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Rittz / Press

“Last year, right before catching the biggest break of his career, Jonny "Rittz" Valiant was ready to quit. The Gwinnett County, Georgia native had been trying to make it as a rapper since his early teens, having fallen hard for hip-hop after a school friend turned him on to the Geto Boys, but when he couldn't maintain payments on the home he shared with his girlfriend, he decided to abandon his dream and take a full-time job as, he says, "a cook at a fuckin' barbecue restaurant." There was one "last hope," though: ascendant Alabama rapper Yelawolf, who'd met Rittz through a business connection and was so intrigued by his exceptional double-time flow that he promised to help him make some recordings after finishing a tour. "I was crossing my fingers he'd actually do it," says Rittz. True to his word, when Wolf returned, he put his new friend in the studio. ”

“Rittz, a frizzy-haired white transplant from rural Pennsylvania, also comes attached to a more famous rapper, Yelawolf, who released one of my favorite mixtapes of 2010 with Trunk Muzik. That tape reveled in its grimy small-town roots; it was an album-length meditation on what it's like to be a white rapper and rap fan from the boondocks, with all the internal conflict and underdog defiance that comes from being in that particularly weird position. Rittz appears to have a very similar story, but his new White Jesus is less a cohesive investigation of that existence and more a display of sheer jawdropping fast-rap technique. ”

“If we saw Rittz at Wal*Mart, we probably wouldn’t figure him the type of dude who’d spit great fast raps, wouldn’t ask him to pour whiskey in our “Dixxxie Cup.” He’s overdue a haircut, perhaps has been preoccupied crafting nasty jams for the dudes who survey the world from the tall perspective of their pickup trucks. But here, finally, is the most comprehensive argument in support of his talent and long-shot saleability: a twelve song collection of country raps put together by DJ Burn One that features Yelawolf, Big K.R.I.T. and 8Ball. It packs sleepy guitar hymnals, singalong choruses, wide-open asphalt kisses, shotgunned beers. Below, preview the feverish, jealous anthem “Sleep at Night” featuring Yelawolf and “No Friends” with Shawty Fatt, then head to DJ Booth to download the whole White Jesus tape. ”

“I wrote about the title track of Rittz’ s first full-length release over at YAYODANCING, but I hadn’t yet acquired a fully-formed opinion on the young Atlanta native. Since first landing on the scene with his show-stealing verse on Yelawolf’s (who is also his label head) Box Chevy Pt. 3, he has been compared rigorously (and unfairly) to his boss due to similar cadences and the color of their skin. Despite this, Rittz (named after the box of crackers; yes, a white rapped named after crackers) shares more qualities aesthetically with Rick Rubin (his follow-up should be called Rittz Rubin, if he intends on keeping up the clever album names) ”

““Motherfuckers say I disrespect the art form,” outlandish Georgia rapper Rittz declares on the title track off his new mixtape White Jesus, available for free download here. Who would make such an assertion is never clear, nor is why; Rittz is very much an artist drawing on distinctly Southern gutter music and one obsessed with the details of his penmanship. No, what motherfuckers are really saying is “what makes Rittz different?”, a question White Jesus does not see the need to answer. It should be impossible to question the uniqueness of an artist that looks and sounds like he does. Most often pictured with out-sized, unkempt auburn frizz flowing from under a beanie, Rittz fast raps with the best of them over typically excellent production from DJ Burn One. However, this is all recently trodden ground: the weird hair, the drawl, the speedy flow, the Burn One partnership, and yes, the pale complexion. ”

“Gwinnett County rapper Rittz is the first artist to drop a release via Yelawolf's Slumerican Records, and from the beginning it's plain to see that these fly white guys are kindred spirits. White Jesus shows off a rapid-fire flow unique to Rittz and a stylish skill set that defies his cartoonish image. DJ Burn One is the secret weapon, lending production that gives the record a crisp, Memphis-style sound on "High Five" and "Pie" (feat. 8Ball). More brilliant moments crop up in the album's title track and the standout cut "Fulla Shit" (feat. Big K.R.I.T. and Yelawolf). But "Sextacy" and "Dixxxie Cup" are forced redneck fantasy jams teeming with too many clichés, too much swagger and too much information. Still, White Jesus is an impressive first offering — a "street album" that, like Yela's Trunk Muzik, is a digital precursor to a fully realized album yet to come. (3 out of 5 stars) ”

“The first time I heard Rittz was his cameo on Yelawolf’s “Box Chevy” last November and then January rolled around and I got my hands on Rittz’s single “High Five” and I was hooked on his wild style - warp speed rhyming and comical wordplay. The production from DJ Burn One stood out too so to see both of them collaborating on a full street album had me ready for a whole damn bag of dope and they do not disappoint. “White Jesus” kicks off with a dramatic blend of the death march and thunder crackling in the background while some girl rambles something in a foreign language. I even spun that shit backwards to see if it was like those old Black Sabbath albums that had some warped message, but nope…sounded even more like gibberish. If you can be patient for literally one minute you’ll hear the rattle of Rittz slide in as his rhyme rides the beat at hi hats tempo.”

“The highlight of White Jesus, however, is "Nowhere To Run," a hip-hop take on Merle Haggard's "A Working Man Can't Get Nowhere Today." Rittz addresses the corner in which the world has painted him ("Rappin' ain't payin' / Makin' nine dollars an hour still") and the one in which he's painted himself ("Can't afford to have a kid / Can't afford to put my girl on the pill / Plus, I hate the way a condom feels"), leaning heavily on class-conscious details. Perhaps the most poignant moment, though, are the few lines that address his relative rap fame, noting his family's lack of support from the start, and their currently conflicted response: "I be smiling now, when they tell me they're proud / But then they turn around and say some racist shit." Rittz cleverly reveals a generation gap there: Between his parents' older, still-there racism and his generation's very real love of hip-hop. ”