Rich Boy - Bigger Than The Mayor

Posted April 17, 2008
Tags: Rich Boy,

Rich Boy’s career is at the crossroads. Ten years from now he’ll either be the first rapper...

Bigger Than The Mayor Album Review

Rich Boy’s career is at the crossroads. Ten years from now he’ll either be the first rapper from Alabama to truly make it big, or just another guy picking up girls by dropping the old “you know I used to famous” line. Frankly it could really go either way. Let’s review: Throw Some D’s was a monumental smash, but recently we’ve seen a parade of rappers rewrite the definition of “one-hit wonder.’ If the public is skeptical about Rich Boy’s future in the game they’re not hating, they’re realistic: Mims, Huey, Plies, Hurricane Chris, none of them have shown any true lasting power. So now, despite all the success, questions are swirling around Rich Boy’s supremely slim frame. Can he do it again? How much of his success is due to Polow da Don? Can’t he afford to eat more? Sometime I wonder whether a hit single is more of a curse than a blessing.

Make no mistake, Rich Boy is not taking these questions lightly. He’s obviously dead set on proving to the world that not only has he arrived, he intends to stay. The release of his new mixtape Bigger Than The Mayor is good enough to be an album for some rappers – though that says more about the low-grade of recent albums than how stellar this mixtape is. Regardless, Bigger Than The Mayor is a production-heavy Southern goliath worthy of blasting out the speakers of the most candy-painted Chevy. Or in my case, a VW Jetta.

If recent hip-hop history has taught us anything, it’s the power of a hot beat and a catchy chorus – just look at Throw Some D’s. Making production lightning strike twice however, isn’t nearly so easy, especially without Polow Da Don behind you. Rich Boy uses Bigger Than The Mayor to flex his own production muscle (along with a little help from friends Super Villain and Beethoven), starting with the addicitve production on Wrist Out The Window. Wrist is built over a series of knife-sharp notes which cascade around an obscenely deep bass line that booms so loud it’s almost enough to mute another terrible Shawty Lo verse – almost. For his part, Rich Boy does just enough lyrical posturing to get by, but not much else. Where Wrist shows rappers apparently still aren’t tired of making the same iced-out track, at least Chevy Is A Monsta puts a new spin on the old wood-grained genre. Monsta’s crushing percussion and horror flick synths are a force to be reckoned with, especially paired with an appropriately anthem-inducing chorus. Personally I prefer my Chevy-lovin production more laid back, like the superbly constructed Haters Wish, but if you like you music deafeningly dope Monsta is here to help.

So that settles it. Rich Boy doesn’t need Polow to drop scorching hot beats, but production isn’t really the issue here, it’s lyricism. The masses largely see Rich Boy as a stereotypical Southern rapper, long on style but short on writing skills – until he dropped Let’s Get This Paper, a lyrically gripping track that touched on everything from the Iraq war to the racist incarceration system. Could Rich Boy have an inner-Nas inside him? If he does he’s keeping it hidden. Rich Boy promised this album would be nothing but pill-poppin’ good times and sure enough he delivered. Bigger Than The Mayor is overflowing with strippers and syrup, and even the occasional threat to rape your mother; what else could songs titled B**ch I Know and Take It Off be about? The brightest ray or verbal light comes on Buried Alive, a track that shares its name with the tentative title of his next album. On Buried Alive Rich Boy’s deeply Southern drawl becomes a testament to the harsh lows and ecstatic highs of ghetto life. Unfortunately Buried Alive isn’t just an exception to the often repetitive “motherf**er” chant, it’s the lone exception. To use his own words, he’s got to be able to show us both how the world is, and how it could be. Ultimately, that kind of versatility is the mark of a true MC.

In the end Bigger Than The Mayor can’t really be used to predict anything about Rich Boy's future. Is he a king in the making, or just another cautionary tale of achieving too much fame too quickly? I can tell you that if his next album sounds exactly like this mixtape, he won’t find mainstream success. But how likely is that? I don’t know Rich Boy, you tell me. You tell me.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

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Posted April 17, 2008
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