"If you sleeping on me, then its your loss,” serving as the opening lyric of Rittz’s latest project, Next To Nothing, couldn’t be farther from the truth. It comes as no surprise as the Atlanta-based MC would feel this way since struggling to gain the respect he deserves as an inspiring artist before signing with Tech N9ne’s record label Strange back in 2012. Fast forward two years later, Rittz is fresh out the studio with his 16-track sophomore album, Next To Nothing, featuring guest verses from Mike Posner, Shawty Fatt, Trae the Truth, Twista as well as past XXL Freshmen candidates, B.o.B and Yelawolf.

For most artists, the anticipation of your sophomore project can either make or break you as a result of expectations to deliver lyrically and sonically being higher. With production assistance from Track Bangas, Lifted, Seven, SupaHotBeats and Mike Posner, the chevy swerving, fast-paced rapper does a great job balancing out this album with turn up tracks for those party lovers, but also has the ability to engage listeners with cool vibed out tracks confronting serious subject matters like race and family relationships.

Addressing the elephant in the room right away, Rittz challenges people with this album who continue to doubt his ability to sustain himself as a rapper because he’s white. Towards the end of the album is a song entitled, “White Rapper,” produced by Track Bangas, where Rittz revisits past issues with family members who express their concerns with him being a rapper: “Girlfriend and family, the verdict unanimous/To stop rapping you piece of shit, it’s not happening/Now act white and grow up, are you tryna embarrass us?" The Strange Music product even goes as far as disputing his feelings about comments Brand Nubian member Lord Jamar made about white rappers earlier in the year: “I speak my mind even when I’m going too far/ Even though a part of me agree with Lord Jamar/We are guests in hip-hop/I’m appreciative that you finally let us in the crib/But I busted my ass to get respect for my craft.”

Proving that race has nothing to his ability to rap, Rittz shows a much more aggressive side to himself on songs like “LAF” expressing his views on rappers who overlook him in the industry. At the start of his verse, Rittz raps catchy lyrics like: ”You ain't speaking and ya music don't jam/Try to study me like I'm a student exam/But for me to take a lyricist serious/Especially a dude in sweatpants wearing unisex Vans.” Continue to prove he’s capable of holding his own as an an artist, Rittz draws views on being able to sell out tours despite being overlooked for the XXL Freshmen cover twice in the year: “Two years in a row I got skipped on the Freshman cover/Got me feeling some type of way/And I ain’t hating on the rappers they picked but I’m on the Atlanta tour/Selling records, no competition inside my lane."

Whether you decide to play this album while riding around in your old school or on your music device, most would agree Rittz hits the mark with this album. With standout tracks like, “Crown Royal”, “Going Through Hell”, “Living A Dream” featuring Trae the Truth and “Bounce” featuring Twista, the album definitely has replay value and works sonically from beginning to end. With this being one of the better albums of 2014, Rittz has solidified himself a spot within the rap game for years to come.–Jeffrey Whaley