After building a pretty notable buzz with his first four mixtape releases, emcee Royce Ripken, formerly Stretch Dinero—aka Supastaxx—has finally released an official full-length debut, Home Run Ripken.
The 13-song affair is seemingly scattered regarding contextual content, but it is—after a few top to bottom listens—actually entirely cohesive, and packed with a balance of motivation, hype, and tunes for your girlfriend (see “Double Up”). Though the production credits aren’t front street, this man needs to buy his team a few beers, it sounds great.
Now, let’s break down the highs and lows; we’ll start with the standouts. “Flame Out” and “Run It Back” are his best attempts at generating an anthemic vibe on this LP. “Grand Slam” also deserves honorable mention. Lyrically on all three, he packs in as many smart punchlines as possible and then unleashes super catchy choruses. Sounds simple, but it isn’t. Earworms are an art.
Zac Alan’s chorus on “Run It Back,” with its grungy distortion in the high-end has an alternative vibe that feels top 40 radio ready.
If tasked with naming a top 2 on this album it would hands down be “They Want The Real. Pt. 2”—the most intimate point on the LP—and “Jiggle,” with it’s sped up Ellie Goulding sample. Throughout the project, he alluded to street life at a few points, but “They Want The Real. Pt. 2” is the first time that he seems to let you in, discussing his time in the streets, being locked up, and his daily struggle to stay on the right path as he explores his career in music. It’s more retrospective than descriptive.
“Jiggle” is way less profound, but garnered about 15 plays in a day on my phone. That beat is Fuego.
There are few actual low points on the project. He is an intelligent guy—lyrically—so “That Bag,” when compared to the (kind of) avant-garde thinking of “Catch These Fists,” seems pretty necessary.
Overall, though, it’s a respectable debut from Royce Ripken, and sure to set him on the right path!