Rich Homoie Quan Credit: Rachel Murray

Lyricism doesn’t immediately come to mind as Rich Homie Quan’s standout quality. The Atlanta rapper’s breakout hits, including 2015’s “Flex (Ooh, Ooh, Ooh)” and 2013’s “Type of Way,” were heavy on swagger and catchy beats, but with lines like“15,000 dollars on your bitch wanna fuck me / Got her screamin’ like ooohh,” they lacked creative writing. But the 28-year-old made a total about-face with his full-length debut, March’s Rich as in Spirit—his lyrics are the strongest part of the album. The record’s production is one-note, and half of its 19 tracks are filler, but damn if Rich Homie Quan can’t spin a yarn. On “4rm Me to You,” the album’s best song, the rapper captures his gritty past without glamorizing violence he’s witnessed, though many rappers are wont to do the opposite. His reflections about a time in his life when he supported himself through crime, the drug “residue on the floors” that he kept from his mom, the “shootout in her truck,” and even the pregnancy he pressured his lover to terminate (“If I could change anything baby / Wouldn’t’ve made you never aborted that kid”) are so vivid I could see his world crystallize before me, line by line. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised; if you look closer at Rich Homie Quan’s discography, you’ll find gems like “Daddy,” a heart-wrenching narrative about his ailing father. However, his talent was always either overshadowed by other members of his Rich Gang collective, like Young Thug, or lost in mixtapes that favored quantity over quality. Going forward as a solo artist, if Rich Homie Quan tightens up the track list and ups the production to the quality of early tracks like “Flex” while maintaining his current level of songwriting, that next album will be a hell of a project.   v