Rich the Kid

Rich The Kid Stunts Fantastically On Rich Forever 2

The Atlanta rapper's joint project with rising Chicago star Famous Dex is full of excitable energy

Famous Dex and Rich the Kid are still Snapchat newbies, but close observers of the two rappers' social media styles will notice a distinct difference between them. Where Famous Dex never stops snapping — shopping at a Gucci store, driving around Los Angeles, or putting in late-night studio time — Rich the Kid is more selective with the glimpses into his life. This means that while the Chicago-Atlanta duo are more or less attached at the hip, frequently appearing in each other’s snaps, Rich ends up feeling like a side character in Dex’s world rather than the protagonist of his own. It's a surprising role reversal given their music, where Rich has developed a ringleader persona that's made him a crucial tastemaker in the world where trap heroes like Migos and SoundCloud favorites like Lil Yachty meet.

Last week, Rich the Kid released his latest mixtape, Rich Forever 2, which heavily features Dex and is named after the label that Rich the Kid runs (and where Dex is one of the star artists). The project picks up on the advances made on Rich's last solo tape, this spring's Trap Talk, where he worked through the numerous ways to interpret trap as a genre in 2016, collaborating with both veteran producer Zaytoven and newcomer rapper 21 Savage. Rich Forever 2 is more stylistically direct, teeming with bouncy hooks: Its best moments come when Rich and Dex let the ad-libs fly and the twisted production carry the track. The 15-second opening to "That Way," where Dex’s phrases ("You gon’ understand me one day") are met with interjections from Rich ("Yeah, for real!"), is a perfect example of how they overstuff moments that are already high-energy to glorious effect.

Rich the Kid harnesses the same frantic energy on the Young Thug collab "Ran It Up," the tape’s only song with Rich's name on the production credit. The eccentric Thug frequently pushes the boundaries of rap with his all-over-the-place rapping style, but here his geeked-out, Auto-Tuned guest verse is content to provide a couple laughs ("Sandwich on me ... cold cut"). It speaks to Rich the Kid’s production talent that even an artist as unique as Thug sounds like he's floating in the Rich Forever orbit, instead of his usual vibe of being galaxies away from other rappers. Come close enough, and anyone can be pulled in by Rich the Kid's magnetism.