Roddy Ricch falls asleep at the wheel on his long-awaited sophomore record, unable to capture the heights of his 2019 debut.
The ascent of Roddy Ricch was somewhat expected but sudden. His single “Die Young” and Feed tha Streets series granted breakthrough buzz. Ricch’s debut album, Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial, was released in late 2019 as one of the best records of the year. Then “The Box” took 2020 by storm, sitting at 1.4 billion Spotify streams and counting. The hit was unprecedented, but the fact it was paired up with a solid album set Roddy as the next trailblazer of hip hop. Naturally, the pressure was on for Roddy to do it all again on his next album.
For an album two years in the making, Live Life Fast is a regression for Roddy Ricch, delivering passable tracks that constantly have their foot off the gas.
After the release of Antisocial, Roddy Ricch expressed his desire to take time on his music. “We ain’t making mixtape music no more. You’ve gotta give it space and time for people to digest it,” he said in a 2020 interview. That is a commendable attitude, given how saturated music has become and how artists must battle for the consumer’s constant attention. But as more time passes between albums, expectations also increase. Roddy Ricch outdone himself with his debut, and that now has become the benchmark for his output.
Despite the time put into it, Live Life Fast is not Roddy putting his best foot forward. The eighteen tracks meander through nocturnal trap beats, cute transitions and various guest appearances to make the record work. While it sounds structured, the tracks miss the key selling point of Roddy’s music: his unique performances. Roddy’s vocals and personality shone through on Antisocial (his creative “ee err” adlib the main reason why “The Box” blew up). On Live Life Last, his singing is stiff and hooks are indistinguishable from the verses.
Live Life Fast tries its best to sound classy. It really tries to “create a vibe”, particularly through cinematic pianos. Most of these moments come off obnoxious; a manufactured quality to make up for the forgettable songwriting.
The best tracks could have fit in Antisocial perfectly. Lead single “Late at Night” reuses the “High Fashion” formula (both produced by Mustard), but carries more of a tender tone. It proves that Roddy is much better when he is singing, allowing his one-of-one inflexions to take control, rather than choosing to rap which is nothing special. “Rollercoastin” brings crucial melody to the album, a quality that makes its one-word hook a success. The energy is delivered on “All Good” with Future, bringing memorable verses from Roddy Ricch, while Future continues his streak of impressive features.
But the rest of Live Life Fast lingers around satisfactory. Tracks like “Crash the Party”, “Don’t I” and “25 Million” do nothing wrong, neither are they standouts that you’ll find yourself going back to. The strangest moment of the album is easily the start of “Moved to Miami”, a jazzy breakbeat that runs far too long, and emphasises the record’s obsession with unnecessary transitions. This is Roddy’s second album in a nutshell; an album that had its work cut out before even being released to the public.
Live Life Fast sounds like the mixtape before the album. The colour of Roddy Ricch is missing, from his eccentric singing to the sticky hooks and songwriting that blew him up. If Roddy wants to live life fast, he should at least get out of first gear.
6 / 10
Best tracks: “Late at Night”, “Everything You Need”, “Rollercoastin”, “All Good”