The current generation of rappers, particularly those coming out of the trap music bull market that’s housed in Atlanta, typically arrive onto the scene atop viral hits. Rich the Kid, a demonstrable talent with his own imprint (Rich Forever) rode into the mainstream on a wave of critical enthusiasm and industry interest atop “New Freezer.” That it includes the holy grail of features from Kendrick Lamar suggested that, yeah, Rich’s made it, but the album that came with the explosive single rarely shifts out of a default rap scheme.
While the Rich the Kid we meet on The World Is Yours clearly considers himself a big-leaguer, the album is short on the deftness and polish that was promised on “New Freezer.” He ably deploys the standard stop-and-go triplet flow across its 14 tracks, but does so without ever shifting from a self-limiting rap model, leaning heavily on concussive, bass-heavy beats and lyrical contributions from a bounty of veteran and trend-setting artists.
The title track is a comparatively honest introduction, lacking in the “yuhs” and “ayys” that soon begin to overwhelm and distract. “World Is Yours” lays out the devil-may-care posturing and slight bits of humor (“No Biggie but I used to trap in the Coogi”) that listeners should expect for the next 40-plus minutes. The clarity of the leadoff bleeds into the glut of trap motifs that is “New Freezer,” wherein Rich gladly ingratiates himself with the album’s talking points: money, women, cars, and big jewelry.
Rich shows off his lyrical styling, but even that remains far from revelatory. While his voice suffuses the album, it exhibits only a handful of emotional states. For Rich, who has noted that he does not write his bars down, but rather, “I just go in there and—boom,” his enthusiasm doesn’t make up for his lack of styles and flows. His insistence on rapping about “money, hoes, and clothes” as Biggie waxed 23 years ago puts Rich in a position to get consistently outshone by the many co-signs scattered across the album.
This is pointedly clear on “End of Discussion,”a dismissal of perceived haters that is piqued by a curious beeping sound and the noise of a money-counting machine at work. Lil Wayne does the heavy lifting here with a bodied rollout of well-paced, self-referential rhymes: “Pull of fast like a loose cheetah/One diamond ring on two fingers/Cheating on these hoes, call me Tune-cheater.” He sounds as if he were running a clinic on the song; a rap alum at homecoming mingling with the popular freshman. Meanwhile, Rich is somewhat adrift in his unremarkable feints. It makes the notable absence of female voices significant as woman contribute little to the album save as unnamed dalliances, anonymous tricks, and forget-me-nots.
The exception is “Too Gone,” a track with a metronomic xylophone trill produced by the Canadian beatmaker WondaGurl. Khalid levitates the song with his crooning, modest refrain about being too faded to connect with someone who wants your affection. Rich, though, continues to assail his doubters while suggesting just a bit of openness: “Really not used to you calling me/I’m in love with a coupe.” It’s the greatest concession to romance as we’ll get on the LP.
However, Rich appears in peak form on “Dead Friends,” widely regarded to be a Lil Uzi Vert diss track. The album’s finale has Rich channeling Meek Mill in the drill rap cadence familiar from his mixtape days. The caustic clap backs, even if muddled, are best in the chorus: “All them dead friends (dead), you a middleman (what)/You a little man (little, huh)/Your money getting shorter (shorter).” Given some direction, Rich’s best when he’s got a real target in his sights to slight.
In an album that touts a reputable lineup of producers and contributors, it smarts as Rap Caviar bait rather than as a collective trap triumph. Algorithms are the new inroads to platinum after all. Still, braggadocio is a trap rapper’s default setting, and the kid may be rich now, but The World Is Yours wants for all of its wealth-inspired imagery and allusions to amassed clout.
The “Album of the Year” Tour
“The atmosphere was charged, the crowd rapped along in lyrical harmony as the speakers quaked and beats filled the room”. The “Album of the Year” Tour starring Freddie Gibbs, Benny the Butcher and Cousin Stizz made its way to Center Stage in Atlanta, Georgia on November 25th. Our local photographer was in the building and memorialized some of the action and highlights from the night’s performers.
Benny the Butcher
The “Album of the Year” Tour
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