Richmond rapper battles nerves with preparation ahead of East Coast showcase


Ricky Antonio, the eclectic Richmond rapper and songwriter whose audit tape earned him an invite to a star-studded East Coast showcase, says life has been a whirlwind leading up to the event next week.

At the Brooklyn conference from June 16-18, Ricky Antonio will audition live in front of a panel of select music industry professionals, including talent scouts, label executives and hip-hop heavyweights, at Mission Underground New York.

The event will be live streamed on and posted on

To prepare for the event, which is set to feature artists including Twista, Cassidy, Consequence and Locksmith, Ricky has been juggling far more than rhymes and his day job working security for the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

He’s also finding a temporary home for his family while their current home is under construction. Meanwhile, he’s on the hunt for affordable accommodations for his weeklong stay in New York City.

He’s launched an online fundraiser for community members who’d like to support his East Coast trip.

And then there is the problem of “having less than a month to prepare and memorize my best verses ever to spit on the biggest stage, lol,” Ricky said.

“Needless to say things have been pretty hectic,” he added.

Despite it all, Ricky says he is, in fact, prepared and confident for the audition and “ready for whatever they throw at me.”

“Always a bit of jitters before hitting the stage, that let’s me know I care,” he said. “I am still excited about what I do. It’s a mix of nervousness and confidence.”

He adds that he’s proud to represent Richmond and “shine a light on” the city.