On July 8, NPR released its latest performance as part of its Tiny Desk series, as Compton based rapper Roddy Ricch took to his custom stage set up in Los Angeles’ famed West Coast Customs auto body garage. While the live music world remains in an idle halt, virtual concerts and shows remain a refuge for music fans to escape to when the unfortunate reality of global pandemics and social unrest becomes too overwhelming.
Ricch’s NPR Tiny Desk performance transcends his talents as a rapper in the studio. He opens the concert playing the keyboard on his song “Perfect Time,” showing off both his musical knowledge and technical ability. Ricch brings out fellow rapper/r&b singer Ty Dolla $ign on “Bacc Seat,” and demonstrates his abilities as a frontman leading a live band throughout the tune and into his third song, “High Fashion.” Finally, Ricch closes with his prolific anthem “War Baby,” fully flaunting his charisma as a performer and his demand of the stage. The whole performances proves that Ricch is ready to be more than just a hitmaker in the studio, and is more than capable of providing high energy and captivating performances for fans, once the live music world returns to its former glory.
Ricch’s performance isn’t just an isolated incident of a young rapper stretching his musical chops through a live performance; more and more young rappers are turning back to instrumentation over sheer production to add depth to their music and win over fans of many different genres. Anderson .Paak, a hybrid rapper/drummer, demonstrated the power of live instrumentation within the scope of rap through his NRP Tiny Desk performance, Tyler, The Creator continues to amaze his fans through his blending of rap with elements of jazz and funk through live instrumentation, and the late Mac Miller even recruited contemporary bass virtuoso Thundercat for his Tiny Desk performance (the duo were set to tour together just before the untimely passing of Miller.)
At just 21 years old, Ricch’s rise in the rap scene was quick, as he released his first two mixtapes in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Ricch released his debut album Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial in December of 2019, and debuted at number 1 on the Billboard 200, and the album’s fourth single, “The Box,” reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.