Two years after releasing his massively debut studio successful album Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial, Roddy Ricch is finally back with the follow-up: Live Life Fast.
Instead of rushing to capitalize on the commercial success of PEMFBA, Roddy took his time. He pulled back from the world and kept most of his life-changing experiences to himself. In a cover story interview with Complex earlier this year, he spoke about keeping his life private. “I feel like nobody does it like me,” he said. “A lot of n***as talk that shit, but I just do it different. I do everything that everybody’s talking about. I just don’t show it. I don’t have to. It’s just not my personality. I take trips, I buy this, I do that. There are certain things I have experienced that n***as don’t know.”
Now, he’s ready to let the world into his life a little more, and he wants to do it through his music. “With my next project, I’m going to be more vulnerable,” he told us back in March. “I’m going to bring fans into my world more. I’m learning the balance. Like, OK, I’m not on Instagram, so I feel like I’ve got to bring them into my life more so they can feel me a little more.”
Live Life Fast has finally arrived, but did it live up to the hype? On first listen, what’s the standout song? What’s the biggest skip? Who had the best guest feature? After a couple initial spins, we answered those questions and more. Here’s our first impressions review of Roddy Ricch’s long-awaited new album Live Life Fast.
Eric: “Don’t I” featuring Gunna is my favorite on first listen, and “25 Million” is a close second. One of the best things about Roddy is he doesn’t need a hook to be catchy. He can float a melody throughout an entire verse, filling it with a bunch of sticky moments that are just as catchy as any traditional hook. That happens on every line of “Don’t I.” And of course, Gunna did his thing, too (more on that later).
Jessica: “Don’t I” is easily the most memorable song on the album. It has everything that you’d want from a Roddy Ricch song. There’s a catchy hook, which Roddy delivers with a melodic flow, but he also raps with precision, spitting a bunch of name-drops and other quotables. Gunna also shows off his effortless flow, skating over the production.
Jordan: I’m a sucker for soul samples, so off first listen, “Everything You Need” really caught my attention. This song sounds so smooth, and it momentarily steers us off the fast-paced life of being a famous rapper and brings us back to the crib with a significant other for some quality time. “Everything You Need” has big cozy winter love song vibes, and that’s exactly what I needed more of on this album.
Eric: There aren’t any outright terrible songs on this album, but there are some sleepy moments that bog the whole thing down. A song like “More Than a Trend” doesn’t add much to the overall record, and I don’t see myself going back to “Paid My Dues.”
Jessica: “All Good.” It sounds like Roddy abandoned his own flow to try something a little different on this one, but it doesn’t exactly land. The chorus is too monotonous and a little off-kilter at times. Although Future was the appropriate choice for the song, he sounds like one of the weakest features on the album. “All Good” is a boring track that tries to lean on an easy chorus, but just doesn’t work.
Jordan: He might have said this album has a “no skip policy,” but “Moved to Miami” can definitely get skipped. The beginning of the song is so dragged out that it’s hard to make it through to Roddy and Lil Baby’s verses. And even when I got there, it was weird hearing Baby rap on a dreamy futuristic beat like this. Ultimately, I don’t think this will be a song I’ll revisit.
Eric: Parts of this album are really cinematic and ambitious, as Roddy opens up about his life in spoken word breaks, and many of the songs are tied together with beautiful string arrangements and well-executed transitions. When Roddy is experimenting with melody and telling stories about his life, like on “Don’t I” and “25 Million,” he’s at his best. The highs are really high, but the album is dragged down by its lows (more on that in a moment).
Jessica: I appreciate Roddy’s album rollout and how it continues to stay true to who he is as an artist. Similar to Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial, he dropped the project with little to no fuss. There weren’t a string of single releases or outrageous promotions. He simply let the music do the talking, which allowed us the chance to receive the music without anything informing our opinions. That approach can backfire, of course, but I think people were more open to it since Roddy is typically anti-celebrity.
Jordan: The production on Live Life Fast is beautiful. Even when the lyrics and some of Roddy’s melodies falter, the beats are on point. It sounded like he utilized live arrangements for songs like “Thailand,” which added a layer of luxuriousness to the tracks. Kanye’s influence on him, from working together on Donda also seems evident, as Live Life Fast has plenty of soulful beats and chords.
Eric: The weight of expectations. This album isn’t bad, but after two years of post-PEMFBA hype, there were expectations that he would push himself into new territory and level up more than this. I’m sure Live Life Fast will put up big streaming numbers and there will be a couple hits, but this has less of an initial wow-factor than the last one. Some of the production (like the beat on “Paid My Dues”) doesn’t lend itself well to Roddy’s vocals. He’s at his best when he’s stretching his voice and experimenting with melody over strings, but the more generic trap beats on this album keep him in a less interesting pocket. After a two-year wait, and the success of the last album, the hope was Roddy would take another leap forward and (hopefully) drop a classic, but it doesn’t look like he accomplished that.
Jessica: With 18 songs and a run-time of 51 minutes, I was hoping to pick a handful of standouts, but that isn’t the case here.
Jordan: The worst thing about this album to me is how rushed it sounds and its lack of cohesion. It has a perfect runtime, but as the name suggests, Roddy speeds through Live Life Fast without giving listeners a moment to take in the sights. He opens up about his family traumas just to swiftly return to repetitive cloth talk, contradicting the album’s overarching theme of slowing down life so you can enjoy its moments. The transitions between songs also weren’t crisp, so it sounds all over the place at points. Plus, Roddy basically wasted a Jamie Foxx feature, which should be a cardinal melodic sin.
Eric: I’m a little surprised Roddy didn’t take advantage of his relationships with A-listers like Drake, Kendrick, Kanye, or Travis Scott and get any of them on the album. In a way, it’s cool that he kept his circle tight and continued working with close collaborators like Gunna, Ty Dolla Sign, and Meek Mill, but I would have guessed he’d make the most of his rising stature and work with some of those guys.
Jessica: I’m surprised about the production on this project. There’s nothing blatantly terrible about it, but it doesn’t feel up to par with what we’ve heard from Roddy in the past. There are a lot of new co-producers on this project, and I’m a little surprised that we didn’t see more production from Sonic and Mustard, especially because they’ve worked so well with Roddy in the past. I’m also surprised that there isn’t at least one obvious hit. While “Don’t I” and “Moved to Miami” are my picks for getting the most spins, they don’t live up to the hype of obvious hits like “The Box.”
Jordan: I didn’t expect to hear Roddy rapping this much. He uses more cadences and flows than I’ve ever heard from him on this album, and it demonstrates how he’s really been in the lab honing his craft. He uses completely different rhyme schemes between “Thailand” and “All Good,” and it even sounds like he adopts Future’s on the latter, to better compliment his guest verse. I love hearing this kind of experimenting from Roddy because it shows he cares about his bars as much as he does his melodies.
Eric: Gunna on “Don’t I.” Every time he pops out with a guest feature (it happened earlier this year on Punk and Slime Language 2) it makes me even more excited for him to drop another album. He’s on a roll right now. We need DS4, Gunna! Oh, and Kodak’s verse on “Hibachi” is great, too.
Jessica: Gunna delivered a memorable verse on “Don’t I” that was smooth, intoxicating, and seamlessly blended in with the rest of the track.
Jordan: 21 Savage has been on a tear of impressive guest features lately, including his contributions to one of the best songs of the year, “Knife Talk,” and he continues that hot streak here. Savage slides onto the beat with menacing ease on “Hibachi,” making Kodak’s verse feel forgettable, and he finds another lyrical pocket to utilize. What makes his performance even more noteworthy is that it felt like he still had another 32 bars in him. I also have to mention Ty Dolla Sign as my honorable mention, because if he got more than a minute on the album, he would’ve showed out.
Eric: There are some great moments on here, and I hesitate judging this album too much without giving myself more time to listen to it (if Roddy spent two years on it, we should sll take longer before forming full, final opinions on it). That being said, we’re sharing first-listen thoughts here, and on the very first listen, this didn’t grab me as much as PEMFBA did. There are less moments Roddy is really experimenting with his voice and finding interesting ways to use melody, and a lot of the more straightforward rapping over traditional trap beats doesn’t play to his strengths. It was great to hear him open up about his life more on some of these songs, since he’s notoriously private on social media, and the highs (“25 Million,” “Don’t I,” “Hibachi”) are very high. As a complete album, though, it isn’t the big leap forward that I hoped for. At points, it almost feels like the two-year gap gave him too much time to overthink things, and he didn’t approach this album with as much loose, creative energy as he did on the last one. I’ll need to give Live Life Fast more spins before settling on my final opinion, but on first listen, it’s a step backwards from PEMFBA.
Jessica: It’s unfortunate that people will compare this album to Roddy’s debut, but when you release a high-quality album like that fresh out of the gate, the expectation is that whatever comes next will be just as good, if not better. Unfortunately, Live Life Fast doesn’t live up to the excellence of Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial. To be clear, it isn’t a terrible second effort. It just lacks some of the charisma and appeal that his last project had. This album is too long without any obvious bangers, and the production is lacking. It’s a disappointment, yes, but I wouldn’t count Roddy out just yet.
Jordan: As Roddy describes in the intro, Live Life Fast is supposed to be about how he’s learned how to slow his life down after being thrust into rapid success. But instead, he hastily jumps from scene to scene without giving the album time to breathe. The production is often beautiful, but its lack of cohesion makes the central theme hard to follow. We go from Roddy lamenting about how his time on the streets took a toll on his mental health on “Crash the Party,” back to cloth talk without any buffer on “No Way.” He opens the album by talking about how he wants to take more care of his time, then proceeds to do the opposite, rushing through some of the album’s best moments, like Ty Dolla Sign on “Slow It Down,” which deserves an extended version. Despite its best moments, Live Life Fast never fell into a comfortable groove. Roddy had just turned 21 when he dropped Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial in 2019, and Live Life Fast makes it clear that he has done a lot more living since then, but he’s still learning how to convey all of these news stories clearly and concisely.