Hip-hop has seen its fair share of one-hit wonders. Aiming to not become one himself is Rich Boy, who authored the infectious ode to diamond rims “Throw Some D’s.” Initially getting his feet wet slangin’ tracks to Roy Jones back in 2003, the Alabama native began recording rhymes of his own. A chance encounter later that year with producer Polow Da Don led to a recording contract with Interscope. Looking to outshine his highly remixed lead single, Rich goes for broke on his self-titled debut LP.
The rap rookie cashes in on “Get to Poppin,” where his syrupy flow oozes all over producer Brian Kidd’s Bollywood-inspired vocal samples. The hollow snare–riddled “Hustla Balla Gangsta Mack” finds Rich detailing his days as a d-boy, before teaming up with David Banner and newcomer Attitude on “Role Models” to further explain why he shouldn’t be raising your kids. But it’s the raucous “Boy Looka Here” that reveals Rich’s driving force. Backed by Polow’s triumphant horn stabs, the ’Bama boy spits, “See, I talk slow, and I rhyme funny/But I ain’t thinkin’ ’bout nothin’ but the big money.”
It’s just when Rich steps outside of his swagger-driven comfort zone that problems arise. Over Lil Jon’s monotonous synths on “What It Do,” he fails miserably at establishing any sort of lyrical consistency, and his uninspired rhymes about a typical club night come off sounding trite. While the surprisingly thoughtful subject matter of the anthemic “Lost Girls” is a step in the right direction, Aqua’s subpar reggae-infused beat slaughters the positive message.
Luckily, the rising trap star regains his footing with solid records like “The Madness” and “Ghetto Rich.” On the latter, he passionately spits, “Bullet holes in ya house make it hard to sleep/You see the fiends on the street/They want the hard for cheap.” Sprinkled with a few more moments of clarity, Rich Boy has enough hits to make it worthy of throwin’ some cheese on it. —PAUL CANTOR