Radio rap isn’t much more than a guilty pleasure for me nowadays. There once was a time when I purchased “Like Father, Like Son” from iTunes, but those days are long gone. Releases from Rick Ross, Tyga, T.I., and the like slide by unnoticed, and Wiz Khalifa and Chief Keef mixtapes get glossed over like they were 99% of the swill on DatPiff. But there is absolutely no denying this Rich Gang tape.
YMCMB’s Midas touch brings us this cocky triumvirate of Birdman, Young Thug, and Rich Homie Quan and their high-stepping opus “The Tour Part 1.” Though Birdman only really serves figurehead (pretty much all he does is yell “Rich Gang!” on every track), his flawless touch is everywhere on the record. The tracks tweet and roar with big , lumpy bass. Lyrically, there isn’t much there, but you can barely make out a thing anyone is saying anyway. Just shut up and crank the volume.
Young Thug does his part with staccato verses and a seductively charismatic tone that bubbles, especially “Flava.” But, let’s be real, this album is a coming out party for Rich Homie Quan. He’s the heatmaker in the trio, and his mere presence on the record elevates it substantially. He’s the type of musician who can make any room into a party, and “The Tour” is 20 tracks of him in control. Aside from the opener, “Givenchy,” which is 5 minutes of nonsense, he throws it down.
The other remarkable point of the mixtape is the production, which is energetic and alive. There’s very little variation in the formula here, but that doesn’t make a difference, as “The Tour”‘s producers keep the mood elevated with gangster anthem after gangster anthem. The music, without verses or choruses, seethes sex. It’s debauched and fun as hell. Heavy keys knock between air-tight cymbals, giving Quan and his accomplices plenty to work off of. If this album was an instrumental, it’d still be worth the nod this week.
Since Young Money and the Rich Gang have more money than they know what to do with anyway, they’re giving “The Tour” to the people for free. Stream and download and cruise with the seat way back.