More than a year after the tragic death of rapper Riky Rick, his family has released a new single in his honour. The single, titled “Stronger,” was created using artificial intelligence and features Riky’s own words taken from his social media posts.
Rikhado “Riky Rick” Makhado took his own life on February 23, 2022, at the young age of 34. Before he passed, he tweeted his final message to the world: “I’ll return a stronger man.” One year later, during youth month, his track ‘Stronger’ was released through the newly formed Riky Rick Foundation for the Promotion of Artivism.
The Making of “Stronger”
The song itself was woven together by Riky’s long-time collaborators Ganja Beatz, Audio Militia, and lyricist Lebo Machudi. Using AI technology and Riky’s own words, fans get to hear his voice in new music one more time.
The single was released in support and promotion of mental health well-being. It aims to raise funds to support the efforts of individuals and organizations that promote mental well-being.
Louisa Zondo, Riky Rick’s beloved mother and founder of the Riky Rick Foundation for the Promotion of Artivism, affirmed that “Our hope is that the Riky Rick Foundation for the Promotion of Artivism will inspire individuals and organizations to care for young people, for mental health and wellbeing as well as participate in bringing about the changes we want in society – in essence – to Stay Shining.”
Continuing Riky Rick’s Legacy
In addition to releasing new music, Riky’s family is also hosting his music and lifestyle festival Cotton Fest. The inaugural event is set to take place in Durban on July 2 at the Kings Park Stadium Outer Fields and is nearly sold out.
The urban music and fashion explosion aims to showcase the diversities in various popular music genres fusing the gaps within the different local movements of music, fashion and sport. The festival features a hot line-up with 60 of South Africa’s finest young musical talent including A-reece, Asvnte, Audiomarc, Beast, Big Zulu, Blxckie, Danger, Dr Peppa, Elaine, Emtee, Le Soul, Moozlie, Morda, Lucasraps, L’vovo and Professor.
The announcement of the song and line-up for the show follows the release of a book in honour of Riky Rick by his mother Louisa Zondo. In her book “Dearest MaRiky — A Mother’s Journey through Grief, Trauma and Healing,” Louisa expresses her love for her son and the pain of losing him. She tells the story of her life and experiences that shaped her in an effort to understand her life’s path and get closer to healing.
In an interview with news reporters, Louisa shared that “The death of my son changed a lot of what I knew to be life. It unravelled me and left me feeling very lost, disconnected and in unbearable pain. The love generously given by family, friends, Rikhado’s fans, many people who had experienced loss and my spiritual community helped me tremendously.”
Through her book and her work with the Riky Rick Foundation for the Promotion of Artivism Louisa hopes to continue her son’s legacy and help others who are struggling with mental health issues.