On December 17, 2021, Compton’s own Roddy Ricch released his sophomore studio album, LIVE LIFE FAST. Although it dropped shortly after the two-year anniversary of his lauded 2019 debut, LLF wasn’t able to connect with many listeners in the same way that Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial did. Blame it on the lack of a worthy “The Box” successor,” or blame it on the execution of the album’s theme. Regardless of which issue you deem paramount, the lackluster fan reception to LLF dominated Hip-Hop discourse for months following its release. Since then, Roddy Ricch has been on a year-long mission to remind fans of his musical capabilities. As a result, the Grammy-winning artist is already back with a new project, less than a full year removed from LLF.
Roddy Ricch’s latest effort — titled Feed Tha Streets 3 — is the third installment of his fan-favorite mixtape series and his first new addition to the series since 2018. Interestingly enough, Roddy originally teased it as the highly anticipated follow-up to PEMFBA at the beginning of 2021. As fate would have it, fans received LLF first. Now, Feed Tha Streets 3 has become positioned as somewhat of a comeback project for the 24-year-old artist. Although it boasts 15 songs on its tracklist, Roddy’s latest release clocks in at a runtime of under 39 minutes. FTS3’s length makes for a surprisingly quick listen, and it also gives the project a more upbeat, mixtape feel. That being said, the manner in which you weigh albums versus mixtapes will affect how you feel about Feed That Streets 3.
As an album, Roddy’s latest release is arguably less energetic, interesting, and cohesive than his sophomore effort. When considering it as a mixtape, however, FTS3 is actually pretty impressive.
Roddy Ricch effectively sets the tone for Feed Tha Streets 3 with the subdued intro track “Just Because.” From the jump, he acknowledges the elephant in the room, deading any doubt that he fell off in recent years. In the first verse, he raps, “Had to go the humble route, they thought I lost it.” However, he also clarifies that he never let the backlash of LLF get to him. In the first line of the hook, he recites, “Countin’ all this pape, I ain’t never think I lost.”
While his confidence and confrontational energy add some early fire to the mixtape, “Just Because” isn’t the most captivating intro. Sonically, the smooth and downtempo Ambezza- and Louis Yung-produced track sounds like it belongs on a Rod Wave album. Furthermore, it’s not the only FTS3 song that does. “Heavier” and the earnest tape outro “Letter To My Son” both embrace that slow-burning, melancholic vibe as well, and to be fair, Roddy Ricch sounds much more at home on those two tracks.
In a way, Feed Tha Streets 3 follows a similar formula. Despite the hit-or-miss opening stretch of tracks such as “King Size” and “Blue Cheese,” the mixtape improves as it progresses. For instance, “Favor For A Favor” is the fifth track on the tape, and it’s a decent melodic tune. However, the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted 12th track “#1 Freak” — while similarly melodic and slow-paced — is far more dynamic and enjoyable. Another example of comparable songs with noticeably different quality levels is “Twin” with Lil Durk and “Pressure.” While the former is a solid high-energy effort, the latter follows a similar sonic formula and produces a far more fun, memorable, and exciting result.
With that said, most of the songs from “Aston Martin Truck” to the end of the tape are great. From that point on, listeners are treated to hard-hitting, whip-ready bangers like “Get Swept,” “Stop Breathing,” “Pressure,” and “No Rest.” What’s more, the smoother tracks at the end of the project, from “Fade Away” to “#1 Freak,” hit just as hard. Meanwhile, one song that finds itself somewhere in between those two sonic realms is “Belly of the Beast.” A true standout cut from Feed Tha Streets 3, the ninth track encapsulates everything that fans love about Roddy Ricch. From the infectious hook and quotable bars to the imaginative and colorful Beezo and Slizer production, “Belly of the Beast” is an anthem in the making. Without a doubt, tracks like “Pressure,” “Fade Away,” and “Belly of the Beast” bring balance to FTS3’s final stretch.
All things considered, Feed Tha Streets 3 is a commendable offering from one of Hip-Hop’s brightest young talents. Although it’s not polished or sequenced well enough to make for a great album, FTS3 thrives as a mixtape. Despite the promising nature of the intro track, the project does meander for a while before catching its stride. But when it does, the mixtape elevates to a completely different level. Whereas the first handful of songs sounds like half-hearted LIVE LIFE FAST throwaways, the second half of FTS3 blends the best qualities of Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial and its polarizing successor.
Thus, fans questioning whether Roddy Ricch returns to form on Feed Tha Streets 3 are worried about the wrong thing. Indeed, the Compton-bred artist’s creative and conceptual foray on LLF didn’t garner the acclaim of his debut. However, it wasn’t a step in the wrong direction. With FTS3, Roddy Ricch proves that and emphatically puts a pin in the intriguing first chapter of his career.
If you have already listened to Feed Tha Streets 3, what’s your take on Roddy Ricch’s new mixtape? Let us know your feelings about the project in the comment section below. Lastly, if you haven’t already done it, give your own rating of FTS3 here.