Marece “Rich Boy” Richards, a mobile rapper who scored a Top 10 hit in 2006 with “Throw Some D’s,” was in jail Sunday under bizarre circumstances that have some members of the local hip-hop community concerned for his well-being and his mental health.
According to prison records, Marece Benjamin Richards was sentenced Friday on two charges of third-degree domestic violence, one specifying harassment and the other assault. Sunday morning, he remained in prison.
Meanwhile, a clip of video circulating on social media showed Richards involved in some sort of confrontation. In it, a shirtless Richards wears shorts suitable for yard work and holds a pair of long-handled loppers suitable for pruning branches. His appearance in the video and in his booking photo is a far cry from the impeccably groomed style he is known for.
The source of the video was unclear, as was its exact relationship, if any, to the arrest.
“It’s crazy… when you get up [people] be quiet as a mouse,” wrote Elric Jerel Simon, who records and performs as Rellik. “But any sign that you’re down or in a different space, your name will ring like a church bell. Prayers and love to my brother Rich.
“Sending love to our hometown hero!” rapper Bianca Clarke posted on Friday. Many others commented that the situation called for empathy. “I love Rich Boy!” posted a fan. “He was always so nice when he came to visit LeFlore in my freshman year and when he came to eat at Wintzells. I pray that he gets the help he needs. There is nothing funny in that.
Life seemed to be going normally for Richards at least as recently as late August, when he posted a video of himself dropping a custom ’70s Oldsmobile Cutlass for a new job.
Court records show at least one possible reason why Richards is facing difficulties: a seemingly never-ending dispute over collecting a 2008 judgment.
This situation began with a 2005 incident in which an accountant had an encounter on Government Boulevard with a Cadillac driven by Richards and occupied by his brother, Irvin O. Richards Jr.
The shots from the Cadillac left the accountant injured by ricocheting bullet fragments; the brothers pleaded guilty to attempted assault, Irvin Richards Jr. was sentenced to 10 years in prison, and Marece Richards was given probation.
The affair unfolded just before Marece Richards’ rise to fame: in 2006, Rich Boy’s single “Throw Some D’s” rose to No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot 100, placing him among a handful of artists with Mobile ties to ever score a Top 10. The accompanying album, “Rich Boy,” went to No. 3 on Billboard 2000 in 2007 and topped the US rap chart.
It was a career high for Rich Boy, who continued to maintain a relatively low-key, but still highly regarded, position in the local rap community.
However, a civil suit related to the 2005 encounter has begun. In 2008, a jury returned judgment against Richards and his brother for $25,000 in compensatory damages and $312,500 in punitive damages. Since then, the court filing details a long and controversial process to find and seize Richards’ sources of income. Queries about the garnishment have been sent to numerous music industry entities, including Interscope Records, ASCAP and BMI.
The most recent substantive document filed in the case is an amended garnishment document filed in mid-September. The garnishee is BMI, a company that said it manages accrued and future royalties for Richards’ music.
The document says the original judgment amount of $337,500 is now dwarfed by more than $500,000 in accrued interest, with the plaintiff now asking for a total of almost $850,000. A line of credit in the accounting suggests that less than $30,000 was collected.