Rich Kidd may still be best known as a producer, but his first full-length as an MC proves he's also an engaging rap storyteller.
In My Opinion, the new album from producer-turned-MC Rich Kidd, is in many ways a quantum leap forward for the Toronto-based artist. Kidd has been experimenting with rhyming more and more over the last few years, mostly on his Rich Kidd Shiiiiit series of mixtapes. He also released a Juno-nominated collaboration with Vancouver-based MC SonReal under the group name The Closers. On In My Opinion, he takes things to a whole other level, attempting to carry an entire record. By and large, he does a pretty strong job of it.
As a technical rapper, Kidd isn’t going to blow anyone’s mind. That’s not to say he’s bad, but he’s not going to amaze you with intricate internal rhyme structures. That said, he has a strong talent for rap as storytelling, a great baritone rap voice, and a ton of clever one-liners.
In My Opinion is also proof positive that Rich is a much more diverse MC than people realize. Sure, there are songs about girls and making money, but there’s also a lot of deep, thought-provoking material. “The City” has the makings of an anti-gun-violence anthem, and ends with Kidd personally calling on Mayor Rob Ford to spend more money on arts programs. “I’d Be Lying” is filled with weirdly self-deprecating wisecracks, and “What the Fame” is raw, vulnerable, and emotional.
While he’s impressive as an MC, Kidd is still a producer first and foremost, and the beats on In My Opinion are second to none. “The Valley” sounds like it’s about to be big, over-the-top club rap, then swerves sharply to the left and becomes something much more layered and interesting, with hypnotic percussion and a haunting vocal sample. “What the Fame” takes an all-too-familiar Top-40 sample and manipulates it until it’s surprisingly hard to identify. (You can listen to “What the Fame” by clicking on the sample above.)
Transitioning from producer to MC isn’t easy. For every Kanye West–level superstar, there are a dozen Swizz Beats–type near misses (and even more outright failures). Rich Kidd has managed to make the transition seem remarkably easy. He’s already a charismatic, entertaining performer, and if In My Opinion is any indication, he’ll only get better from here.