The problem with a hit record is that sometimes that’s all people want to hear. While 2007’s “Throw Some D’s” made Rich Boy an overnight celebrity, it was the Alabama-bred rapper’s self-financed video for “Let’s Get This Paper,” from his gold-selling self-titled debut, that got him respect. Looking to continue cementing himself as one of the game’s most talented newcomers, the Zone 4 recording artist offers up Bigger Than the Mayor.
Part of Rich Boy’s appeal is that beneath his garbled Southern drawl lies vivid narratives of street life. Check “Out the Hood,” for example, where he details his gritty past as a d-boy over a subdued synth melody (“Daddy said I’m a fool fuckin’ with that dope shit/But I was lookin’ at my pop like he don’t know shit”). Then there are the essential car-culture anthems, like the ode to ridin’ dirty “Rollin Rollin” and the eerie “Monsta,” where Rich thanks the drug game for affording him such a beautiful ride.
Unfortunately, there are only so many ways to kick a rhyme about whips, dope and chicks. So with “The Cars” and “Po’d Up” lazily tackling familiar subject matter, they hardly warrant a second listen. Luckily, RB diversifies his lyrical content on “Haters Wish,” throwin’ a middle finger to envious onlookers, spittin’, “Bitch, I’m ballin’ superhard, like John Madden coachin’ me/It’s gonna be a problem if I see you haters close to me.”
With introspective street rap sprinkled throughout the disc, Rich Boy manages to satisfy his core fan base, as well as the casual listeners who wrote him off as a one-hit wonder. Serving as a proper holdover until his sophomore LP drops, Bigger Than the Mayor presents an effective street campaign for the ’Bama boy to serve another term in office.—Paul Cantor