Atlanta’s Rich Kidz have been on the frontline of post-Yung LA swag rap since their 2009 hit with Young Dro, “Partna Dem.” Since then they’ve cut their roster to two, switched the “S” to a “Z” at the end of their name, and consistently made positive party anthems for everyone too young to get in to the fully nude strip clubs that Travis Porter frequent. After 2012’s “Kool on the Low” and “My Life” with Waka Flocka, RK Kaelub (formerly Yung PU) and Skateboard Skooly have established themselves as melodic princes in the reigning kingdom of Atlanta rap.
Their new-ish mixtape A Westside Story, isn’t about Sharks, Jets, or meeting a nice Puerto Rican girl; it’s about picking up the mid-’90s West Coast party sound into their snowballing turn up. They use both Southern and West Coast producers to recreate the outright hype and rump-shaking of Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It,” even repeating the opening lines of Jordan’s late-period new jack swing standard on “Westside Love.” The K. E. on the Track-produced song also samples another Golden State staple “California Love,” and it’s not the only one. Bay Area producer Grizzly provides a sparse stomping revamp of “Ambitionz as a Ridah” on “Rider,” and Metro Boomin & TM88 use another All Eyez on Me track for “Gangsta Party.”
The mixtape doesn’t entirely take place in Pacific Standard Time though, and the relative melancholy of previous mixtapes Straight Like That 3 and Whole Team Ball is still present with tracks like “Problems” and “Word 2 Skate,” both about the unassailable rap concept of troubles that come with money. One of the most interesting songs on the tape is “Trayvon” with the chorus of “Trayvon with a bankroll.” It’s rapped from the perspective of two young black men who, along with most of their friends, don’t look much different from Martin in his hooded sweatshirt. Over a jacked up organ, Skooly (who graduated high school only last year) raps, “Sorry sir we don’t look alike/Sorry sir we don’t feel alike/And I look like a killer right?/That mean you gonna kill me right?”
Most songs are firmly planted in Atlanta, or at least hovering close to its ground. The Zaytoven-produced “Monifa” uses the Migos flow that’s been making its rounds and “Outkast” slows down the classic “ATLiens” beat for them to use the same chorus and postition themselves lovable terrestrial weirdos. Besides all the post-snap Hotlanta rap, there’s a lot of R&B in these melodies. “Pop That” is an enveloping stripper anthem that’s more tender than anything T-Pain has done and “Settle Down” sounds like a TP-2.com slow jam about finding someone to share their wealth with.
“More” is produced by London on the Track and serves as a mission statement. Its title refers to how much their shoes and jewels cost compared to yours as well as how much they have in comparison to their younger selves. Even so, they still want more. The best song on A Westside Story is “Caution,” one of many where Skateboard Skooly stands out with his passioned convulsions, “I’m hungry I want that money I know it’s comin’/It’s comin’ It’s fucking comin’ I know it’s comin’/Fucking throw it so I can palm it.” They caught it and now they’re ballin’.