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Illustrator of the Streets: Roddy Ricch

Photo Credit: Instagram/Roddy Ricch

With hit’s like “Every Season”, “Die Young” and “Down Below”, Roddy Ricch has been climbing the charts nonstop. However, it is not only because his songs are catchy with a great beat behind it, it’s because he is a true storyteller.

If you take out the popular style of beats he uses, the autotune, and his incredible flow, you have lyrics, the thing that matters. That is not to say, that those other things aren’t important or don’t matter, but the listeners really need to pay attention to what the artists are talking about. This is how they express themselves, and they want the message to be received well.

In one of his most popular hits “Die Young”, Roddy Ricch talks about how a lot of young people are dying day by day, and he doesn’t want to be in the grave with them any time soon, so he does things to prevent it. Whether thats carry things on him for protection, a bodyguard, or moving away from areas where he could be harmed. Growing up in the projects, dying young is very common. Gang violence, robberies, shootings, drugs, you name it. Despite all of that, Roddy Ricch decided to beat the odds. Rather than be a part of the tragedies, he decided to tell the story of the streets

“I ain’t tryna die young, so I gotta ride with one. Stood 10 toes down in my balenciagas. He ran down on a “n***a, that’s a shotta, shotta. Cold-hearted n***a, wet the blocka, blocka. Gotta keep it on me, I don’t wanna die young. I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

In a Genius interview, Roddy Ricch explains his inspiration behind this song, he informs us that the day he wrote the song, was the day a rapper by the name of XXXtentacion died. “Speaker Knockerz, Lil Snoop, you know its a lot of people that was great that died at a young age. So, I wanted to make something in remembrance of them, but at the same time just making people well aware of you know, what’s been going on. It’s like a trend or something, I don’t know,” Ricch said

Growing up in the tough streets of Compton, there’s a certain type of mindset that you have to have in order to survive. “Every young n***a in the hood, or in the streets period, thats their feeling every day. They be like “Is this my last day?”, like it’s a weird kind of feeling, but when you’re in the streets, and when you grew up like that, it’s just a certain type of mindset that you got, it’s kind of survival, it’s not just living” Ricch said in a Genius interview.

The most ironic thing about the music video is, he facetimes the one his friends, the late Nipsey Hussle while the lyrics “Tell me why the legends always gotta die quick” plays in the background. The way he describes death in this song, is the same exact way that Nipsey Hussle died and a lot of people like to make their own theories about this, but it is just a coincidence. Strange, but just a coincidence. Nipsey Hussle’s death actually proved the whole point of the song, it is very unfortunate that he had to be another example.

Nipsey Hussle and Roddy Ricch on the set of “Racks in the Middle” video shoot.

Down Below by Roddy Ricch hits home for a lot of people. The song talks about growing up in poverty in the rough streets of Compton, CA. He reflects on the days when he didn’t have a dime to his name, nowhere to sleep, and was fighting to just survive every day. The song starts off with him saying “Came from the bottom, down below. Remember them cold nights, I was sleeping on the floor. Always dreamed about the Forgiatto feet, now they down below. A n***a got so much money on me, I can’t count no more,”.

In those lyrics, Roddy Ricch is thinking about how life use to be very hard for him, but now since he has become vey successful, he now has things that he never dreamed that he would have. He never thought he would see as much money as he is seeing right now. This is a big accomplishment coming from where he comes from because most people don’t try and change the cards that they were dealt with at birth, most people just sit in their misery. However, Roddy Ricch decided that isn’t the way he wants to live anymore.

Most of Down Below is him comparing and contrasting his life situations, and giving thanks to God for blessing him to make it out. “Just to feed my dogs, I told God it’s a blessing,” Ricch said in the song. “Dogs” meaning his friends, the people that he grew up with.

“Roddy Ricch, yeah, I never took the safe route. N***a came from the bottom, I had to make it out. I was trappin’ in the box, I had to break out. Hurt my soul when the feds kicked down the vacant house. Black truck on the corner, they had a stakeout. Seen a dope boy pullin’ out a Wraith out. Had to get up out the hood to the lake house. The head chef ’bout to bring my steak out,”.

Roddy Ricch is painting clear pictures in those words. The way he describes his experiences and compares them to where he is now is immaculate, and he is one of the few rappers of this generation that will be able to get through to the young people in a positive way. He is encouraging people to get out of the streets and create better lives for themselves.

“When you start getting to a certain amount of money, and you young and people just think you having it. You know what I’m saying? Yeah you having it, but it’s like, I got it, you go get it,”. Ricch said.


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Written by Tre'Oshula Mone't

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