Among the new generation of stars taking over rap, Compton’s Roddy Ricch has quickly emerged as one to watch.
His breakthrough moment came in 2018 with the release of his acclaimed mixtape, Feed Tha Streets II. The release was embedded with “Die Young,” which Roddy penned the night that XXXTentacion passed away in June of that same year. The song unexpectedly blew up, and the rapper hasn’t slowed down since.
In December of 2019, the 21-year-old artist dropped his highly anticipated debut studio album, Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, which rapidly took over the Billboard chart following the viral success of his single, “The Box,” on TikTok.
Come 2020, Roddy nabbed three Grammy nominations for his DJ Mustard-produced track “Ballin’” and Nipsey Hussle’s “Racks in the Middle,” which he was featured on, taking home the award for Best Rap Performance for the latter at the at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.
And now, Roddy is slated to perform at the 2020 BET Awards where he’s nominated across four different categories: Album of the Year, Best Male Hip-Hop Artist, Best New Artist and Video of the Year (“The Box”). Here are seven facts you should know about the rising rap star ahead of his performance this Sunday (June 28), which will be broadcast virtually.
Roddy Ricch started rapping when he was 8 years old, but didn’t start taking it seriously until he was 16.
“I bought some equipment and then I started recording real heavy, in my room, when I was like 16. I was just playin’ with it,” he told XXL. His best friend encouraged him to take music seriously. “Before he went to jail, he told me, ‘Roddy, chase the bag, do what you gotta do, put this before anything,” Roddy recollected to the publication. “I looked up to him, 'cause he was getting money before me.”
Unfortunately, right when “Die Young” was blowing up, the same friend passed away. Roddy opened up about the impact of his friend’s death to Rolling Stone in 2019, saying “That moment made me feel like life is a test. My whole life changed positively and negatively. I can’t celebrate with this man ever in my life again.”
Kendrick Lamar played a pivotal in Roddy's decision to seriously consider a rap career.
“He went to my mama church,” Roddy revealed to Rolling Stone in December 2019. “Just randomly, I went one day, and he was there with his people. This was before Swimming Pools had came out. I had rapped for him and he told me, ‘You going to be somebody in the world.’”
Roddy cites Lil Wayne, Young Thug, and Future as his biggest influences.
Although he’s from the West Coast, childhood summer trips to Chicago and Atlanta introduced Roddy to the stylistic inflections of these regions that he gravitated to in middle school. Once he began rapping himself, he was inspired by the creativity displayed by Lil Wayne, Young Thug and Future.
“With Wayne, I can say it was more of the double entendre, the bars. With Future, it was the way he attacked music. He always just figured out a way to speak about his lifestyle. It was so different, even though it might have been the same thing that everyone who was coming up with him was experiencing, he spoke about it in such a way where you can just see it. It was just visual,” he explained to Billboard last year. “With Thug, it was his melodies and how he attacked his music. With all them three and just hearing music, helped me when I was making mine.”
Even Roddy was surprised by the breakout success of “The Box.”
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the rapper said he didn’t even approach making his album with a specific single in mind, telling the entertainment magazine, “I don’t even believe in singles like that, bro. I believe in full albums, and whatever comes out of those full albums will come. I really just wanted to put out songs with people that I was rocking with.”
He also came up with the song’s iconic hook off the top of his head at 6 a.m. in the studio, which producer Keefa Black detailed on Twitter.
His debut album pulled off a rare chart feat on Billboard.
Upon its release, the album rapidly took over the Billboard 200 chart, catapulted by the viral success of “The Box,” where it became the longest-running No. 1 debut rap album in nearly two decades since 50 Cent’s 2003 seminal Get Rich or Die Tryin’, according to TIME.
He considered Nipsey Hussle his brother-in-rhyme.
The two rappers reportedly new each other for years, and became closer to one another after musically linking up on “Racks On The Middle,” which was released on Hussle’s Grammy-nominated studio album, Victory Lap. It was the first and last time they got to work together after Hussle was slain in March 2019. That single went on to be nominated and win a Grammy for Best Rap Performance. Roddy called the accolade “bittersweet” in a profile for Rolling Stone, saying, “My brother is not here to share that with me. That’s his first platinum single. We did that together. N***a, that hurt me…But at the same time, that’s life.”
Roddy is also close to DJ Mustard, who he frequently collaborates with, and Meek Mill.
Roddy doesn’t write any of his lyrics down before recording.
He says he goes into the studio and lets out whatever innermost thoughts and emotions based on how he’s feeling at the time. “When I’m in that mode and that feeling in the studio, I can sit there and really visualize what I was hearing and seeing, ‘What was I doing? What was I eating? What I was watching?’ But I couldn’t sit up here and tell you that s**t. I just couldn’t,” he explained to Complex.
Be sure to tune into the BET Awards ‘20 on Sunday June 28 8/7.