Let’s get this out of the way: Nowhere on his self-titled debut album does Rich Boy touch upon anything as captivating as “Throw Some D’s.” By now you’ve heard that song more times than you care to count, and you’ve either dismissed it as boilerplate reprehensible product-rap circa 2007 (which it is) or embraced it as yet another example of how great a self-contained three-and-a-half-minute pop song can be.
Without overstating it, it’s the same sentiment behind John Peel and his undying embrace of the Undertones “Teenage Kicks.” For Peel, or Lester Bangs with the Count Five’s “Psychotic Reactions” and the Yardbirds’ “I’m a Man,” pop music was always about the single over the album — that indefinable click when the gears locked into place. “Throw Some D’s” may fall by the wayside in the annals of pop music, but for now everything about it — the silly Switch sample (“I used to think about imma-ture things . . .”); Polow da Don’s irrepressibly bouncy, swooping beat; the way Rich Boy crams as many words into a couplet as his clipped Mobile, Alabama drawl allows — just clicks into gear.
And from there it’s predestined that the album is a snooze. It would be asking too much for anyone, especially a twenty-two-year-old kid from Bumfuck, Alabama, to go shot for shot with the unfettered vibes of “Throw Some D’s” throughout a whole album. So if “Throw Some D’s” is “club banger” at its best, the rest of Rich Boy is a trite checklist of commercial rap — the lover-boy antics of “Touch That Ass,” the street saga of “Lost Girls” — not necessarily at its worst but at its all-too-common middling indifference.
Closer “Let’s Get This Paper” — an epic, frustrated greed-is-good rant — is the second-most-compelling moment of the album; high-hat rolls and ghostly choir vocals drown Rich Boy as he vents, before the track switches up to a nostalgic piano outro. It’s reminiscent of the end-of-the-party vibes of the Game’s “Why You Hate the Game,” and it’s a good look for celebratory rap albums.
But next up is the tacked-on “Throw Some D’s” remix, and before Andre 3000 is halfway through his opening couplet — “Ain’t a ‘hood nigga but a nigga from the hoo-ed/see Momma stayed on me so I turned out pretty goo-ed” — we remember why we’re really here.