He just beat Justin Bieber in the TikTok wars, but who is Roddy Ricch?

The rapper's 21, from Compton and he's the new sound of 2020 thanks to his chart-topping single 'The Box'

A great evil has been defeated! Social media is celebrating Justin Bieber’s failure to top the charts following the most desperate promo campaign in music history. Despite shamelessly pandering to the TikTok generation with his single ‘Yummy’, users of the video-sharing platform had other plans and backed a different song in the race to Number 1 in the US. Sorry Biebs.

Instead, Roddy Ricch’s ‘The Box’ reached the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. But just who is the guy who’s managed to put Justin Bieber back in his box?

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Rodrick Wayne Moore Jnr., was born on October 22, 1998 in Compton, California. His early years were split between the rap meccas of Compton and Atlanta, with the young Ricch expressing a passion for rapping and singing from the age of eight. By the ripe old age of sixteen, the future hit artist was already producing his own beats.

But his youth was shaped by tragedy. Regularly confronted by violence, including the death of his best friend, ‘The Boxrapper now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and admits he finds it difficult to open up about his experiences in conversation, instead using music as an escape.

In an interview with Complex, Ricch spoke of Compton’s reputation and how he wants to change it: ‘‘My city is known for police violence and gangs. That’s not good. I want my city to be known for private jets landing in that motherfucking airport!’’

His first mixtape, ‘Feed Tha Street’, caught the attention of industry titans Meek Mill and Nispey Hussle. By 2018, Ricch was rapping on songs with Future and Young Thug and after signing to Atlantic Records released his debut album, ‘Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial, in December of last year. Roddy felt very Ricch indeed when the album debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard 200 in the States, affirming his status as rap’s newest superstar with an appeal that stems from his unfailing respect for his West Coast roots.

Despite the album’s success, ‘The Boxis the rapper’s first mainstream hit and joins the likes of Lizzo’s ‘Truth Hurts’ and Lil Nas X’s ‘Old Town Road’ in owing a debt of gratitude to TikTok for providing that sweet, sweet free promotion.

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But it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Ricch. In August 2019, a verbal argument between the new superstar and his girlfriend turned physical. He was arrested on felony domestic violence charges and subsequently being released on $50,000 bond. Charges were later dropped due to insufficient evidence.

At one of Ricch’s first UK gigs, at London’s Brixton Electric, three people were stabbed in close proximity to the venue. After offering his condolences and confirming that he wasn’t involved, the rapper tweeted about being in danger of a UK ban due to the incident. But will it stop him from coming back and playing live? Time will tell…

 

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