BY HUNTER DONELSON
One of a kind is an understatement when describing the music style of 21-year-old rapper, Roddy Ricch. In just two years, the music industry has seen Ricch compose chart-topping hits in a variety of ways. The Compton native’s career took off in 2018 with the petulant single, “Die Young” in which he lyricizes his concerns and the dangers of becoming a millionaire as an adolescent. Ricch also composed a piano-infused hit showing off his slower, R&B-esque style that he titled “Down Below” to tell listeners about the adversity he faced during his journey to stardom.
“Came from the bottom, down below. Remember them cold nights, I was sleeping on the floor. Always dreamed about the Forgiato feet, now they down below… got so much money on me, I can’t count no more.” – Roddy Ricch in Down Below
In August of 2019, Ricch did a Young Thug-inspired pop song in collaboration with DJ Mustard that reached as high as No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. With a pop, R&B, and rap song all reaching the Hot 100, we’ve seen it all from the young rapper. At this point, Roddy Ricch has made himself a household name, and his debut album did nothing but secure that.
On December 6, 2019, Roddy Ricch released the debut album Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial and it blew up instantly. After just one week of the release, the album is found at the top of the Billboard Hot 200.
“It’s a statement for people who don’t know me. People who don’t know me, if you come across me or see me, I might not speak to you like that. It’s nothing personal. It’s like, excuse that. When you’re a regular person in the world, they don’t care if I don’t speak. But now that I’m Roddy Ricch I gotta go out of my way to say “What’s up man?” That’s exactly the point,” said Ricch in an interview with The Breakfast Club when discussing why he titled the album Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial.
Throughout the collection of songs, Ricch takes his listeners into his life; both the dark side and the bright side. Right off the bat, this is evident in his rendition of Meek Mill’s “Dreams and Nightmares” which Ricch flipped on the introduction track. Much like “Dreams and Nightmares”, “Intro” starts off with a slow melodic, piano-led beat with Ricch rapping about what he had to endure while growing up on the streets. Then during an intense beat shift midway through, he begins the motivational flex including how he’s used those hardships and turned it into success.
In a straight transition from his intro, “The Box” is arguably the best song on the album and has now reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Showing off his versatility, Ricch is on target with new pitches and deliveries on nearly every line while rapping over an instantaneous beat and a catchy background noise that sounds like the squeak of Windex and a paper towel wiping a mirror that caught everyone’s attention.
Atlantic Records A&R, Keefa Black, told Genius Lyrics, “You might not even know that it’s his voice. A lot of people thought it was a sample out of a sample pack.”
Genius Lyrics also talked to Ricch’s producer, 30 Roc, where he said, “Roddy dropped in the studio and started with “EEH ERR” and we all looked at each other like “What the hell? Where is he going with this?” But when the beat dropped and he started rapping, we knew it was a hit.”
With a song like “The Box” it seems hard to beat, but he may have done just that in another collaboration with DJ Mustard named “High Fashion”. In this, Ricch goes back to the more chill vibe. The beat produced by Mustard is close to that of a gospel song that blends perfectly with Roddy Ricch’s deep, light-hearted voice. Once again Ricch nails every pitch, no matter if it’s high or low or fast or slow.
In most cases, Ricch’s imitations of other artists in the genre work out very well. But one that seems a little too forced is in the fourth song of the album, “Perfect Time”. Attempting his best Young Thug impression, Ricch aims for the high notes… perhaps too high. With a normally deep voice, he doesn’t seem to quite catch the note he’s searching for. Although he is able to somewhat save it with some of his low-voice rapping (the standard Roddy Ricch). It could have been a big-time compliment to the rest of the album, making it much more versatile.
Trapped in a generation of voice changing autotune, Ricch has no other choice but to include it in his music in order to survive. Unlike many of his rap peers, he doesn’t abuse autotune. He uses it very diligently. With such a unique, raspy voice Ricch could get away with making music straight out of a microphone. At such a young age, we’ve seen Ricch be successful in genres ranging from R&B, pop, rap, and hip hop. Something the music industry has never seen before.
Overall the album could be one of the best debuts the genre has heard since Travis Scott’s debut album, “Rodeo”, selling over 101,000 copies in the first week. There’s still room for improvement for Ricch, but at just 21-years-old he could form into one of the best artists of this generation.