Since 2018, Roddy Ricch has shown he can be exponentially great with his creative output; especially, in the feature department. From his verse on the Nipsey Hustle track “Racks In The Middle” to “Rockstar” by DaBaby, Roddy has shown up and delivered A+ verses; unfortunately, he has limits as an artist. Roddy Ricch is a rapper/MC with the ability to deliver depth, but as Roddy implements melodic overtures, the song loses gravitas when you hear him missing a pitch. His off-key delivery can sometimes sound like nails on a chalkboard, despite minimally hindering the final product. Though I have no qualms with melodic rap/hip-hop, you just have to have a voice, which Roddy has, but not in that way; it shows throughout his new album Live Life Fast, where he reflects on his misgivings and mistakes and learning from them. His songwriting captures his feeling beautifully – outside some production – that is the definitive highlight of Live Life Fast.
Roddy Ricch never finds himself misguiding his trajectory as a rapper, finding beautiful equilibrium between flex raps and introspective piano-driven raps. Similar to Memphis counterpart, Moneybagg Yo, Roddy never devalues his roots, allowing his music to catch the listener’s ears with his use of wordplay and metaphors. He’s catching himself mid-swing on the splitter since the music sometimes teeters into minimal broad strokes. However, when he gets the fastball down the middle, he immediately hits doubles, triples, and home runs – these hits, fly carrying with it, some of the best songs on Live Life Fast.
For Roddy Ricch, though, there are a few bumps along the way before a barrage of consistency comes at you full force. Some of which come from reflecting the excess of his pride and money-centric gluttony, consuming his riches with women, cars, and trips. Sometimes Roddy comes with these subjects at full force, like on “Moved To Miami,” where he teams with Lil Baby to offer a parallel perspective on an excess of riches. Throughout Live Life Fast, Roddy evokes a sentiment that breaks the molds of reality – he lived that life for real, and there is no glamour from having that kind of JUICE. He makes it evident with a personal and focused verse and flow on “Man Made.” Like “Moved To Miami,” “Man Made” delivers similar parallels with a humbling cadence.
Live Life Fast sees itself reaching its peak when Roddy Ricch flicks the large zippo and brings us nothing but heaters. In-between the few bumps, the consistency of Roddy’s bravado and flows are under the spotlight, sometimes fighting his features like on “Paid My Dues” and “Murda One.” Takeoff and Fivio Foreign, respectively, deliver quality material, especially, Fivio who has been on a tear since he met Kanye West. It benefits from containing vocal gun sound ad-libs that boost the hype meter while never detouring – giving the production from Kenny Beats and Nil justice. Similarly, he gives the Boi-1da beat its due with Takeoff on “Paid My Dues.” The rappers trade bars without skipping a step, allowing it to run smoothly from start to finish.
Unfortunately, Roddy Ricch isn’t delivering many songs, as I highlighted. With a few of these new rappers, they sometimes become misguided as they try to flex in some pop-hitting tracks to keep themselves relevant. Because of it, it starts to show that artists similar to Roddy can’t make anything besides a song for the ladies. But overall, songs akin to pop sentiments come across as corny, like “More Than A Trend” and “Thailand,” which stick to one strength and overly rely on it to carry him throughout the song. “Thailand” has Roddy focusing on his riches with some weak bars like: “My N****s hot like some cayenne.” The song just never goes anywhere interesting to keep me invested outside of the production. The former is a song for the ladies, and it quickly drives off the cliff. It reaches with an analogy about women trying to go this extra mile as people do for a trend, instead of just not caring and being their best. I have no qualms, but it never becomes anything interesting.
With Roddy Ricch behind the wheel, Live Life Fast mirrors what seems like were the decisions on some of the songs, like “Hibachi,” which is just there. It didn’t leave me wanting to return quickly, as the weak interplay between the three rappers (Roddy, Kodak Black, and 21 Savage) was not that interesting. Like living in the fast lane, you are prone to quick and snappy decisions that may not translate well. The album has plenty; fortunately, it never outweighs the hits that will stay on rotations like the previously mentioned songs and others that blend well with others, albeit being minimally forgettable, like “Everything You Need” and “No Way.”
As someone who enjoyed seeing Roddy’s growth, he still has the hybrid-star mentality that doesn’t allow him to key in on central themes. When he flexes, he brings these brilliant parallels, but when he tries to overdo it – listen to “Crash The Party” – it can become forgettable in an instant. The necessity for hitting these central hip-hop bullet points can sometimes diminish the project. Live Life Fast is an enjoyable hip-hop album showing growth, but Roddy still has some room, and maybe the advice by Jamie Foxx about taking it slow stays in mind for the next project.