There’s a simple explanation for Roddy Ricch’s momentum entering 2019: He’s an exceptionally gifted and charismatic songwriter. The Compton artist, who acknowledges late South Carolina rapper Speaker Knockerz as a formative influence, has unlocked his idol’s rare ability to balance meaningful, storytelling lyricism with an endless arsenal of catchy melodies. Ricch’s ascent accelerated after the release last July of “Die Young,” a London On Da Track-produced single written in reaction to the murder of XXXTENTACION and in tribute to the lives of X, Lil Snupe, and Speaker Knockerz. As “Die Young” climbed into public consciousness in late 2018, Ricch unleashed an onslaught of quality music and high-profile looks, including his well-received Feed Tha Streets II project, a feature on Meek Mill’s Championships album, and a single with masked EDM star Marshmello. With a fan base that’s growing by the second and a rapid output of streaming hits, Roddy Ricch is set up well for a massive year in 2019. —Arjun Grover