool. He f**ks with my music and [he] had a real talk with me. He gave me some real big brother advice. That was cool as hell.
BET.com: How did y'all meet?
Rubi Rose: It wasn't anything crazy, but through a guy named Baby Keem. We just met and talked. We were going to work in some way. It didn’t end up happening, but we still met up and talked. He just gave me advice as a young person starting off in this [industry]. It was nice and boosted my confidence. I think he could tell or pick up that I was a little shaky and insecure. He was literally just telling me how good my music is and what my potential can be, and how I have to believe in myself.
BET.com: What do you want people to know most about you?
Rubi Rose: That I have layers. I talk about real s**t that I know girls can relate to. When they hear it, it'll make them feel good. Because when I hear my music, I feel like the baddest b**ch and nobody can tell me s**t. I just know that it makes other girls feel like that. I see the videos everyday on Instagram, the tweets on Twitter, and the reactions in the club. Music makes you feel a certain way. I just hope my ladies and even my fellas can take that away from my music.
BET.com: What kind of artist would you like to emulate?
Rubi Rose: I’d like to be as big as Madonna. I'm trying to be a pop star. I just want to be big and I want to leave an impact [or] a mark.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.