Tag Archives: Rich Boy

RIP SUPA VILLAIN

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Back in April I was puzzled by Rich Boy’s decision to release a video to an eight year old mixtape track, and hypothesized that perhaps he had come to the same realization I had about his career – that his ’08 – ’11 material with producer Supa Villain was his true golden era and everything that has followed has been middling at best in comparison.  He then did something even more surprising: he put out another video from this same era, and then another, and then another, and then another.  It wasn’t until this final video in the series came out that the motivation became clear.  In the intro to “All I Know“, arguably the best song out of the five getting this throwback video treatment, “RIP SupaVillain” flashes across the screen in simple white text as the beat kicks in for the intro.

This came as a total shock to me, I’d heard nothing about this at all – no tribute tracks, no Twitter shout-outs, no blog posts, no magazine coverage.  Looking a bit deeper I was even more surprised – he actually died two full years ago from an epilepsy condition he developed as an adult.  Maybe Rich Boy just needed some time to process the loss before releasing this low-key tribute, but whatever the reason this put my motivation on full speed to put together a compilation of all their best material during what I consider to be the intersection of their most unique, interesting work.

I mentioned in my last post that this duo could have made an Alabama Yen Lo album in 2010, which was my first plan when wanting to put together this compilation.  During this period, Supa Villain had an incredible knack for creating dramatic, gripping backgrounds with shockingly sparse instrumentation and texture (like Preservation’s beats on 2015’s Days with Yen Lo with KA), especially considering the popularity of Lex Luger maximalism and post-Mannie Fresh hyperactive 808 programming in much of the South at the time.  So my original goal was to find only those prime examples of this specific phenomenon, to make my best effort to Frankenstein together the album I wish they’d made themselves during this period.

When I learned of Supa Villain’s death, my focus changed.  It now seemed more necessary to give a comprehensive view of his work with Rich Boy, not just the select few extreme cases that would have gone on the first draft.  Supa Villain did, of course, work with other artists and had plenty of solo material, but I honestly never liked any of it as much as his work with Rich Boy, so I still kept it to their collaborations for the final mix.  Rich Boy is a thoroughly underrated rapper, and I believe if he’d grown up in Houston, Atlanta, New Orleans, or even Baton Rouge he could have been as much of a star as any hot rapper from those big scenes today, but coming up in places like Mobile, Alabama don’t give you much of a head start on success in the music industry.

The thing that worked best about these collaborations was Supa Villain’s understated but thoughtful backdrops with Rich Boy’s charismatic conviction generating most of the energy and forward motion.  Many rappers need a hyper-energetic beat to ride like a wave to make compelling music, but Rich Boy’s conviction demands your attention in ways few rappers can measure up to.  His words hit harder than the loudest bass drum or clatter of hi-hats on other artist’s tracks.  I would put him in my top 5 rappers who are best at conveying that level of conviction along with Pimp C, Tupac, Boosie, and Z-Ro, and Supa Villain during this period had an uncanny ability to draw this emotional power out of Rich Boy.

Here is the track list for the compilation.  I’ve put stars next to tracks that would have been on that first concept mix so you can make your own little mini version of that yourself if you like.  Download link is below that.  All tracks produced by Supa Villain.  RIP.

  1. Off the Court
  2. Stop Traffic
  3. Cover Girl *
  4. Got Purp (feat. Al Myte & Supa Villain)
  5. Ghetto Boy *
  6. Haters Wish
  7. She Wanna
  8. So Slow *
  9. All I Know *
  10. Convertible Status *
  11. Capuccino
  12. High Designer
  13. Game Proper
  14. The Ruler
  15. Hater Curse (feat. Supa Villain & Playboi Lo) *
  16. Play Day *
  17. Gold Kilo$ *
  18. Da Pacc *
  19. Gutta (feat. Shug) *
  20. Everyday Christmas *

Rich Boy & Supa Villain – RIP Supa Villain

 

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EVEN THOUGH I’M STILL ALIVE THESE NIGGAS WANNA BURY ME

I still listen to every new Rich Boy release with all my fingers and toes crossed that he’ll one day recapture whatever mojo was flowing through his vocal cords in ’08-’11 and put out some truly great music again.  He and Supa Villain could have made an Alabama Yen Lo album 5 years ago if they wanted to,  but instead we just got a handful of songs, most of them too short, before he started the middling string of releases from Break the Pot to the present that aren’t exactly bad but mostly sound like he’s trying to be anybody but himself.

Now it looks like even he might have given up on that dream – here’s a video he released last weekend from a mixtape that he originally put out 8 years ago.  He had no idea how prophetic that song title would be.

Rich Boy – Buried Alive

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DIAMONDS THAT’LL SHINE FOREVER

I know this is kinda old but I’m still amazed by this song; not a lot a lot of rappers can bring this much bounce to a beat with so few drums.

Rich Boy – Play Day

Since a lot of people that I know and love don’t know and love rap like I do, I find myself hypothesizing ways that people misunderstand rap (because that’s obviously the only explanation of them not loving it like I do, they just don’t get it) and listening to this song made me come up with one possible misconception that I hear hinted at by lot from people.  I was talking to a friend the other day about rap and we both agreed that we’d never heard any other kind of music whose artists speak and sing with as much conviction as rappers do, and that conviction is extremely compelling to me no matter what the specific words are.  I think one misconception is that people mistake this conviction for anger, and just hear a lot of harshness and negativity.  There are unquestionably a great many angry, negative, harsh rap songs, but I think that many of them aren’t particularly but get construed that way by people who aren’t used to the kind of conviction that these artists speak with.  To me, I hear the same conviction in a civil rights leader or Baptist preacher, and even though I’m not the primary target audience for any of those speakers (including the rappers probably) and I may not be in full agreement with what all of these people have to say all the time, I am still moved and inspired by their conviction when I’m in its presence, and I think if people gained the ability to discern anger from conviction in rap there would be a lot more appreciators of it.

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I’M A PLAYA, BORN WITH THE HATER CURSE

Something told me I wasn’t going to be able to keep from talking about the South very long on here.  It’s funny, earlier tonight me and Simon were sitting on his front stoop eating some jalapeño pizza talking about our favorite producers right now, and when I mentioned Ray West (remember him from the previous post?), it reminded me of Supa Villain because while they don’t resemble each other much sonically, I find myself often feeling the same way listening to their productions.  My favorite tracks by both of them tend to have this empty, forlorn feeling about them that creates a refreshingly somber counterpoint for, often times, some pretty hard shit.  Even when both of these dudes make more dance-oriented tracks, they still have this spooky, dark, almost gloomy backdrop that I find really captivating.

Just minutes after discussing this with Simon, I stumbled across this track from Rich Boy and Supa Villain’s upcoming mixtape, “High Class & Country”, which unfortunately isn’t the best example of the mood I’m talking about, but a joint mixtape with these two is very exciting since it’s Supa Villain’s work with Rich Boy that got me interested in Supa Villain in the first place, so I’ve got some high hopes for this mixtape.

Here’s a better example of the mood that’s impressed me in the past and gives me hope for the release of “High Class & Country” despite the sorta unremarkable single.

Rich Boy – Hater Curse (feat. Supa Villain & Playboi Lo)

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I GO OUT MY WAY FOR IT, ANYTHING BUT PRAY FOR IT

It’s been a little while since I heard any new music out of New Orleans legend Juvenile, so when I saw he’d put out a new mixtape I greeted it with about 80% excitement, and maybe 20% skepticism.  Time out of the spotlight and out of the studio can sometimes prove to be detrimental to an artist’s style and technique, so I didn’t want to get my hopes up too high for this comeback push from Juvie.  I mean he’s been doin’ this rap thing for a loooong time now.

The Nino the Magnificent final product wasn’t really what I expected, which isn’t to say that I was disappointed, just a little surprised by a few things.  For one, it’s only 8 tracks long, which is, at best, half as long as an average rap mixtape, and in some cases only one third as long.  Not only that, but when you actually listen to the tape, you’ll find that only four of those songs contain actual new raps by Juvenile, the rest is either intro/outro hype or “             Speaks” interlude material, so what we’ve really got is a four song EP with some filler.  But maybe he’s going for quality over quantity, I can definitely respect that approach.  I haven’t listened to the whole tape with proper attention (or speakers for that matter) yet, so I’m waiting to pass judgement on the whole thing until a later date.  I will say, however, that I was very happy to see this track on there, this was one of the good surprises this tape offered.

Juvenile – Stop Traffic (feat. Rich Boy)

I really loved all of Rich Boy‘s material from 2011, I’ve featured some of his music on a couple posts on here as a matter of fact, and while I haven’t really heard much new shit from him in almost a year now, I still put on 12 Diamonds and Gold Kilo$ every now and then and they still sound great to me.  So it’s cool to see Juve jump on one of my favorite songs from that period of Rich Boy’s that I really like.  Much like many of the songs on both of those Rich Boy mixtapes though, this one, I feel, would be even more enjoyable if it was maybe twice as long, or just had one more verse from either one of them on there.  But I am happy to see Juvenile really rapping like himself on this beat, he doesn’t seem to be trying to cater his style to super mainstream tastes, he’s really being himself on here and that’s what I think will make his future material great.  I’ve also heard some examples lately of Juve reaching a little bit and emulating some more modern rappers though too, so we’ll probably just have to wait until his full album comes out to see where he’s at nowadays.  I can’t really say that he doesn’t still sound good doing this kinda Rick Ross type flow though, so maybe we don’t really have anything to worry about.  I’m all for artists trying new things and updating their styles too, and sometimes brief periods of emulation can push you outside of the barriers you set for yourself and expand your horizons, so maybe it’s all for the best.  But getting in a zone where you’re only rapping in an unoriginal style isn’t doing anybody any good, in my opinion.

Just be you, Juvie, we love you just the way you are!

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RAP JOURNEY #6 – FROM RICH BOY TO DONNY HATHAWAY

So after I saw the video for that “Strugglin” song by Rich Boy (in case you missed that one, just check out this post, it was one of the first posts I put up) I decided to look a little deeper into his work.  It seemed to me like he didn’t just get lucky on that one, I had a good feeling he had more shit I was gonna want to hear.  Turns out he does.  I was vibin’ to this track on my way to pick up Matt to get some tacos and recognized the sample in the background from something I’d heard before… maybe a Ghostface song or something?

Rich Boy – Ghetto Boy

I ended up being pretty much right, it was a song from Wu-Tang Forever  with almost the exact same title, but a very different feel, in my opinion.

Wu-Tang Clan – Little Ghetto Boys

I still felt like there was more to be uncovered on this journey though, it seemed like I’d heard that sample someplace else too, in a third (totally separate) context… y’all are probably way ahead of me already.

Dr. Dre – Lil’ Ghetto Boy

Yeahh, can’t forget that one.  Here’s where I start getting sidetracked though.  I was re-listening to this track after I figured out its significance in this journey, and a line from the Dre verse stuck out to me, it comes just a little before the 2:00 mark.  I DEFINITELY know where that gets used.

The Notorious B.I.G. – Things Done Changed

OK now hold up hold up a second, I kinda left you all hangin on that Ghetto Boy stuff though.  We chased that sample through east coast, west coast, AND southern rap spanning a couple decades almost; but where’s the SOURCE??  Behold.

Donny Hathaway – Little Ghetto Boy

Yes.  Mission complete.  Yeah, I know a lot of this stuff isn’t crazy underground or obscure  or anything, but hopefully even seasoned rap fans were unaware of at least one of these steps.  Or at least enjoyed being reminded of them.  I know I had fun.

That’s a rap journey, y’all.  Dig

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STRUGGLIN’ FOR SO LONG…

Ohh damn, this song hits me in a real deep, “Wanna Be A Baller” type place.  Like some Screw Tape type shit or something.  Feel it.

Rich Boy – Struggling (feat. Manebo & Lowlife)

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