This late into December, I would usually start posting my end-of-the-year lists. I decided I had to delay those lists, though, as I needed to hear what Roddy Ricch put out before definitively deciding what the best music of 2021 was. Roddy Ricch is too good to not let him get into consideration. After releasing two widely praised mixtapes, Feed Tha Streets and Feed Tha Streets II in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Roddy started to gain a lot of hype online. At the end of 2019, Roddy Ricch released his debut studio album, Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial, which received critical acclaim. The highlight from this record was Roddy’s single ‘The Box,’ which many people consider to be the best single from 2020. Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial is noted for Roddy Ricch’s ability to fluctuate and experiment with his vocal styles and rap flows; he is willing to push boundaries and not let himself become predictable, and he provides a very refreshing approach to melodic Trap music. Roddy is also willing to use different kinds of melodies and instrumentals than one would expect an artist like him to use; he is the kind of artist who tries to make sure nothing about his output is predictable or mundane. With all of that being said, here is my opinion on Roddy Ricch’s new album, Live Life Fast. Please let me know in the comments below if you agree with my assessment of this record, and also let me know in the comments what your favorite songs from this album are.
Roddy Ricch starts this record with ‘llf,’ which is a brief introduction to the album that almost feels like an interlude. Over an angelic melody that sounds like Gospel music, Roddy tells us what an OG from his gang has told him. The OG warns him not to live life too fast. The goal is always to make the most money as fast as possible, hang out with all the most beautiful girls, and purchase all of the fanciest things and fastest cars. Life has a funny way of slowing you down if you refuse to do so yourself, though, and this OG ended up spending 26 years in prison because of his actions. Roddy vows to try to learn to appreciate things in life, and not live so fast that everything passes him by. This intro closes out with Roddy Ricch and Ty Dolla $ign singing about how they are living fast and will probably die young. It seems like as much as Roddy wants to slow his life down, this may be impossible for him to do. ‘thailand’ is a track with a very cool and interesting melody that one would probably not necessarily expect to hear on a Trap track. The melody from this song is driven by string instruments, and it has a sound that sort of reminds me of traditional Buddhist tunes. I love the fact that a Mandolin seems to be the instrument that is driving the melody; it gives this song an interesting and exotic sound that stands out to me. Vocally, Roddy Ricch does not push many boundaries or do much to me that is memorable on ‘thailand.’ Roddy Ricch’s flow on this song is nice, but I do wish he would have pushed himself vocally and taken advantage of this weird melody. Following this, we get ‘all good’ which features Future. I feel like a lot of times when Future is featured on a song, the main artist of the song will sort of adapt their sound to Future’s. He is one of the Godfathers of Trap and has such a commanding presence that this does make sense. ‘all good’ has an instrumental that reminds me a lot of some of the best classic Future songs. It has a “classic” Trap feeling to it. One thing I enjoy about this song is Roddy Ricch’s flow. The choppy flow and gruff nature of his voice goes very well with this instrumental. Future’s performance on this song is not the most special, but it does contribute to the sound of the song well. Future just does his thing on this song the way he always does, and he helps make ‘all good’ a party Trap banger. Next, we have ‘rollercoastin,’ which is easily one of my favorite’s on the album. On this track, Roddy Ricch pushes himself vocally in ways that other Trap rappers typically will not do. One of the reasons he got super famous, to begin with, is because of his willingness to think outside of the box and fluctuate vocally in unique ways, and this song is an excellent example of that. I also love the bright and vibrant melody that this track has. Once again, it is not something one would typically expect to hear from Trap rapper like Roddy Ricch; it has a very Poppy sound to it, and it brings out the best in Roddy Ricch’s voice. ‘rollercoastin’ is one of the songs on this album where Roddy Ricch pushes himself the most sonically, and he completely nails it. After this, we get ‘hibachi,’ which features Kodak Black and 21 Savage. This track has what is easily one of my favorite instrumentals on this record. It is another song with a melody that has a traditional classic Asian Guitar music used as the riff; it is sped up to match with the beat, but it still has a very calming feeling to it. Kodak Black and 21 Savage are both artists that match the energy of Roddy Ricch very well. They both have off the wall and interesting deliveries and flows, and they sound great together on this track with Roddy Ricch. On ‘hibachi,’ each artist on the song compliments each other very well, making it a very fun and compelling song to listen to.
‘paid my dues,’ which features Offset, is another song with a very interesting and cool instrumental. Roddy Ricch is always willing to push the boundaries when it comes to the kinds of instrumentals he likes to rap on, and this track is another example of that. The melody for ‘paid my dues’ has such an otherworldly sound and feeling to it; this track almost has a sound that reminds me of shows like X Files and the Twilight Zone. One would not expect to hear this kind of melody on a Trap track, but I have to say that it works. The next song, ‘crash the party,’ is another major stand out from this record in my opinion. Again, it’s a song with a non-traditional instrumental, and it is another where he pushes himself vocally. This song has a melody that is extremely funky; in fact, its bassline and keyboard work straight up sound like they come out of an old funk or soul song from the 1970s. It is nothing like anything on this record so far. And it is very refreshing to hear. As fast as vocals go, Roddy Rich goes for it on ‘crash the party.’ He hits those weird high notes he initially became known for, and it adds such much complexity to the track. ‘crash the party’ is Roddy Rich at his best. I have not seen ‘no way,’ which features Jamie Foxx, mentioned as one of the favorite songs from this album online yet, but I do think this track will end up being a sleeper. It is not the kind of Trap song one would expect from Roddy Ricch, and I feel like it kind of hit people by surprise. This song has a Cloud Trap sound that reminds me a lot of artists like 6 Dogs, Yung Lean, and even A$ap Rocky. The melody has a light yet somehow ominous sound to it; the guitar riff sort of has a Latin Rock sound, but it is super airy and atmospheric which is not how you would expect a tone like that to sound. Instead of sing-rapping, Roddy Ricch has sort of a gruff and harsh rapping tone in this song. His vocals on this track are not very similar to what he usually does, but it goes very well with the sound of the track. The Jamie Foxx contribution to this song is on the outro of the song. He asks Roddy to slow things down as he and Kanye and Twista did back in the day on the song ‘Slow Jamz.’ He says he thinks the new generation does not know about artists like Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross, and he wants Roddy to show them how to take it easy. The next track is an interlude called ‘slow it down,’ and it features Alex Isley and Ty Dolla $ign. It is a 54-second track that starts with Roddy Ricch singing: i slow it down when you come around round…’ As the song progresses, Ty Dolla $ign and Alex Isley come in and provide some beautiful harmonies. This is all sung over an old-school R&B melody that sounds like it could come from a Marvin Gaye song. It is cool to see this side of Roddy Ricch, and it shows off yet another side to Roddy Ricch that does not always come to the forefront. Following this, we get ‘man-made.’ This track has a bit of an old-school Trap feeling to it. The style of melody and the tempo of the beat remind me a lot of the Trap music that Future and the Migos got popular for in the mid-2010s. I have to say, the piano work on the melody of this song is beautiful. The producer, Beezo, created an intricate and sophisticated piano melody that is so nice to listen to. I feel like the influence for this song is classic Future; everything from the flow to the vocal delivery reminds me so much of the music on his mixtape Dirty Sprite 2. It is a good Trap song, but it does not stand out too much to me in the context of this record.
When you feature Fivio Foreign on a track, you have to incorporate his signature NY Drill sound into what you are doing. Roddy Ricch does exactly that on the song ‘murda one,’ which is produced by one of my favorite producers, Kenny Beats. The instrumental for this song is crazy and awesome. The beat has a super fast-paced style of Hi-Hats and sporadic 808 drums, both of which are super common in Drill music. The melody sounds like it is provided by a flute, and it has a very atmospheric and almost other-worldly sound to it that reminds me again of early Cloud Trap music. The instrumental for this song has a ton of energy, and both Roddy Ricch and Fivio Foreign match that energy with their performances. They both rap with a ton of fervor and emotion, and these deliveries go with the sound of the song very well. Next, we get another song that has a refreshing sound compared to the rest of the album, ‘everything you need.’ This track has a soft R&B Trap sound that probably feels the most Pop out of everything on this record. It is fast-paced and it has a sweet melody that sounds like it’s played on an organ that reminds me a lot of mid-2000s R&B artists like Usher or Omarion. Roddy flexes his vocals on this song, showing that his voice works as well for R&B as it does for melodic Trap. Even though this song probably is not really for most of the demographic that will be listening to the record, I do appreciate that Roddy Ricch was willing to try something new with ‘everything you need’ and provide a cool switch-up in the middle of the record. ‘moved to miami,’ which features Lil Baby, has quickly risen to become one of my favorite songs from this record. The track starts out with a minute-long intro that is a super interesting Jersey-style Dance beat. It has a really pretty piano melody and a footwork beat, and it sounds nothing like anything else on this record. The instrumental eventually shifts into a mid-2010s style Trap beat that is once again reminiscent of peak Future music. The melody that the Dance beat used works perfectly as a Trap melody, and the background of the melody has so many cool and intricate sound effects that enhance the song so much. Both Roddy Ricch and Lil Baby murder this instrumental. This song has the kind of sound that melodic Trap stars like them excel on, and they both proved how great they are on it. I could see ‘moved to miami’ being a fan favorite from Live Life Fast. Following this, we get ‘don’t i,’ which features Gunna. This is another song where Roddy Ricch adapts to the kind of instrumental his feature loves to rap on. Gunna tends to like rapping on songs with pretty Asian-sounding melodies that sound like they are played on a mandolin, and this track has that kind of instrumental. I will say, in my opinion, this is the first song that kind of feels like filler. I realize that this is a big collaboration so they wanted to try to get it onto the album in any way possible, but at least at this point of the album, it does not seem like it fits in super well. The performances from Roddy and Gunna are fine, but they do not stand out. Compared to the rest of the record, ‘don’t i’ is admittedly pretty forgettable.
‘bibi’s interlude’ is another sweet old-school R&B break in the record that is very similar to ‘slow it down.’ On this 50 second piece, BiBi Bourelly provides sweet vocals over a low-key R&B melody. I like this break in the record because it once again resets the energy of the record and gets the listener prepared for the final act of Live Life Fast. ‘more than a trend’ is another fast-paced Pop-R&B Trap track that is not the kind of song one would necessarily expect from Roddy Ricch. Roddy kills it on this song, though, and once again proves how versatile of an artist he can be. I can hear the mid-2000s R&B influence on this song through the melody, tempo, and flow used on this track. It is apparent that Roddy Ricch must love and appreciate that kind of music. The only thing I dislike about this song is the fact that it is not longer. At 1:36, it almost feels like a tease. Still, it is very high quality, and it shows off a side of Roddy Ricch I would love to see so much more of in the future. The only song that was released as a single in anticipation for this record is the song ‘late at night,’ which is produced by DJ Mustard. The combination of Roddy Ricch and Mustard is always so great. Mustard just seems to understand how to get the best out of Roddy, and it is evident on this track. ‘late at night’ is a sweet Pop-Trap track where Roddy Ricch once more shows off his vocal skills. I am sure that most people have heard this song because it was very popular and is ultimately very good. It is an example of Roddy Ricch at his best. The album rounds out with the song ‘25 million.’ This song is nothing like the last few, as it brings us back to the hardcore melodic Trap sound from earlier in this record that Roddy RIcch embraces so much. I love how intricate the melody for this song is. It has a modern melodic Trap sound to it, with a banging 808s and an underlying bassline that incorporates the melody into it. The instrumental is very brash and sophisticated, and Roddy Ricch’s energy and overall performance match up with it well. On this track, Roddy Ricch shows off the more low and subdued rapping style he sometimes uses, and he also shows off the more high-pitched and intense vocal style he likes to go with. ‘25 million’ is a very good Trap track that highlights a lot of the things that make Roddy Ricch great, and it is a solid way to end Live Life Fast.
When Roddy Ricch released his debut album two years ago, it was lauded for pushing the envelope and not sticking to be status quo. On Live Life Fast, Roddy Ricch does this in a much bigger way, and it has not received the same kind of acclaim(yet). Similarly to Playboi Carti’s Whole Lotta Red, which came out around Christmas last year, I think this record will end up again very well. Casual Trap fans may not have expected or been ready for this kind of experimentation from Roddy, but in my opinion, he nails it on most of this record. It is not perfect, as almost no experimental record is, but on Live Life Fast Roddy shows he is always going to try to be a trailblazer, while still being able to make commercial hits. Live Life Fast is a record that will be a blueprint for a lot of rising melodic Trap stars, and it shows he is here to stay.