I was late to friend of the blog Jeff Weiss’ write up of Rittz’s White Jesus mixtape on Passion of the Weiss–and anyone writing about it now is way behind the game–but this mixtape deserves serious props. Weiss, who’s basically the king of hip hop you’ve never heard of says:
Still waiting to play this on a proper system, but after an initial listen, I feel safe saying that this will be an early contender for one of the year’s finest tapes.
That’s high praise from a dude that definitively Knows His Shit.
But who is Rittz? Here are the Cliff notes:
- He’s white and despite there no longer being a cachet for white rappers, dude comes from Atlanta and sounds like the kind of guy that T.I. chills with when he’s not serving time. The point is, Rittz is no joke.
- Dude has balls. It’s one thing to wear that haircut, but to carry the nickname “White Jesus” takes some gall. Not to mention taking the handle “Rittz” (i.e., cracker).
- His flow would make Twista blush. He absolutely rips on this mixtape, spitting at a rapidfire speed but clear enough that it doesn’t sound like a garbled mess.
If all of that sounds very Aesop Rock-y, rest assured that Rittz is a far cry from the stream of consciousness Def Jux star. He sings “You ain’t never seen an underground MC go as hard as me” on “Crazy” and it’s tough to argue with him. Rittz makes mainstream hip hop with indie rap aesthetics. Need proof?
If that doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will.
Maybe the best part about White Jesus is that it never lets up. Not that the entire tape is as high-energy as “Rattle Back”, but he never takes a track off to record the Redemption Song* that winds up tacked onto the end of 90% of mainstream hip hop albums. And at a brief 12 songs the record never feels like an aimless mixtape.
*The Redemption Song is usually the second-to-last track on a hip hop album and more or less argues, “Yeah, I know I’ve been a drug dealing womanizer on this album, but my Grandmama raised me and the streets are tough.” Despite the good intentions, these songs uniformly suck.