Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

Roddy Ricch – The Box

Your latest US #1, all wrapped up…


Joshua Lu: An absolute slapper that skulldrags George Zimmerman going #1 on the Hot 100? Maybe there is hope for this country.

Oliver Maier: Ricch stakes his claim as one of Young Thug’s ascendant disciples (“Memo” comes to mind in particular) with hints of Swae Lee, despite lacking either rapper’s effortless confidence or intuitive weirdness. The blown out percussion and Ricch’s fast, kinetic flows suggest an attempted banger, but the morose, alternating samples render the beat sluggish. I’m over it by the two-minute mark; either TikTok hits have conditioned me to crave brevity in hits or “The Box” simply outstays its welcome.

Alfred Soto: His lyrics aren’t as outside the box as he thinks, but his rapping almost is. Stretching notes, decelerating, or stressing unexpected words, Roddy Ricch thinks on his feet. 

Ryo Miyauchi: It cracks, it chirps, it squawks: Roddy Ricch manipulates his voice in countless fun ways. The chorus alone locks into a Gunna-like repetition only for him to then stretch the syllables into oblivion. The writing doesn’t come close to the oddities of peak Young Thug, but it’s already apparent he has rightfully won the comparisons when it comes to the way he experiments with his voice.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: The squeaking is distinct enough without being obnoxious — bless the mixing. Its presence is made complete with Roddy’s rapping: hearing him hit the same note as that sound (which was actually something he vocalized himself) makes the song alluring; he takes the musicality of the ad-lib seriously while acknowledging its playfulness. He constantly shift gears too, reticent to let any single flow settle for long, but there’s nary a sense that he’s peacocking. Even his warbled phrasing of “Imma get lazy” feels like a knowing wink.

Will Rivitz: “Pour up the whole damn seal, I’ma get lazy,” says Ricch, which tracks: this song feels eons longer than its purported three-sixteen runtime, codeine-stretched beyond patience. That the entire thing feels built around three instrumental loops doesn’t help; the ad-lib, which would succeed if it didn’t take up quite so much space, ends up invigorating for the first minute and aggravating for the rest.

Brad Shoup: I’m still going back and forth on his locked-car ad-lib, but it’s fascinating how it buries the orchestral flourish. It’s a fuck-you extravagance, only coming to the forefront — changing from a miasma to a love theme — in the final seconds. Not to take away from what Roddy’s doing: he’s funny and callous, a hand on the pyramid and an eye to the ground. It’s what you want. 

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: Roddy Ricch’s strength lies in his malleability. He’s got the kind of melodic, compact style that sounds like it could be from anywhere, a post-regional rapper that nevertheless doesn’t sound overly online or detached from reality. Unfortunately, “The Box” is poorly designed as a showcase for his skills. Surrounded by faux-gothic trappings and a distracting vocal hook, Roddy doesn’t do much on the song’s first verse, delivering generic trap verses that don’t amount to much. The second verse works better — he sounds re-energized, playing around with his flows and getting weird lyrically — but he still sounds slightly uncomfortable with the rigidity of the song’s structure. On the rest of Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, he works better when his beats are more organic, with more room for his melodic experiments. But on “The Box,” he’s too locked in.

Reader average: [9] (2 votes)

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One Response to “Roddy Ricch – The Box”

  1. I love your site. But you guys either need more black writers or people who actually, ya know, listen to hip-hop. This being under an 8 or 9 ACTUALLY made me comment.

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