Renegades break the mold, challenge the status quo, change the game, and set the pace for everyone else to follow. DESTRUCTO’s 2017 EP RENEGADE [Hits Hard] lives up to that promise, throwing the ultimate late night party fueled by a haze of house, hip-hop and funk.
“That title stuck because I felt like a renegade while creating this music,” exclaims the artist, producer, DJ DESTRUCTO (also known as Gary Richards, founder of HARD Events). “The people that listen to my songs are renegades. The fans that come to our shows are renegades, because they don’t adhere to the formula. They’re not into the pre-programmed bullshit. They’re digging deep. They want something more. They want something creative. We’re trying to mix up genres and do something fucking different.”
RENEGADE represents that spirit for DESTRUCTO. Initial singles from the EP soundtracked 2016. Personally premiered by Zane Lowe on Beats 1 in January, “4Real” [featuring Ty Dolla $ign & iLoveMakonnen] would eventually amass over five million Spotify streams and over one million YouTube views in six months’ time in addition to garnering features from Pitchfork, HotNewHipHop, Stereogum and many more. “Catching Plays” [feat. Pusha T & Starrah] followed, cracking over two million cumulative streams on Spotify. In between headlining and curating “The Renegade Tour”alongside the likes of D.R.A.M., E-40, iLoveMakonnen, Felix Da Housecat and more and performing at HARD Summer to a sold-out crowd of 150,000 people, he quietly assembled what would become RENEGADE.
“I’ve been listening to rap and electronic since the day I became obsessed with music over thirty years ago,” he says. “It’s inspiring to work with these guys, because we want to pave a new path. I’m bringing an untraditional sonic palette to the rappers, and they’re giving it a voice.”
DESTRUCTO turns up with not one but two West Coast icons for the first 2017 single during the timeless nocturnal banger “All Nite” [featuring E-40 & Too $hort]. “We recorded that up at E-40’s house in the Bay,” he recalls of the track co-written with Wax Motif and Styalz Fuego. “The dude is such a genius. He just looked at his phone and said, ‘I was in the shower and wrote this down.’ It became the hook for ‘All Night.’ He even drops this classic Oakland term ‘Maniey,’ which means ‘We go crazy.’ It fit the song.”
Elsewhere on RENEGADE, “Hard” serves as DESTRUCTO’s signature sonic call-to-arms. With a powerhouse guest list that spans the legendary Snoop Dogg, zeitgeist dominant multiplatinum chart-toppers Kevin Gates and Yo Gotti, and rising stars Denzel Curry and Tink, the track merges hyper-charged verses with a hypnotic hook from Gates. At the same time, there’s a deeper message.
“Snoop summed it up,” admits DESTRUCTO. “At one point, he says, ‘Yodo,’ meaning You Only Die Once, so live life. I related those lyrics back to when my big brother Rocker died of brain cancer. Until he got sick, I never thought about dying or even being sick. I just thought I was fucking unstoppable, and all of that shit happened. I think that’s why I’m so fucking manic with the way I work, because I know this isn’t a rehearsal. There is no fucking ‘Later.’ Today could be the last day. I’m doing it all right now. I’m getting it all right now. The lyrics mean so much to me.”
Following their collaboration “Dare You 2 Move,” which ratcheted over three million Spotify streams, he re-teams with Los Angeles spitter Problem for the bombastic and booming “Winning.” Meanwhile, Freddie Gibbs lights up the title track with a gruff, gritty, and guttural flow. Upholding DESTRUCTO’s long history behind the decks, “Freak” stands out as a dance floor burner bathed in late night raw attitude. “That’s a special one, because it connects to my roots of making dance music,” he adds.
Since 2011, DESTRUCTO has dominated the dance floor on his own terms. He went from the acclaimed Technology EP  and Higher EP  to high profile remixes for artists as diverse as Depeche Mode, Giorgio Moroder, Major Lazer, Rob Zombie, Digitalism and more. 2014 saw him introduce his singular solo style with the West Coast EP, boasting collaborations with YG, Ty Dolla $ign, Problem, Too $hort, Warren G and Kurupt. Along the way, he’s touched down for shows everywhere from Australia and Fiji to Tokyo and Ibiza in addition to crisscrossing the country on the go HARD Tour with A$AP Ferg, Rae Sremmurd and Dillon Francis.
All said and done, this RENEGADE remains true to who he is, and that’s why he continues to shake things up.
“The core essence of what I do embodies this vision of late night, throwing down at four in the morning, girls, and getting tipsy,” he leaves off. “It’s all club music at the end of the day. I found the perfect friends to, as Snoop says, ‘Paint it and put a margarita on it.’ That’s the sound I’ve been going for since the beginning. It’s Renegade.”