Roddy Ricch: Live Life Fast album review
Roddy Ricch’s uncanny ability to blend into almost any style of rap is his calling card, for better or for worse. Being able to get in where you stand is great for the variety. But there is always the risk of the music becoming indistinct, another identity flashes briefly in the scrambling suit before being quickly replaced. At its best, like on her single “The Box”, her vocal range can make a song crackle with unpredictable energy. At his worst – “Faces” from his 2018 mixtape Feeding the streets II or “Boom Boom Room” from its debut in 2019 Please excuse me for being antisocial– his music is water for the same playlist mill that produces Future and Young Thug clones. When his personality and his versatility go hand in hand, it’s easy to see why he has become one of the greatest rappers on the planet.
But Roddy’s second album LIVE THE LIFE FAST misses the spark that once helped him block some pop star from a # 1 Billboard spot. Antisocial was for him the opportunity to find his place in contemporary rap. INHABIT looks more like an obligation, a checklist of 18 tropes tracks to ensure maximum dissemination. The Flex Anthems (“Thailand”, “Hibachi”) sit comfortably next to the Introspective Ballads (“Crash the party”); the trending features serve the same purpose as the glorified celebrity cameo. Everything is perfectly usable, but competence is the problem. At least when artists like Trippie Redd try and fail to diversify their sound, they take on bigger and more interesting swings. LIVE THE LIFE FAST is static, a roller coaster running on a straight track.
It doesn’t help that so many of the scenarios Roddy recreates are dull retreads. Some barely evolve beyond the basic clichés. “Got to watch out for those snitches, i got to watch out for these bitches / Got to whisper to you niggas cause all the hate niggas might just hear me,” he said on “Crash the party”, only ringing halfway. engaged. The checkmark for “everything is fine” is a recap of all the positive things in her life, delivered like a hastily written shopping list. The malleability of Roddy’s voice turns against him as he settles into this faceless posture. Her Brooklyn exercise attempt on “murda one” is hollow compared to guest Fivio Foreign’s effortless verse on the backend. He channels Juice WRLD’s moans on “More Than a Trend” and Young Thug on several songs that are more like the Great Value-branded versions of other artists’ styles.
Missteps are frustrating because a handful of moments over INHABIT showcase the magic Roddy can do. The sometimes clever turn of phrase (“I got niggas going through Murder, why are they sipping red rum?” From “Rollercoastin”) or the catchy melody (“late night”) are working overtime to keep up. the record together. The voiceless drum and bass interlude that begins “moved to miami” – produced by Lexx Deathstar and Lucas Padulo – deserved a line to compliment it. The second track “Thailand” is the one that comes closest to the album to have a hit as undeniable as “The Box”: the bars are not great (“Open up her tonsils like she at the dentist”), but the melody is bouncy, the flow is irregular and Roddy fits into the pockets of Southside’s rhythm like water filling an ice cube tray.
Yet the isolated moments of greatness through LIVE THE LIFE FAST only draw attention to how tasteless the rest of the project feels. At the end of “no way”, Jamie Foxx shows up to congratulate Roddy on his success. It would be a touching move if the actor-musician didn’t follow up by asking Roddy to slow down, citing his own hook from the 2003 Kanye West and Twista hit “Slow Jamz”: “I don’t think those motherfuckers know Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross or a little Anita. Roddy follows the request with a 54-second interlude called – what else – “slow down.” Most of LIVE THE LIFE FAST is played with this kind of energy: forced, obvious, his best ideas obscured in a haze of complacency.
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