Many artists will tell you that success is a double-edged sword. While the accolades and financial rewards are gratifying, the speed at which they come can be overwhelming. Roddy Ricch has successfully navigated the minefield thanks to astute self-awareness way beyond his years.
Since the release of his major label debut, 2019’s ‘Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial’, life has been a whirlwind for the 23-year-old Compton rapper. Among his many triumphs, his Diamond-certified smash hit single ‘The Box’ topped the US charts for 11 consecutive weeks in 2020; he also bagged himself an array of awards including a Grammy for ‘Racks In The Middle’, his 2019 collaboration with Nipsey Hussle and Hit-Boy. Instead of getting caught up in the adulation, he just wants to enjoy the moment.
‘Live Life Fast’ sees him pump the brakes. “All fast things must slow down at some point / Or life will force you to stop,” Roddy notes on ‘Ilf’. This type of honesty and level-headedness appears throughout the18-track record. Whether he’s taking advice from his grandmother (‘Man Made’) or opening up about depression (‘Crash The Party’), his candour is refreshing. It’s not all about material grandstanding for Ricch; there’s a real sense of nobility ingrained in his music.
The instrumentation and overall production are lightyears ahead those of his debut, too. The velvet texture of ‘Everything You Need’ enhances his renowned melodic swagger, as does the tranquil sheen of ‘Rollercoastin’ and the space-age fizz of ‘Paid My Dues’. The white-hot ‘Moved To Miami’, which sees Roddy team up with man of the moment Lil Baby, is flush with innovation, as it switches between boom-bap drum kicks and incandescent staccato pianos, resulting in what sounds like a Jeezy and The Roots mash-up produced by Diddy’s The Hitmen.
It’s a shame that the album’s two best tracks, ‘Slow It Down’ and ‘More Than A Trend’, are more entrée than main course; neither clocks in at longer a minute-and-a-half. Do lengthier versions exist? If so, fingers crossed that they surface one day.
Because ‘Live Life Fast’ finds Roddy Ricch on a creative upswing; his unprecedented composure in the face of gargantuan success is impressive. He recently told Complex: “Time is the most expensive luxury in the world.” It seems that these are the results we can expect when he’s given the time and space to absorb and ponder his achievements. No doubt there’ll be many more.
Release date: December 17
Record label: Atlantic